Occupational Therapy students participate in community placement showcase
As part of their degree, fourth year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons) students spend a total of 330 hours across two academic years working with a local organisation to address a community or health based issue.
The Participatory Community Practice Placement (PCP) program aims to build students’ knowledge, skills and expertise in analysing and planning a population-centred project. Acting as project managers, students immerse themselves within an organisation to address a health and wellbeing issue through occupational engagement. This month, 40 PCP projects were presented at the annual showcase event held at Peninsula campus.
“All our students completing this unit achieve valuable and sustainable outcomes for their target groups, communities and organisations,” Lisa Knightbridge, Senior Lecturer and PCP Coordinator said.
“The program is designed to take students on a complete learning journey. They are given the opportunity to develop and demonstrate many professional competencies and skills required to address the ways in which the occupations, health and wellbeing of communities/populations may be impacted by social, political and organisation factors.”
This year, a number of the projects involved students working with organisations located throughout the Mornington Peninsula region. At Community Kinders Plus, an organisation that manages 18 kindergartens throughout the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region, students worked with staff to develop a tool that helps parents assess their child’s school readiness ability.
“There’s a surplus of information available on the internet now and families can often feel overwhelmed,” said Meagan Hull, Team Leader, Benton Square Pre-School. “The students identified a need to develop a transition to school resource for us to use with our families. The outcome was a booklet that summaries a whole lot of information in a very parent-friendly manner. It’s a great resource and we will be providing it to our families, as well as using it throughout the year.”
Reflecting on her experience at Community Kinders Plus, Catherine Riddle said, “I feel it was in the second half of the project that we really became project managers. We had an idea of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to support Community Kinders Plus. I think that’s where our community benefit has really come through as we have developed something that everyone in the community can use.”