New AHP student placement project starts

An innovation in Allied Health Professions (AHP) student placements is being piloted by Health Education England (HEE) and facilitated by the Institute of Osteopathy (iO). It will see osteopathic clinics at higher education institutions provide clinical observation opportunities for other AHP students, initiating a framework for interdisciplinary working between AHP professions at the undergraduate level.

The project, which is being coordinated by the iO’s Head of Professional Development Matthew Rogers, will see the British College of Osteopathic Medicine, European School of Osteopathy and the University College of Osteopathy welcome students from Kings College, London South Bank University, St Georges and Brunel University.

Matthew explains more: “This pilot is a unique opportunity to raise awareness about osteopathic practice amongst the next generation of AHPs, dispelling many of the myths that linger about the profession. It will also give osteopathic students first-hand experience of other AHPs, and the potential for interdisciplinary working, that will provide them increased opportunities to work in different settings once they graduate.”

The 7-month pilot begins in April and will initially see physiotherapy students start a five-week placement with a second cohort being welcomed by osteopathic colleges in the summer.

Ceira Kinch, the European School of Osteopathy’s Dean of Academic Studies, said of their involvement: “We are really fortunate, as osteopathic educators, to have our own on-site clinical settings, where students can gain real life experience as part of their degree. With this new initiative, we have an exciting opportunity to work with other healthcare educators, giving students a better understanding of each other’s professions and helping to raise awareness of the benefits of inter-disciplinary working.”

To understand the impact of the pilot, the National Council for Osteopathic Research will be conducting interviews with all the students and institutions involved, the findings of which will be published in a report expected in the latter part of 2021.