A weekend to recover after handing in my dissertation and then my brain was turned back on, as we were back into university for our final placement launch session.
This final placement a big step in that it is the start of our transition from students to qualified OTs, which Tryssennar and Perkins (2001) cited in Morley 2006 highlights as the first stage in the transition process and hopefully start our first posts (very scary thought at the moment).
The aims of this placement are, for us to meet the practice requirements required to be eligible for HCPC registration as an occupational therapist. We also need to demonstrate safe, effective and client centred case management skills, by holding an ongoing caseload. We also need to be able to articulate and justify our professional role confidently within a range of settings As we start the transition from student to qualified OT we need to be able to be proactive in taking responsibility for our time, support networks and CPD by making use of opportunities available to us on placement and be to evaluate our own knowledge base and performance to further enhance learning and effectiveness within the work base setting through being critical and reflective of our practice.
For anyone who hasn't heard about my final placement setting... I am spending 10 weeks in acute oncology. Oncology and Palliative care is an area of practice I have a keen interest in working in and I am looking forward to the challenges and learning I'll encounter as I use and develop my skills in a busy acute environment.
As part of my preparations for this placement, I went in to visit my placement for the morning last month and chatted to my educator, this was a really positive experience as it allowed me to gather information on what sort of preparation to do prior to starting on the placement and get an idea of what a typical day would include. I also benefited from speaking to the current band 5 who was on rotation in the department about the prep she had done prior to rotating and whether there was any areas she wished she had looked at in more detail prior to starting the rotation.
Pre Placement Reading:
The visit guided my reading over the last few weeks, and I’m thankful that I chose to use acute oncology for my viva topic earlier in the year as this also gave me a basis of knowledge and resources to use as a starting point as well. On the advice of the band 5, I spent some time looking at the impact treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy and how these treatments and the side effects can impact on occupational performance. I have also found the following two books really useful as I prepped for this placement:
- Cooper, J. (Ed.). (2013). Occupational therapy in oncology and palliative care. John Wiley & Sons.
- Boog, K. M., & Tester, C. Y. (2008). Palliative care: a practical guide for the health professional: Finding meaning and purpose in life and death. Elsevier Health Sciences.
It has felt like a really long block in uni this term so I’m looking forward to being back in a clinical environment as a way to consolidate my learning by linking the theory and practice but mostly so that I can enable people do the things that are important and meaningful to them.
As with all my placements I may do small updates throughout and then round up with a longer reflective piece at the end. I have found the small updates increasingly hard as I have gone through placements so I'm not promising to do them every week this time. I will update when I can and then aim to do the round up towards the end.
What else have I been doing over the last few weeks:
COT Website Consultation
I managed to squeeze in attending the COT website consultation whilst it was in Edinburgh the other week, which was really interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing the end result as there were some really good ideas, and it was really interesting to hear how OTs in practice and students in the area use (or try to use) the website resources within their practice.
Helping at MSc Interviews:
Last week also gave me a chance to help out at the MSc interviews again. I helped out last year as well, and its a really good chance to chat to perspective students and give them some information about studying on the course.
It was really interesting this year to actually reflect on how far Ive come in even in just the last year since I helped last time. I remember last time feeling still very overwhelmed by what was to come on the course, I was in the middle of my research proposal and wondering how I was going to manage another year on the course, with the lack of reserves in energy. But this time I could actually reflect on how much I have learnt and how the experiences on the course have enabled me to develop as a practitioner and prepare me to practice. It's a hard course! You will be pushed further than you ever thought you could! You'll want to quit! But you know what I have developed so much as a person whilst journeying through the process and I'm sure that will continue during the last leg of the course...
So... One Placement... & One Viva... to go!
For more insight into my journey to become an occupational therapist; follow me on twitter: @OTontheTracks
Morley, M. (2006). Moving from student to new practitioner: The transitional experience. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(5), 231-233.