Be imaginative about widening the range of practice-based learning opportunities for students, says Katrina Kennedy.
As head of clinical effectiveness in a community trust, I have recently been encouraging all physiotherapy students who are placed in our community teams to spend at least one day in the quality directorate under my supervision.
This has a dual benefit: it means that part-time staff can use this day with me rather than relying on other team members, and it is hugely beneficial to the Bournemouth University students as they can ask me to sign off their quality competencies (if they have reached the required standard, of course).
During their days in the quality directorate they are given the option to benchmark their clinical practice against the most recent National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance, such as low back pain and multi-morbidity. They attend clinical effectiveness meetings with me and are also involved in clinical audit activities, including national audits such as Hipsprint, falls or Sentinel Stroke.
This gives students an opportunity to see that physiotherapists have the skill sets to be very effective in corporate services such as quality.
In my role, I lead on the clinical audit programme and we are involved in all national audits that are relevant to the services we provide, I have to ensure trust compliance with NICE clinical guidance. I encourage teams to deliver effective pathways with robust patient outcome measures and I manage the national contractual quality improvement initiatives.
I supported first, second and third year students in the last few months - all gained from their experience and were able to see the link between quality and the delivery of effective patient care.
In their feedback, on student said: 'Really useful day reflecting on my clinical practice and NICE guidance.' Another said: 'Good to see what quality means in a trust.'
Katrina Kennedy is head of clinical effectiveness, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Trust
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