To my colleagues working in universities around Australia - what are your needs regarding placements for OT students? How do you envisage placements looking over the next 3-6 months?
I am employed at a University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. We provide OT students with placement opportunities in school and aged care settings through a work readiness model.
With tight restrictions being placed on visitors coming in to the region, we have had to cancel all student placements until June 2020. As a team, we have been discussing possibilities for alternative placements we can offer OT students (it would need to be via teleconferencing as no visitors are allowed in to the region).
At this stage, we have been discussing several options to support a virtual student led service with a variety of supervision models in place:
- A mental health support service for community members who are undertaking social isolation (this would need to be via Telehealth)
- A paediatric service providing families of school aged children with ways to support their children’s occupational engagement in the home environment (this would need to occur via Telehealth)
- A consultative student-led service supporting upskilling of education staff in the Alert Program in isolated remote community
- Project-based work undertaking needs analysis and project planning for community services in the region
What are some of the other areas of need that are being experienced elsewhere? How do you see this need shifting as we hit the peak of the pandemic (and as we recover from the pandemic)?