“Being and becoming an AHP practice educator” NHS Education for Scotland & bOunceT

Models of supervision and PBL (Practice Based Learning) environmentsonline training module for AHP’s (Allied Health Professions) across Scotland.

Callum (Occupational Therapy Lead) & Francesca (Occupational Therapist) at bOunceT recently filmed themselves speaking about hosting multiple occupational therapy students for their academic placements at bOunceT.

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) placement

These videos have been made available on TURAS Learn – an NHS Education for Scotland website where various AHP’s undertake online learning and training.

This online module is all about ‘Models of supervision and PBL (Practice Based Learning) environments‘.

Callum & Francesca advocate for ‘Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Placements’. PAL placements are becoming more common across clinical practice.

Peer assisted learning can be defined as:

“To get knowledge through study, experience, observation or teaching of an equal”. In the context of Practice-based Learning a PAL model means having two or more students actively learning with and from each other on placement.”

NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Network

NHS Education for Scotland have produced a useful guide on developing and facilitating PAL placements.

Students often find PAL placements extremely useful in supporting their learning. In a study by Sevenhuysen et al (2017), peer assisted learning appeared to reduce student anxiety, provide a sense of safety for the student, reduce educator burden, maximise available placement time and build professional skills.

Callum mentions how bOunceT have always adopted a PAL placement model – even before the COVID pandemic. In his experience, students benefit more from this model as they get to work together – this is something he experienced first hand during his studies at University.

“From a practice educator perspective, we have seen an increased ability to take on project-style work, due to our services’ increased capacity (more important now than ever with COVID-19 as services are adapting and changing how they run). Also, the OT’s within my team have felt less worried about numbers of students on placement with us – how we spend our time and how they spend their time”
-Callum MacKinnon (Occupational Therapy Lead)

Francesca explains how she is a relatively ‘new’ graduate so she remembers what it is like to be on placement. She felt the 1 student to 1 practice educator model felt intimidating at times. However, being on the ‘flip side’ of this Francesca enjoys working with students in pairs. She finds this has been beneficial to the students who have been on placement at bOunceT as they are able to collaborate and problem solve together.

“It might sound like double the work, but it really is not because they are supporting each other to learn. This can be less pressure on the practice educator. I would definitely recommend others to think about this and try it”
-Francesca Smart (Occupational Therapist)