School of Clinical and Applied Sciences

Delivering Occupational Therapy Placements Online

I am delighted that during Covid-19, our MSc Occupational Therapy students have been able to go on their Role Emerging Placements. Our course Practice Placements Lead Miranda Thew, Senior Lecturer Occupational Therapy, has been instrumental in making this happen - working closely with local and regional charities Miranda has transformed traditional face-to-face placements into virtual placements delivered by students from their homes.
Female OT student wearing head phones working at computer

On their current placements, 27 of our students are working in groups of three in charity or in non-typical settings that lack occupational therapy in situ. The groups generate a project that would meet the needs of Service Users or setting providers. These settings, all of which are still remaining open to support the most vulnerable, include Homeless shelters and housing provision, Domestic Violence service, and the Sunshine and Smiles Charity for families with a member who has a Learning Difficulty. The projects are devised and developed by the students in conjunction with regular online support from university staff, setting staff and a qualified local occupational therapist.

One group of students is working with a private occupational therapy service and a charity to develop an online occupational therapy intervention for parents who have children who have experienced trauma. The intervention will use lifestyle, routine and sensory strategies to enable parents to provide a greater structure and calming environment for their children. The students have been developing the interactive resources which will include videos and online guides. 

One of our current MSc OT students said of their placement experience: "Role Emerging Placement (REP) has enabled me to develop my skills and knowledge in innovative service development outside of a traditional placement setting, enabling me to become a competent occupational therapist in future practice in a variety of settings including role emerging fields".

Occupational therapy has traditionally delivered interventions face-to-face but, with Covid-19, Miranda has rapidly developed and integrated the use of collaborative platforms for meetings, supervision and paperwork. This has facilitated the success of this placement and we're extremely proud of how our students have adapted so quickly to design and deliver these new virtual interventions. We hope to build upon this work for future placements.

Dr Rob Brooks

Course Director / School of Clinical & Applied Sciences

Rob is the Course Director for MSc and BSc Occupational Therapy programmes. His teaching interests are occupational science, occupational therapy models and complex interventions. His research is in the areas of children and young people, neurodisability, mental health and occupational formulation.

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