Top tips for clinical placement success

Are you preparing to go on placement? The Student Executive Committee have a few tips to help you get the most from the experience.

Starting your placement - be prepared


Preparation will help you maximise what you learn on placement

  • Make sure you know the exact location. Look at travelling times including traffic, and it's a good idea to do a dummy run before starting.
  • Call your practice educator before starting. Introduce yourself and ask if there’s anything specific you can brush up on to prepare for the placement.
  • Remind yourself that your clinical reasoning and evidence-based opinions are just as valid as those of your colleagues. Be confident enough to put your head above the parapet!
  • Always carry a notepad and pen. Write down your reflections, and come along the next day with a good plan of what you can add to enhance patient treatment.
  • When you're writing something, think about whether it can contribute to one of your portfolio CPD reflections. Mark it with an 'R' so you can easily find it again.

In the field - positivity pays


Positivity and sincerity shine through. If you're not sure, don't be afraid to ask

Your voice

  • Be considerate to all patients. On a ward, patients will be watching how you behave and can tell whether you care. Treating people with consideration is the first step to gaining respect and trust.
  • If you have a learning disability, ask your placement coordinator/tutor to formulate an Individualised Learning Plan. This lets your practice educator help you learn in the best way.
  • Always be polite, positive, enthusiastic, smile and say hello. Ask lots of questions, but take time to reflect on patients and treatment choices from that day.
  • Don't be afraid to challenge if you're unsure of something - but remember to be professional, respectful and constructive.
  • Build professional relationships, and network. The physio world is smaller than you think, and you never know when you'll meet people again.

Reflecting on your placement - thinking of the future


Feedback will help guide you into the future

  • Keep an open mind. If you feel a certain placement isn’t in your preferred area of physiotherapy, you may be surprised once you get there!
  • Get involved with any fundraising, CPD, staff days or surgeries wherever possible. Take a proactive interest in the workplace. In the future you might have an interview in the same place!
  • Ask for as much feedback as possible, and go to your next placement with goals based on that feedback. For example, you might want to improve your verbal reflections.
  • Try to shadow other professions of the MDT. It'll help you with your understanding of patients holistically, as well as potentially your clinical reasoning, and your teamwork.
  • Try and write down what you learn as you will forget at least some of it by the end of the course. The CSP CPD eportfolio has lots of spaces and tools for written reflection.

Most of all, don't forget to enjoy your placement!