Strand: Supporting students
Format : Short conference paper
Outcomes: raising the awareness of emotional aspects of placement learning; highlighting need to prepare and support students with this dimension of their learning on their course.
Purpose: This paper explores how occupational therapy students navigate the emotional aspects of placement learning in health and social care environments. The implications of the study pinpoint the need to consider how we support our students to manage their emotions in these potentially demanding environments.
Method: The main research study involved four creative writing focus groups with 7 Occupational Therapy students over a period of 6 weeks. In the groups students practiced creative writing techniques and then used them to reflect on emotional aspects of past placement experiences. Recordings of the writing groups’ discussions were transcribed and students chose pieces of their writing to share with the researcher. The groups were followed up by individual interviews. The groups and texts are currently being analysed using a narrative analysis framework.
Fiction, poetry, metaphor and multiple perspectives provided a means for students to write about emotionally charged experiences from a distance and to consider new insights which may not have been accessible through more conscious, academic reflection and discussion. The texts contain multiple interpretations and meanings and reveal a hidden aspect of their placement learning experience.
Aspects of their placement learning explored ranged from the emotional stress of their position as student being assessed through to the emotional and empathic aspects of relationships with service users. They looked at how they learn the ‘feeling rules’ in placement organisations and through university support and preparation for placement.
The creative writing techniques gave participants permission and space to explore and discuss previously ignored emotional aspects of their placement learning. The issues coming out of this research have significant implications for how we prepare and support health care students for placement learning as well as how we can utilise creative writing to engage with the non-academic aspects of health profession education.
Click link to view presentation: 250 LTA 2013Exploring the emotional landscapes of placement learning