Support workers like Robert Minter and Steven Robertson have been playing important roles in the educating of students on placement.
Robert explains how he has been doing that:
‘At my trust I have been working with the physiotherapists to create some new guidelines for student placements - what is expected of staff, what is expected of students, what knowledge would we expect of the students, and how this would be very different dependent on which year/placement they are on as you wouldn't expect a first year first placement student to know as much as a third year last placement for instance.
'I have also done some dedicated supervisor training to become one of the lead supervisors for students in my department.’
New role as a steward
Robert has also become a CSP steward and very recently completed the training for this via the CSP's online training hub.
‘This will allow me to represent members within my trust, a role I am really looking forward to.
I think it’s great we have a registered and non-registered steward so we can represent a larger percentage of our members.
Steven Robertson at East Surrey Hospital in Surrey explains what he has been doing to drive support worker involvement in educating student on placement.
Tool in the arsenal
‘Firstly, I've had to discuss with team leads to show how we could impact students in a positive way on how support workers are a valuable tool to their arsenal. Once this was achieved, I put together a power point presentation from various data and information from the CSP website about support workers and the SWRG.
‘I have now presented to three lots of placement students on the roles of the support worker starting with a little bit of history of support workers (SWs), then I use the support worker campaign video, then looking at myth busting, another campaign the SWRG helped the CSP with.
This section always raises eyebrows from students about the things SWs can and cannot do.
Managing wards and caseloads
'Many students were shocked that senior SWs run wards and have their own caseloads to manage.
‘I then introduce the SWRG and how it was formed and how we work with the CSP on matters for SWs across the UK, with awareness campaigns and being a voice for all SWs. I then finish up with how they would see the SW's role in the future and how this workforce could benefit their working practice.
‘My goal/hope in SW awareness education to students is to have representatives teaching this type of subject as part of a physio student’s education module, at university, this way they have a much better educational understanding and they will be better equipped about support workers when coming into the workplace.
‘By doing this at ground root level it will start to change how new generation physios will see SWs and value their knowledge, background knowledge, experience and show we are a recognised important part of the workforce.’
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