As a physiotherapy student you will have spent the first 18 months or so of university working through a huge volume of physiotherapy study materials relating to theory, anatomy and research. Building this knowledge foundation is vital, but it can also be a lot to take in academically.
Chances are you set out to become a physiotherapist because you don’t want to be sat behind a desk every day and are a practical person, so moving out of this academic fog and putting everything you have learnt into practice can feel like an exciting new chapter.
Student practice placements are a compulsory part of any physiotherapy university degree in the UK because they are such an invaluable and significant element of your clinical development and personal growth as a student. It’s also the part of your degree that gives you the licence to practice as an autonomous HCPC registered physiotherapist once you graduate.
The best bit is that you will enjoy the satisfaction of helping patients to improve their health for the first time, which feels great!
Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your physiotherapy student placement.
Tip 1 – Prepare for your placement
Before you start your student placement prepare as much as you can by reading relevant physiotherapy study materials and any guidelines relating to the area you are going to be working in.
It’s also important to establish the basic expectations of your role as a student physiotherapist with your placement organiser before you start, such as when your working hours will be and the locations you will be expected to travel to. If there are times or elements that won’t work for you it’s important that you iron them out beforehand.
Tip 2 – Be a team player
Being on a student physiotherapy placement isn’t a field trip. You will be working as part of a team and just like any other employee, so it’s important to be professional and to let your colleagues know if you can’t make it in or work certain hours as it will impact on them.
If you see that other people are busy and you are free, don’t be afraid to offer help and to muck in if needed. It will go a long way and you will get more out of your experience.
Tip 3 – Remember you are still a student
Many students find this time exciting but also daunting because on each placement you really hit the ground running.
No one will expect you to know everything on day one and being on a placement is all about developing with the guidance of your clinical supervisors, so don’t be afraid to ask for support.
Tip 4 – Embrace meeting new people
Working with diverse groups and different generations can be a learning curve when you have been used to spending most of your time with students, but it’s an important part of preparing you for work.
Communication and people skills are so important in physiotherapy, so try to overcome feeling shy and embrace this as a chance to perfect how you develop professional relationships and interact with different types of people.
Tip 5 – Be open-minded
Many students have rigid ideas about the areas they want to specialise in, only to find that the realities are different on student placements.
Some people might be certain they want to work in a public sector hospital setting and find that they thrive in a single room clinic treating a wider variety of patients.
Use your time on your student physiotherapy placements to be open to new experiences and disciplines, as it will help you to map out a career that you will really enjoy and find rewarding.
About Ascenti student placements
If you are passionate about musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy, you will appreciate that this is a highly variable area with a broad spectrum of more than 150 MSK conditions, so developing your MSK knowledge through placements is vital.
At Ascenti we are offering musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy placements as part of NHS services we deliver across four different regions in the UK.
Our placements are a great opportunity for physiotherapy students looking to build on the MSK experience they have already gained from their university directed MSK placement and will suit those who are looking to work in a more autonomous setting - learn more about our physiotherapy student placements.
Hear what Gameli, a first-year physiotherapy student from the University of Lincoln, had to say about his placement experience with Ascenti.