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what you need to know for your appointment

Responsibilities - practice placement educator

Our Trust  complies with the WFOT minimum standard by advocating that students will normally be supervised and assessed by a state registered OT with at least two years experience [Hocking & Ness 2002], all of whom have attended appropriate courses about education and reflection upon practice and continue to engage in professional development activities.

It is expected that all Practice Placement Educators have a copy of the University Handbook relevant to the student that they are supervising which should be used in collaboration with these guidelines.

The roles and responsibilities have been set out in key areas of work e.g. communication, supervision etc.


  • That each placement holds a placement resource file (hard copy or online access). This is the file that contains the information about the particular placement, its operational policies and procedures that assure the quality of practice education from the perspective of all stakeholders. This file may include for example, health and safety regulations and procedures, risk, support for practice placement educators and students, the student's induction process, and the learning opportunities available to the student [COT 2002]
  • That where possible, students have access to appropriate information resources such as the Internet, journals and publications held in the service setting. Attendance at pre-placement briefings held by the Universities, or use of their online briefings, is expected.

Learning contracts

  • An Individual Learning Contract is negotiated between the student and the practice placement educator on the expectations of the practice placement experience, taking account of the level of the student's education in relation to the aims and objectives, learning outcomes and assessment of the particular practice education module.
  • It is evident from a learning agreement and placement programme that the practice placement educator in collaboration with the student has identified, developed and used learning opportunities to support the achievement of placement outcomes.

Supervision and support

  • Practice placement educators araccessible during working hours for direct or indirect supervision and there are appropriate contingency arrangements to ensure client safety and continuity of learning when the practice placement educator is absent for planned or unexpected reasons.
  • Appropriate models of supervision are offered by the named practice placement educator, with a minimum of one hour of formal supervision per week [Hocking and Ness 2002]
  • There is a planned approach to the amount, type and frequency of supervision to allow progression from observing practice to independent practice.
  • Supervisory strategies take into account individual learning styles and use adult learning methods to support the development process There is awareness of the additional support systems available when supervising exceptional or failing students or those with special needs.
  • Students are aware of the academic and pastoral support available whilst on placement. When students are working independently or with supervision, all learning, teaching and supervisory methods are designed to assess and manage risks, to assure the safety of clients and carers, ensure consent and confidentiality of clients and their carers, and demonstrate respect for others.
  • The university will be informed if the PPE has concerns that the student is failing a placement. In these circumstances Occupational Health clearance maybe required.

Disclosed disabilities

  • If a student discloses a disability there is an expectation that 'reasonable adjustments' are made to make the placement accessible.
  • PPEs are encouraged to facilitate disclosure related to a suspected disability. If the student is suspected of having a disability but does not disclose when given opportunity, such as in supervision, then they will continue to be assessed on their competencies.
  • During induction students must be asked if they have particular support needs whilst on placement and what things they would find most helpful to facilitate learning during placement.
  • If a student discloses a disability whilst on placement and would like reasonable adjustments made the PPE is required to contact the OT central office and the student's university for advice and additional support.

Health and safety

Students must be made aware of the trust health and safety policies.It is assumed that conflict resolution and breakaway techniques are provded by the University prior to placement and are not routinely offered to students. Further training is however offered to students in higher risk placements e.g. PICU.Risks must be assessed. This includes the risk to the student and risk to others including staff and clients. The PPE must state what measures are being taken to reduce any risks.

Learning opportunities

  • Practice placement enables the student to experience the Occupational Therapy process with a range of people with different health and social care needs.
  • It is expected that PPEs will contribute to the ongoing student seminar programme.
  • There is evidence that the inter-professional team is engaged in the education of students.
  • There is evidence that opportunities exist for inter-professional learning and team working as part of the Occupational Therapy process.
  • The placement timetable shows time set aside each week for independent study.

Assessment and evaluation

  • There is evidence that practice placement educators are aware of assessment principles so as to assure valid, reliable and fair judgement.
  • Methods of assessment are employed to measure whether learning outcomes are met and to facilitate personal and professional development.
  • The outcomes of ongoing, experiential learning plus formal and informal supervision are shown in the practice placement report signed by a state registered occupational therapist.
  • The practice assessments demonstrate that the students are being assessed within the context of client-centred, inter-professional and inter-agency service delivery.
  • There is evidence that the assessments test fitness for practice as defined by the College of Occupational Therapists' Pre-Registration Education Standards (2014) and the Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics (2015)
  • Student feedback indicates that there are sufficient educational resources, staff and support to allow them to explore Occupational Therapy.


