Planning for an elective placement provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on what you have done before, where you are now and where you want to go from here.
It is also a chance to take the reins and arrange a learning experience that builds on your interests, passions and career plans.
Considerations when planning an elective:
- discuss your idea with your personal tutor
- speak to physio students in the years above you to find out what they did
- check with your university's international office or volunteering/work experience hub as they may have useful contacts
- build and use your networks by browsing and posting to the relevant iCSP forums, following individuals and teams on Twitter, and attending relevant events.
- organise your placement as early as you can as they can take time to arrange
- have a clear understanding of what supervision arrangements and contact points you will have with your university for the duration of your placement
- ensure you are being supervised by practice educators who are registered with regulators such as HCPC, NMC, GMC, BASRAT and MSST (University requirements for supervisors may vary for electives so do speak with your tutor first.)
- check that you have sufficient professional liability insurance (PLI) whether you plan to go abroad or stay within the UK.
Placement organisation success
Holly, who graduated in 2020 and now works as a band 5, chose to do her elective within orthopaedics.
Having heard good things about the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital from both patients and students, she contacted the hospital by phone and email until the team agreed to take her on.
'It was valuable because I had clear goals, a team who helped me find opportunities and an amazing learning environment,' she said.
The fact that this was an elective, also gave Holly more say in how the placement was organised: 'Being able to choose the placement meant that I could tailor the experience to what I wanted to learn and was interested in.'
Chloe traveled to Vietnam in 2019 during the final year of her BSc at Cardiff University. Reflecting on how she decided where to go, she said:
'I chose my placement by thinking about what I was really interested in, experiences I might not be able to get as easily as a qualified physio, by doing research into what was available and speaking to other people to find out what they did.'
In terms of tips for others looking to find an elective, Chloe shared:
'Be open minded as electives can be different, but those differences can provide a whole new learning experience. Write reflections as you go so you can look back on what you did. I’d encourage anyone to take an elective opportunity if you can, whether abroad or in the UK, as it’s a chance to have fun with your learning and have a unique experience. It’s certainly the highlight of my time as a student.'
Read more about Chloe's placement in Hue, Vietnam.
Elective placement funding
Forecasting how much a placement will cost you per week, in terms of expenses such as travel and accommodation, may also play a deciding role in where you choose. It is therefore vital to research what funding (and reimbursement) is available to help offset such costs, whether your elective placement (or exchange programme) is within the UK or overseas.
Since 2017, the Trust has supported over 40 electives, including placements in Cambodia, Ghana, USA, Thailand, Sweden, Tanzania, Mexico, Belgium, Zambia, Barbados, Australia and the UK.
A student, who received funding for a placement in India, said: “My elective experience was hugely worthwhile and spending time submerged in such a different culture was fascinating. Observing and assisting physiotherapy treatment in such a contrasting clinical setting broadened my outlook and motivated me to think more deeply about the delivery of effective physiotherapy.”
If you are a CSP student member, log in to view the guidance and start your application and you could receive up to £750.
For 2021, applications must be submitted by 10 March.
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