Examples of public health
placements with AHP students

Dietetics

Jennifer, a student dietician, completed a three-week voluntary placement with a youth homelessness charity between the second and third years of her integrated Masters course in Dietetics. She carried out a two-week project as part of an audit, which involved conducting interviews with site managers, and creating a questionnaire for young service-users. She also helped run the social supermarket one day a week and helped cook the meals they received. In the third week, she worked alongside an analytics company to analyse data on diet and hunger, which supported the charity’s campaigning work.

As a result of this placement, Jennifer felt she developed her communication and organisational skills as well as her confidence. It gave her an opportunity to support young people who faced more barriers to good health than she had encountered in her clinical placements, and she felt that she was able to make a lasting difference both to the young people she supported and the organisation as a whole.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) supported physiotherapy students on a remote placement in September 2020. The placements lasted for four weeks on a full-time basis, and the students each supported two of CSP’s projects, with 1.5 days on each project and the rest of the time working independently or in peer learning. The students shadowed members of staff to get to know the organisation, and had daily contact with their educator to both plan and reflect on their work.

Both the organisation and the students benefited greatly from the placement opportunity. At the end of the placement period, the students presented their work in a webinar, with many staff in attendance. The project work produced by the students included website content, resource development and articles for the monthly member magazine. The placements enhanced the students’ understanding of public health, communication, information-gathering and analysis.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) supported physiotherapy students on a remote placement in September 2020. The placements lasted for four weeks on a full-time basis, and the students each supported two of CSP’s projects, with 1.5 days on each project and the rest of the time working independently or in peer learning. The students shadowed members of staff to get to know the organisation, and had daily contact with their educator to both plan and reflect on their work.

Both the organisation and the students benefited greatly from the placement opportunity. At the end of the placement period, the students presented their work in a webinar, with many staff in attendance. The project work produced by the students included website content, resource development and articles for the monthly member magazine. The placements enhanced the students’ understanding of public health, communication, information-gathering and analysis.

Arts Therapy

Borderland Voices is a micro-charity which offers various forms of art activities for health and mental wellbeing in a supportive environment. It provided a placement for an arts therapy student in her last year of training for one-day sessions over the course of three months. Based on the preferences of participants, the student produced a scheme of work for each session – both creative writing and expressive art. Among other things, she worked with them to create box theatres with props and backdrops, which were then displayed in the town’s library.

Both the student and the charity benefited from the placement, as she became more confident, better able to adapt to the group’s needs, and was able to reflect on how her practice would change as a result of the placement. The participants enjoyed the sessions she delivered and the charity’s profile in the town was raised through the engagement with the local library.

Several Occupational Therapy students from the University of Bradford have been able to do their 9-week role-emerging placements with various departments of a local council. They have worked on a range of projects including with the locality social work teams and the discharge to assess pathway. For one project, they prepared a business case for employing an OT within the locality team, demonstrating the cost savings of doing so compared to reduced care packages.

The students go out in pairs, and have weekly peer support sessions. The placement provider arranges for an on-site supervisor who does not have to be an Occupational Therapist as the university arranges for a long-arm supervisor who is a registered OT to meet with the student for one hour each week.

These projects develop the students’ creative problem-solving skills, entrepreneurship and communication skills. They are also able to think about how they can employ their skills in different environments and have a better understanding of the determinants of health. By offering these placements, the council benefits from having two students deliver an evidence-based project which they would have otherwise lacked the capacity to complete.

Occupational Therapy – Local Council

Occupational Therapy – Local Council

Several Occupational Therapy students from the University of Bradford have been able to do their 9-week role-emerging placements with various departments of a local council. They have worked on a range of projects including with the locality social work teams and the discharge to assess pathway. For one project, they prepared a business case for employing an OT within the locality team, demonstrating the cost savings of doing so compared to reduced care packages.

The students go out in pairs, and have weekly peer support sessions. The placement provider arranges for an on-site supervisor who does not have to be an Occupational Therapist as the university arranges for a long-arm supervisor who is a registered OT to meet with the student for one hour each week.

These projects develop the students’ creative problem-solving skills, entrepreneurship and communication skills. They are also able to think about how they can employ their skills in different environments and have a better understanding of the determinants of health. By offering these placements, the council benefits from having two students deliver an evidence-based project which they would have otherwise lacked the capacity to complete.

Occupational Therapy – Prison

Occupational Therapy students at Robert Gordon University can choose to do one of their five placements at a local prison, with which the OT lecturer has developed a relationship over many years. The students are given a caseload and work with the OT in the prison to support the men by listening to their history, understanding their needs and behaviours. to make suggestions for adaptations, redesigned work duties, and a healthy routine for them.

Through this placement, the students have the opportunity to work with people with complex needs, including learning difficulties, poor mental health, and addictions. As such, it gives them a better understanding of health inequalities and the barriers to good health faced by marginalised groups, which they would not necessarily get from a clinical setting. They also better appreciate the value of the therapeutic relationship and have the opportunity to implement and evaluate interventions. Their confidence and listening skills in particular are developed through these placements.