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Creating a learning environment

our students, Joel and Victoria, discuss how they would like to be welcomed to a new placement
The teaching fellows that have had the most impact on my life are the ones, who when I walked into that building on that first day, no matter if it was five minutes’ from my home or the two hour journey, that it took to get to some of our placements. I wanted a smiling teaching fellow who knew what they were doing and were happy with what they were doing. I believe teachers have a responsibility to welcome their students into a new placement. Imagine you start in a new healthcare facility, you don’t know where anything is. You don’t know where the toilet is, you don’t know how to get to your given ward or area or workplace.
You don’t know who is on staff, who isn’t. You don’t know who is assessing you, who isn’t. Surely, it is incumbent upon the given teacher to actually welcome and induct their students into a new given workplace site and tell them how they’re going to be assessed, what roles they have, and what they’re supposed to do in this given site. The students who were met with teaching fellows or even on wards where they weren’t welcomed or weren’t inducted actually had a much poorer experience overall, not necessarily because their teaching was any worse, but because they felt less part of the team and less engaged.
Making sure people know where they can get food or how they can get to the toilet or the easiest place to park is really simple, but actually can make a massive difference to a student’s experience. And walking onto a ward and have somebody say, oh, you must be so-and-so or you must be the student we’ve got today, this is how the world works, come with me, makes a massive difference, rather than just walking on and kind of having to find your own way or constantly asking somebody. Sometimes people welcome me with open arms onto their ward. They tell me to do X, Y, or Z.
Other times I’m chasing, I’m seeking, I’m trying to find out who knows who I meant to be with, who’s meant to sign me off that I’ve attended this workplace placement. And it leads to a lot of frustration amongst medical students as well as nursing students, pharmacy students, and of course physiotherapists. Sometimes we’re relegated to the bottom of the pile. And we can actually get in the way of workplace activities, for example, a drug round, instead of being a vital part of the team. You constantly have a curse as a medical student that you’re in the way. And I think that’s the same for any healthcare student.
But having somebody who removes that stigma and makes you feel engaged and part of the team, actually gets the best out of their students.

Here our students, Joel and Victoria, discuss how they would like to be welcomed to a new placement.

Discussion point

  • What do you think about what they said?
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