College of Occupational Therapists [2015] The Code of ethics and professional Conduct for Occupational Therapists. London: COT

College of Occupational Therapists [2014] Standards for Education: Pre Registration Education Standards.  London: COT

Hocking C, Ness NE (2002) Revised minimum standards for the education of occupational therapists. Perth: WFOT.

dignity respect and privacy

Student responsibilities

When on practice placement students are legally required to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Occupational Therapists [COT 2015].

During practice placements students must abide by the principles/policies of, and the procedures adopted by our Trust and comply with arrangements specified and/or negotiated with their Practice Placement Educators (PPE) and relevant personnel.  This includes matters like accommodation, keys, library books/fines etc

Students should conduct themselves and undertake agreed work in a manner commensurate with their student status, respecting the rights of clients and their carers.  Students are also expected to co-operate with their PPE, OT staff and members of the multi-disciplinary team

All students should have a copy of their University Student Handbook, Manual which should be used in collaboration with these guidelines.


  • The student must inform the PPE and/or the member of a staff in charge of their clinical area of work immediately in the event of any critical/unusual incident occurring during a client treatment session either to the client or to them.
  • The student will comply with the Trust IM and T security policy
  • Students must ensure that a qualified health practitioner countersigns all the entries that they make in clients case notes. When writing in client's notes students may only use the following abbreviations
  • The Trust will not tolerate verbal, racist or sexual abuse or violence towards its service users or staff, contractors or visitors and therefore requires students to report any such incidents to their PPE.
  • You have a legal duty to maintain confidentiality at all times.

Learning contracts

  • An Individual Learning Contract and weekly objectives are negotiated between the student and the PPE based on the overall expectations of the placement, taking into account the level of the student's education in relation to the aims and objectives, learning outcomes and assessment of the particular practice education module.
  • The student should not accept responsibility for tasks that are above and beyond his/her capabilities or alternatively avoid taking responsibility commensurate with his/her level of training.
  • It is evident from a learning agreement and placement programme that the student in collaboration with the PPE has identified, developed and used learning opportunities to support the achievement of placement outcomes.

Supervision and support

  • The student must actively participate in supervision with the named PPE, with a minimum of one hour of formal supervision per week [Hocking and Ness 2002]
  • The student should be willing to discuss both their strengths and weaknesses so that there is a planned approach to learning and supervision, allowing progression from observing practice to independent practice.
  • Students are aware of the academic and pastoral support available whilst on placement.

Learning opportunities

  • Students are expected to work the same hours as a full time qualified OT
  • Students are expected to engage in any multi-disciplinary training opportunities offered.
  • Students should negotiate a suitable time each week for independent study with their PPE.
  • Students will be responsible for the completion and submission of all written components whilst on placement.

Assessment and evaluation

  • Students will carry out self-appraisal and critical reflection on a regular basis in preparation for both formal assessment and supervision sessions.
  • The student is requested to complete the Trust evaluation form and return to the Placement Coordinator at the end of the placement.

Health and safety

Students unable to attend due to sickness must adher to their university proceedures and make sure that:
  • The practice area is contacted by telephone at the earliest opportunity, and NO LATER THAN the normal start time on the first day of sickness.
  • A telephone message must be left if there is no reply. Texting or emailing is not acceptable
  • The student is responsible for alerting their PPE to any health issue, which may impinge on client care.
  • You have a responsibility to read and adhere to the Trust's Health and Safety Policies Students should make themselves aware of and follow the control measures of any risk assessment prepared.
  • The Trust operates a Smoke Free policy, which it expects students to adhere to.
  • The Trust does not wear uniform but all students are expected to maintain a professional appearance at all times and to ensure that that they comply with the Dress Code


  • Students are responsible for booking their own accommodation see student accommodation. Placement coordinators will advise on the best option depending on location of the clinical area and other students on placement within the Trust
  • Students using Trust accommodation during practice placements are required to sign a tenancy agreement and abide by the conditions detailed within it. Failure to do so may result in the retention of your deposit.

