allied health placement benefiting small community
Service Learning Occupational Therapy Placements at Corryong College
Jessica and Laura, two third-year occupational therapy (OT) students from Charles Sturt University, recently completed a seven-week placement block at Corryong College. Through a partnership between Corryong College and Going Rural Health, this placement was designed to simultaneously offer valuable allied health services at Corryong College whilst providing allied health students with a quality, supervised placement opportunity.
“I was very excited to do a school-based placement, I really want to do paediatrics and would love to work in a school one day.
“Even though initial first weeks you’re a bit unsure of what you’re doing, eventually once you start liaising with your physios and creating solid plans, you start to feel more confident as you build those skills” says Laura, one of the OT students.
During early stages of the placement the students worked collaboratively with school staff to identify potential areas of focus, resulting in the occupational therapy students designing and implementing a structured four-week intervention program in the 2/3/4 classroom aimed at developing student wellbeing capacity.
The program introduced various evidence-based topics designed to build wellbeing literacy including mindfulness, emotional awareness, character strengths and regulation strategies including sensory supports, and was delivered through both group and individual student sessions.
Jess and Laura felt warmly welcomed into the Corryong College community. They were provided with desk space, the staff regularly checked-in with them in the staff room and both teachers and students from all year levels showed interest in what they were doing on their placement and how OT works in a school environment.
“It was heart-warming to see the level of participation from the students in the sessions, the teachers and students were all so welcoming and enthusiastic” says Jess, the second OT student.
“We have definitely learnt valuable skills that will contribute to our professional development and guide us through our future OT placements” says Laura.
The seven-week placement block also provides the opportunity for the students to immerse themselves in the community and experience what it could be like to live and work regionally. During their time in Corryong, Jess became engaged in the local netball club, joined the gym and they both attended the local football and netball club ball the first weekend that they arrived.
“It was a very welcoming town, both within the school and the wider community – I loved it” says Jess.
“I thoroughly enjoyed this placement; I absolutely love working with kids and it’s been a really great learning experience overall.”
The program is planned to be continued with another OT student block next term, which will hope to build on the program objectives and the students wellbeing literacy.
Occupational Therapy students Jess (left) and Laura (right)