Skip to main content
Media centre

Virtual placements for physiotherapy students

17 May 2021 @TeessideUni

 

Physiotherapy students have been able to complete placements in NHS mental health and learning disability services during the pandemic thanks to a pilot scheme designed to expand their experience and knowledge during their degree.

Physiotherapy students have been able to complete placements in NHS mental health and learning disability services during the pandemic thanks to a pilot scheme designed to expand their experience and knowledge during their degree.

Six final year BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy students from the School of Health & Life Sciences followed virtual Service Development and Leadership placements at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV).

TEWV provides mental health and learning disability services across County Durham and Darlington, Teesside, parts of North Yorkshire, and York and Selby.

The placements, held across adults, older people’s and learning disability services, are part of a pilot scheme between TEWV and Teesside University which aims to help students explore the commissioning process and associated leadership skills and in turn better understand the physiotherapy needs of mental health and learning disability patients.

The pilot was the first fully virtual student placement offered by TEWV, making it not only COVID secure, but also enabling TEWV senior physiotherapists to increase student capacity during one placement by 500 percent.

TEWV physiotherapists have also recently delivered teaching sessions at the University and talked to students about careers in mental health and learning disability physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy helps to encourage development and facilitate recovery, enabling people to remain independent for as long as possible. Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle.

This experience will forever stay with me

Adam Munshi, physiotherapy student

Physiotherapy lecturer Jill Kent, School of Health and Life Sciences, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have had to adapt the way we work particularly with regards to students’ practice-based learning. Working with the team at TEWV to develop this new and innovative placement has ensured students learn in a safe and effective environment.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for our students that not only offered experience in the areas of mental health and learning disabilities but also enabled significant understanding of physiotherapy within the wider context of heath care which is increasingly important to new graduates.”

Christiana Liddle, professional head of physiotherapy, TEWV, said “By developing a service improvement plan the students got a rare behind the scenes look at capacity and demand, and finance and recruitment to meet that demand, whilst having to consider the specific needs of people with a learning disability or mental ill health and to examine real barriers to provision. The students are now better equipped to advocate on behalf of these service users wherever their career takes them.

“The leadership element of the placement allowed them to examine and develop their personal effectiveness. Both of these aspects of the placement have been invaluable to the students as they set out on their careers.”

Adam Munshi, a final year Physiotherapy student at Teesside University, said, “This experience will forever stay with me and will always prove valuable for my next placement, my future career, and beyond as a person.”