I don’t know where the time has gone, but it is finally here – my first practice placement! It will be my first of 3 periods in clinical practice, where for the first time I get a chance to get a taste of what it is like to be an Occupational Therapist. For 10 whole weeks, I get to work alongside experienced ‘OT’s’ and other professionals to gain true insight into daily processes, and put everything I have learnt from September to the test! Obviously, the learning that goes on in the classroom is vital, but the placement allows for you to get a true understanding of what life will be like upon graduation.
Undeniably, I don’t think I could be any more nervous – however, I am beyond excited! I think I can speak on behalf of the majority of my cohort when I say that this has come out of nowhere – and talking about placement at interview seems like last week. Over the 3 years, we get experience within 3 different settings which tend to be mental health, acute and community. This is because Occupational Therapy as a profession is so diverse, and does not limit itself to hospital settings. Due to Plymouth being nestled nice and close to Dartmoor and many other rural areas, there are so many available settings to go to!
This has been a great time to collaborate lots of lecture notes, assignments, and look for resources to support my placement. I feel much more confident knowing that I have created a folder to take with me, as supported by our lecturers, to use as a tool box whilst there – as nobody can go into a placement knowing everything! A great piece of advice I received was to keep a reflective diary for my placement, as often we get so caught up in how quickly time goes, that we do not stop and evaluate (and enjoy!) such an experience. It may sound cliché – but it would be brilliant to read back on it, especially when you’re graduated.
I know that many courses offer placements, including physiotherapy and nursing, but others offer the opportunity to take a ‘sandwich year’ which I would always recommend. Whether it is 6 weeks or a year, this is a great time to get experience in your desired field with the support of the University – and it looks great on the CV!