This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Practice Placement Education: Engaging with people, investing in relationships – a collaborative problem solving venture” and will be hosted by Maureen Shiells of the RCOT (@MMShiells).
Here’s what Maureen had to say…
I’ve been working at the Royal College now for three years as education manager responsible for pre-registration occupational therapy education. Always a fan of education and growth at all levels, my previous post at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was in practice development for qualified occupational therapists. I’m fascinated by the learning journey and how (I hope) it never ends.
None of us are strangers to the changes in the way health, social care and education provision are being delivered right across the UK, and beyond. Education reforms, constraints on national budgets for health and social care, the increasing need to work differently and creatively to deliver robust educational experience for our student occupational therapy population is clear. We need to ensure that our newly qualified occupational workforce is competent, capable and ready to take on their new career with confidence.
With that – and you – in mind, this OTalk will focus on practice education for student occupational therapists, in particular on the placement experience and arrangements for both students and educators. Practice based education makes up a third of the occupational therapy degree programme which constitutes a significant chunk of learning. Involvement in delivering and receiving practice education is rewarding, fun, sometimes challenging, and hard work, but being involved also makes a huge contribution towards continuing professional development (Ellis & Tempest 2016). As members and guardians of the profession, it is our duty as registered healthcare professionals to devote time and expertise in supporting our students to become occupational therapists of the future. So with over 37,000 registered occupational therapists in the UK (and approx. 5,500 students in education at any one time), why is it often difficult to secure placement opportunities?
This OTalk will build on work already underway to investigate how we at The Royal College can lead the change in the way practice education is supported and developed to meet the needs of today’s students, educators and the ever changing health and social care landscape. Of course we also embrace non-traditional placement education and are keen to address how role emerging and diverse placement opportunities can provide an excellent opportunity to grow into the role of an occupational therapist (RCOT 2017).
Using Tanmay Vora’s Social Mindset theory, our aim is to seek and engage talent in all corners of our profession in order to; reduce barriers to communication, encourage collaborative problem solving and create empowerment among our communities by engaging in virtual conversations via email and social media (Vora 2017).
Don’t be alarmed however, we also do face-to-face conversations when we can!
As a result of the feedback received so far from people who have been involved in the work, we have created an action plan which broadly covers the following points, which I hope to discuss during this Tweetchat;
- What are the main ingredients for a successful practice educator/student/HEI relationship?
- How can we improve the consistency in the quality of the student experience?
- What type of resources can help to support practice education?
- What are the enablers for practice educators to offer student placements?
- What are the barriers and how can we overcome these?
We look forward to welcoming a range of stakeholders to the Tweetchat, including students, practice educators, academics, service users , other healthcare professionals and any interested parties.
Ellis and Tempest (2016) Practice Placement Education: The ultimate learning opportunity? OTnews Available at https://www.joomag.com/magazine/occupational-therapy-news-october-2016/0726852001476272133?short accessed on 23/8/17
RCOT (2017) An investigation into occupational therapy practice education across the UK. Available at https://www.rcot.co.uk/practice-resources/students/practice-education accessed on 23/08/17
Vora T. (2017) Social MIndset: A key to engaging people. Available at http://qaspire.com/2017/05/08/social-mindset-a-key-to-engaging-talent/ accessed on 23/08/17
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