THRIVE: Experiences of designing and delivering a student-led, person-centred, interprofessional practice placement experience using a digital telehealth platform

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Purpose: The UK lockdown for COVID-19 in March 2020 led to withdrawal of students from clinical placement risking student progression. Therapist educators at the University of Huddersfield created a student-led service to support the local community while developing future-oriented skills including person-centred care, health coaching and interprofessional practice. People facing health and wellbeing challenges during lockdown were recruited from local charities. Physiotherapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) students worked in pairs with participants via video link with supervision from qualified staff. This presentation describes the teams’ experiences of developing this novel approach to practice placements and the pragmatic solutions found to the challenges faced.
Methods: A technology-enabled, student-led telehealth placement was piloted twice in the summer of 2020. The service evaluation of this pilot project is presented in an experiential manner. What follows are the reflections of the team developing the service, and the pragmatic solutions to the challenges faced by the team will be shared. Student and participant evaluation data are presented in other publications for which ethical approval was obtained.
Results: Seventeen PT and 17 OT students received placements, supported by a team of 10 academic staff from 4 professions. Specific training was scheduled for key health coaching and person-centred goal-setting topics alongside the practicalities of assessment and delivery of interventions via a digital platform. The majority of students reported a positive placement experience and all of the 56 participants that responded would recommend the service. The academic staff and students had to adapt to a placement that was delivered in a remote format. Key themes that will be reflected upon include: participant recruitment, governance, technology platforms, interprofessional working, supervision models and the students’ anxieties about the placement.
Conclusion(s): Interprofessional, student-led, virtual services reflect the change in service provision following the coronavirus pandemic and offer excellent and distinctive learning opportunities for students. Setting up the pilot service in a short timeframe created a unique set of challenges for the developing team.
Impact: Despite the inherent challenges, this pilot project has paved the way for permanent inclusion of telehealth practice placement experiences students in our institution, helping students to develop a skill set that helps to prepare them for the future of global service provision. The project also led the team to gain funding to explore how we can further enable effective learning environments within primary care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e109-e110
Number of pages2
Issue numbersuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022
EventVirtual Physiotherapy UK 2021 Conference - Virtual, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 5 Nov 20216 Nov 2021


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