Universities have faced increasing difficulties in securing clinical placements for students in recent years. Rachael Moses told the Association for Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (ACPRC) conference in York on 28 April that new models are needed.
Respiratory specialists line up at the ACPRC event
‘We need to think outside the box and inspire the next generation,’ said Mrs Moses, who was previously the principal physiotherapist on a working group at St George’s Hospital in London that developed a framework to minimise potential risks of pre-registration physios working at weekends on placement.
Ms Moses, now consultant physiotherapist at Lancaster Teaching Hospitals, said: ‘There has been resistance to respiratory placements, as following perceived reductions in staffing, productivity and activity levels managers and clinicians feel they can’t offer placements.
‘However, everyone wins with practice placement,’ she said. ‘There is zero cost and zero resources required and we should educate the future workforce. The first step is to empower clinicians to want to take students, who support the workforce while on placement and integrate into seven-day working. The clinician, manager, commissioner, and students are all happier.
‘With the working group at St George’s Hospital, guidelines and protocols were developed. Competency documents not only minimised risks, but students also reported it helped them to structure their learning.’
Including students in seven-day models aids independent working and autonomy and improves clinical reasoning skills and confidence. ‘Good respiratory placements can change a career path,’ she said. ‘This is what happened to me. I never expected to go into respiratory.'
And she went further by saying: 'These further outcomes highlight the student physiotherapist’s role in enabling an established weekend physiotherapy team to deliver the desired treatment techniques to meet the therapy needs of patients.
‘Despite the main premise for clinical placements being for student experience and education, we should not overlook the important role they play as part of the clinical workforce.’
During the conference, Ms Moses posed for a photo with all the delegates. Last week she was announced as a Good Morning Britain Hospital Health Star Award finalist, beating around 10,000 nominations.
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