Disclosed disbilities

By law, students are not obliged to disclose a disability. If they chose this option then they will be assessed without the benefit of additional support, but this is a choice that can be made.
  • Students are encouraged to initially disclose their disability to their University in order to receive any pre-placement support. Students are can however disclose a disability whilst on placement.
  • If a student discloses a disability they do not need to give medical details or history. A student who discloses a disability is only required to provide information about how their disability affects them on a daily basis.
  • The student is encouraged to identify what 'reasonable adjustments' are required to make the placement accessible. By reasonable adjustments this may mean extra reading time, working a shorter week, permission to use a laptop computer or being provided with a quiet area to write up notes. See Useful tips for a student with a disability asking for reasonable adjustments.
  • Students are encouraged to visit the placement before starting to openly discuss their needs and what adjustments they would find helpful.


  • Never accept a gift, favour or hospitality from a service user, carer or relative currently receiving care, unless it is a small gift of gratitude, e.g. a box of chocolates or with hospitality e.g. a cup of tea.
  • Always inform your supervisor and if you are at all unsure about accepting a gift, favour or hospitality always seek advice or consult the Hospitality, Gifts and External Sponsorship policy
  • Mobile phones will be turned off during work hours except in exceptional circumstances e.g. as a safety measure

If you are ever in doubt about any aspect of your role, always seek clarification from your professional supervisor or senior member of staff.

Read the  document Dress Code (83 KB)

document (83 KB)

College of Occupational Therapists [2015] The Code of ethics and professional Conduct for Occupational Therapists. London: COT

College of Occupational Therapists [2014] Standards for Education: Pre Registration Education Standards.  London: COT

Hocking C, Ness NE (2002) Revised minimum standards for the education of occupational therapists. Perth: WFOT.

mental health care pathways

OCD: Treatment approaches

There are different ways to treating OCD.

The 2005 NICE guidelines for the treatment of OCD and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) encourage the use of a stepped-care model. The model aims to provide OCD sufferers with the least intrusive but most effective management for the patients needs. Each step provides successively greater intervention, assuming the previous step has already been implemented but has been unsuccessful. The model tailors the level of intervention to characteristics of the sufferers OCD and emphasizes the benefits of involving the family, schools and social workers.

Quick reference guide to the treatment of OCD 

  image Stepped-care model for OCD (145 KB)
(click for image)

Psychological therapy

Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) is a form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and produces response rates of 85% in subjects who complete therapy. Patients are first required to produce a hierarchy of anxiety-inducing situations. The client then faces the feared situations or objects without performing the compulsive ritual. The objective of ERP is to produce habituation, where anxiety reduces naturally after prolonged exposure to the stimulus. A reduction in anxiety is seen within 60-90 minutes if the patient does not engage in anxiolytic behaviours. The patient works through the graded hierarchy tackling the least feared challenges first.  

ERP can be delivered in a variety of forms, including self-help programs such as books, computer packages and telephone therapy. These provide a self-directed approach to overcoming OCD but with some therapist input for goal identification and early education. CBT often has long waiting lists and is demanding on therapists time. Self-help approaches have the potential to help more patients with minimal input from a clinician and may be monitored at the primary care level.

Psychological interventions for children with OCD follow similar principles as adult-based therapies. It is important to acknowledge developmental discrepancies and language ability in children. Significant emphasis should also be placed on involvement of the family. 

Find out about the National OCD/BDD service provided by the Trust.

Pharmacological therapies

Clomipramine and the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most effective drugs in the treatment of OCD. This is due to their ability to specifically inhibit the synaptic reuptake of serotonin.  Advice on prescribing for OCD


publication of expenditure

OCD: Epidemiology and aetiology

The epidemiology and aetiology of OCD.


  • OCD is observed in males and females in approximately equal proportions.
  • Prevalence may be as high as 1% to 3% in adults and 1% to 2% in childhood/ adolescence (especially just before the onset of puberty).
  • Many adult sufferers report symptoms appearing for the first time in childhood or adolescence.
  • Men more frequently present with checking rituals and women are more likely to display compulsive washing. 
  • The course of OCD is usually chronic but may vary in severity in response to stress. 
  • Many individuals do not present to healthcare professionals until early in middle age. 


  • Multifactorial in origin.
  • Includes environmental and hereditary factors.
  • Brain imaging studies have identified the basal ganglia and orbitofrontal cortex to be involved in the development of OCD.



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