How students can learn from support workers

Understanding the capability and scope of practice of support workers is vitally important when working on placement and as a qualified physio. 

The CSP hosted a webinar for students to learn more about the support workforce and how support workers' knowledge and skills can enhance  learning as students. 

The webinar on YouTube: Challenging perceptions of the support workforce

CSP professional adviser Claire Fordham put it to students: ‘If you can change your language -- or challenge your colleagues in practice in the way they speak -- we’re starting to chip away at that iceberg.’

She further asked students to make a ‘pledge’ about working with support workers.

Pledge challenge taken up

Tylah Marston (newly qualified) said:  ‘I pledge to have even more conversations with my support worker colleagues, so I can better understand the scope of their roles in different scenarios and encourage as much autonomy as their competencies allow.

‘Support workers are excellent colleagues, bettering patient outcomes and improving the knowledge base of the entire multi-disciplinary teams with their experiences and skills.’

Key MDT roles

Leesha Naisbitt (a second year BSc physio student at the University of Huddersfield, CSP student reference group events officer and AGILE student officer): ‘On my first, and so far only placement, I was fortunate enough to be able to shadow OTs and therapy assistants as well as the physios, which gave me a fantastic insight into their roles and the key part they play in the multi discipline team - I learnt so much from them. I think it's really valuable for students to shadow support workers and other allied health professionals whilst on placement, as it provides a perfect opportunity to experience different approaches, pick up on different skills, and learn first-hand about the importance of communication between each individual's contribution to a patient's care. 

Leesha Naisbitt, a second year BSc physio student at the University of Huddersfield

‘It has been particularly beneficial having had this experience on my first placement, as it has established my understanding and awareness from the start, of the different roles within and the workings of these members of the multidisciplinary team in a hospital ward setting. I really hope to be able to continue to learn more from support workers and other AHPs on my future placements!’

HCSW 'vital'

And Julia Roth (CSP student reference group officer for Scotland) said: ‘On my current clinical placement in the speciality of cystic fibrosis, the senior healthcare support worker (HCSW) acts as a vital part of the multidisciplinary team. 

‘The HCSW I work alongside is one of the most caring, positive and genuine people I have had the pleasure of working with. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to observe and absorb her charisma and positivity on my placement, and for that I can’t thank her enough.’

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