Occupational Therapy Student

5 Top Tips for Disabled Students and Their Educators During Winter Placements

Yes, you gathered all the placement blogs are back on NSTP so I’m on placement again. But, this isn’t just any placement it’s my final placement before I qualify. Scary, but still exciting!!

Therefore, I thought I’d write a few tips for disabled students who like me are on placement this winter. I hope that they may be useful for practice educators as well!

As previously mentioned I am completing a virtual placement which makes a massive difference with fatigue levels, but although virtual placements aren’t as physically challenging they’re still mentally challenging. So whatever placement you’re doing this winter, this post is a massive shout out to you, and those supporting you.

I hope these tips are useful!

1. Utilise your down time:

When I am on placement all day it’s so easy to start doing assignments after my dinner as I know that I’ve not done any assignments all day. But, sometimes doing work when I’ve had a tiring day on placement is less productive. For example, I might spend 2 hours writing notes that are probably not that useful. So, instead of gaining energy, I lose energy which isn’t very productive.

I know that I still have assignments to do on placement and there will be them weekends where I do a few hours in my dressing gown (and I already have). But, I do need to make sure that once my day of placement is done I rest ready for the next day as otherwise, I won’t get the most out of that day.

2. Be honest with your educator about your needs:

Being honest about your needs is a personal thing and before I explain this point no one should be made to feel like they need to disclose their needs. But, in my experience, it has been the best way forward.

When I was on my placement in assistive technology one day I wasn’t feeling great and was due to go out on a visit. Due to fatigue levels, I decided to be honest about my needs and stay in the office which was hard as I really wanted to go out on the visit. However, later that day I ended up going home early, whereas if I would have gone on that visit I wouldn’t have been able to do so. Therefore, instead of taking a few hours off it could have been a few days. This meant that because it was only a few hours it didn’t affect the minimum amount of hours needed to pass my placement.

3. Speak to your peers:

When on placement the first port of call for any problems is the educator and rightly so, however, don’t forget that your peers are there!! My course mates and I are very close and my peers provide such a good support network for me on placement and I do them.

It’s easy on placement to disconnect from university I know, I’ve done it myself but during the cold months and especially during these uncertain times it’s important to stay connected!

4. Keep warm and safe:

Although it’s not first thought on placement, you must remember that your needs are very important and sometimes you need to put yourself first. Making sure that you are fit for practice (which is actually on RCOT standard, that I use a lot when reflecting) and not being afraid to say no if something is out of your limits. It’s a hard cold time of year to do a placement especially in a pandemic, and you need to remind yourself, that you’re working under such difficult circumstances and doing a downright marvellous job of it!

5. Enjoy your placement and seek out opportunities:

Yes, spoons may be low, but it’s your placement and of course, you want to get the most out of it, so if there is something that you want to do, do it!

Related posts:

10 Top Tips for Completing a #VirtualOTPlacement.
Management of a #VirtualOTPlacement Plus Assignments With Cerebral Palsy.

As long as you are honest with yourself and don’t overload yourself, then go ahead.

Remember you are only on that placement once, and if something does come up there is always a way around it. Especially if you’re an occupational therapy student, as problem-solving skills are in your nature!

I hope this post was useful if you’re on placement or about to embark on one! You’re amazing, and don’t forget to share your top tips.

Thank you for reading,


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