Post placement reflection sessions – a placement capacity and sustainability initiative

Mrs Vicky Stirling1, Mrs Deborah Fitzgerald1

1Queensland Health, Gold Coast, Australia

Background: Allied Health university program and cohort growth to meet perceived workforce needs have led to an increase in demand for pre-entry student placements. To meet this demand Allied Health professionals within public and private health services need to have a dual focus on sustaining quality clinical education practices and building placement offers or capacity. Post Placement Reflection Sessions (PPRS) were implemented within a Queensland public health service to sustain and increase a clinician’s Clinical Educator (CE) capability to deliver quality clinical learning. The sessions were guided by contemporary educational theory, with reflections and learnings documented to enable review by the CE prior to the next placement they supported.

Method: An action learning approach to quality review the PPRS sessions, incorporating qualitative reflective journaling and peer discussion, was undertaken over a two-year timeframe. This methodology facilitated reflection on the impact of the sessions on stakeholders and enabled continual review and refinement of the PPRS design.

Results: Qualitative review of journaling and peer meeting documentation revealed information to guide future PPRS implementation process and design. Themes related to the perceived impact on CEs’ practices also emerged, as did reflections on the value of PPRS in supporting placement capacity and sustainability. The PPRS encouraged CEs to consider alternative placement models and approaches to student supervision for future placements. PPRS were also reported to enhance novice CEs’ confidence to educate students.

Discussion: The presentation will report on the refined design of the PPRS sessions and the key outcomes of the quality review undertaken. The reported impact on CE skill development and sustained effort for placement provision will be described. It became evident that CEs are seeking guidance and support on their education practices, with the PPRS enabling this in a planned and structured way that may not have occurred otherwise.


Vicky Stirling has worked as a Gold Coast Occupational Therapy Clinical Education Support Officer (CESO) since 2011, supporting clinicians to deliver quality placement experiences. This position works within the statewide Occupational Therapy  Clinical Education Program (OTCEP). Vicky has also worked clinically in a variety of acute, rehab and outpatient settings as well academically in the University sector. She is passionate about reflective practice, the delivery of quality student learning experiences and promoting placement capacity and sustainability initiatives.

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