January 26, 2010, by Teaching at Nottingham

Linking theory and practice: guiding students on a work placement

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Alison: “In a lot of work related professions where there’s work experience and it comes across whether you have sandwich courses or courses where the practice is integrated in different ways. I think you’re in school one minute and you’re out of the practice setting, you’ve got classroom world-real world, and I think that’s quite difficult. I think you do need, at least initially, pre-registration courses particularly, for someone to help you make those links.”

Learning set

Alison: “So I think also what I hope is that you’ll start to see the link better between practice and theory through these workshops. Now. what I would say is, can you think back to what we’ve done in class, either recently or in CFP that you could go back to your notes and refresh them?”

Jo: “I’m not sure what you mean?”

Alison: “Well, if I think about CFP I know, for instance, in the behavioural sciences model, you do sick role and you look at ethnicity as an issue around their health, don’t you? Okay, so have you ever thought of bringing your notes from the foundation programme into your adult branch portfolio?”

Jo: “Right. No I haven’t, but I will now.”

Alison: “And I would update them, right and I’d make a link to the clients I’ve been seeing.”

Jo: “Right.”

Alison: “‘Cause if you think about we’ve talking about somebody having a major life event, they’ve gone into, sort of, ‘oh my God, I’ll never be well again’ mode.”

Jo: “Yes.”

Alison: “That’s in their head. They’re still in their dressing gown by midday. They’re not feeling confident about even getting up and dressed and, you know wandering about the house never mind going out for a walk. And it’s a beautiful day. Right, so we did about sick role, didn’t we? In CFP. This would be a really good opportunity for you to revise health behaviour, sick role behaviour and linking it to Cardiac Rehab.”

Alison: “I think what the learning sets contribute is the theory practice link because while I can’t do the practice and the mentors are the experts with the practice, what I find, I think, is that I can make the taught curriculum more relevant to the mentors’ practice and also remind the students, ‘Do you remember when, you know, we looked at population health or whatever? Can you see the relevance of that now to looking at this group of clients and why this service exists?'”

Alison Clark & Jo-anne Fisher (School of Nursing, Midwifery & Physiotherapy)

Extracts from meetings between student nurses, their professional mentors and an academic, and interviews with the participants, produced as part of a CEPPL funded project on placement learning.
This article was originally published as part of PESL’s Teaching at Nottingham collection. Produced January 2010.

Posted in Placements and work based learningResearch-informed teaching