21st January 2024

University Placement at WMSLT: A student reflection of placement!

Making the most of placement for professional growth: from a Level 5 Student SLT

Placement is an extremely important and helpful experience, and it is key for our growth as student SLTs with professional development through practice. Here are my tips on making the most of your placement to ensure professional development

  • Ensure a positive supervisor-student relationship: having this will ensure you feel supported, encouraged, and comfortable with sharing any worries – you should know you have someone to talk to if any extra support is required or if any issues should arise with your educator.
  • Communicate: discuss your aims, goals, and learning styles with your practice educator(s) at the start of the practice placement to ensure you are supported in working towards these as these will be reviewed at the mid-point meeting.
  • Observe your educators: throughout your placement, but especially during your first week, observe your educators in action as much as possible. This could be extremely beneficial for you to develop your skills through seeing their demonstration, modelling, and coaching, as it was for me!
  • Plan assessment sessions! This will demand developing your skills overall as it requires implementing theory in practice and will link your learning together.
  • Be confident: your educators will observe sessions you carry out and will be there for support if needed, but you should be comfortable with them watching you by developing your confidence and being aware that everyone makes mistakes; this is key for your growth in practice and professionalism.
  • Write case notes: ask your clinical educator to see examples of case notes where possible to ensure you are meeting the standards required at your placement setting, and then write case notes as much as possible while on placement. The more accustomed to writing case notes I got, the more proficient I became at cutting down on the length of the case notes and the time I used to write them – tried and true method!
  • Reflect on your sessions: all sessions should have a written or verbal reflection once completed, whether your clinician asks you to send them a copy or not – reflection has not only been beneficial to my professional growth, but it is key for the development of our practical skills since it prompts us to analyse ways to improve our practice and ensures consistent learning.
  • ASK for feedback! I have done this from the start of my placement whenever we debrief after a session, as I was very curious to know what my educators thought of my practical work and how I could improve. I’ve always benefited from doing so as your educator’s feedback is insightful, expands self-awareness and it’s beyond beneficial for your reflections and overall professional development.

Before you start, clinical practice placements can seem stressful, daunting, and scary, but as a student SLT completing my first placement of 8 weeks, I can say that most of all, placement has been informative, motivating, and exciting – as well as key for developing my professionalism! Following my tips in this post will ensure you have a quality practice placement and will undoubtedly grow and develop your professionalism as a student SLT.

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