Innovative multi-professional student placement project shows positive outcomes

A pilot in Allied Health Professions (AHP) student placements, funded by Health Education England and facilitated by the Institute of Osteopathy, has shown how an innovative interprofessional approach can deliver positive outcomes for students, educators and increase placement capacity across higher education institutions.

The Clinical Placement Expansion Project ran for seven months during 2021. During that period, two cohorts of physiotherapy students from Kings College, London South Bank University, St Georges, and Brunel University, underwent a five-week placement at either the British College of Osteopathic Medicine, European School of Osteopathy or University College of Osteopathy.

The full results of the pilot have now been published and have shown that it is feasible to create a collaborative environment that allows students from different professional backgrounds to learn together. Matthew Rogers Head of Professional Development at the Institute explains more:

‘This innovative solution would offer a safe and collaborative interprofessional environment in which AHP students could learn together independent of their professional background.

‘Student satisfaction from the placement was high, with 83% of the physiotherapy students satisfied with the placement. We also know that the osteopathic students found the experience equally valuable, paving the way for increased interdisciplinary working, that will provide increased opportunities to work in different settings once they graduate.

‘Initiating a framework for interdisciplinary working between AHP professions at the undergraduate level has many benefits.

‘In the spirit of the NHS Long Term Plan, a package of mixed disciplinary patient care and management focusing on the strengths and complementary skill sets of the different students would encourage more opportunities for reciprocal learning between students, and the cost of providing clinical educators in this setting is equivalent to more traditional placements and should be covered by the non-medical placement tariff making them financially sustainable.’

The full report with the results of the pilot is available from the research and reports section of this website.