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Each of my placements has brought highs, lows and new experiences – all of which have shaped my journey of development as a student physiotherapist. Some have further ignited my passion for the profession, whereas others have dampened it and left me questioning whether this was the career for me.
As I am now coming to the end of my journey as an undergraduate, I am able to reflect on what mattered to me on placement. What was it that made the good experiences good?
I believe that a good placement is one where I feel welcomed and truly part of the team. Where I was not just ‘the student’ but a valued colleague with a meaningful contribution.
My educators enabled this through supporting, guiding, and empowering me to bring my best self to the placement. They encouraged me to share and develop my thoughts and created a culture of learning, with feedback and encouragement, from the ‘you did amazing there’ to the ‘let’s figure it out together’.
Every extra piece of effort, perseverance, and patience to support me really did make a huge difference. As a result, I truly felt confident in being part of the physiotherapy profession, knowing I was exactly where I needed to be.
Not every placement has been a good experience. I remember one where I felt extremely alienated and doubtful of myself. I did not feel supported and was told that I could not pass, even before the halfway point. This left me bewildered.
Had I chosen the wrong career? Would I ever find my place in the profession? Why did the educator feel unable to work with me to enable me to pass?
Practice educators play a hugely important role in shaping how we develop from a student to a qualified physiotherapist.
To those who have helped and guided me – thank you.
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