Feeling like an OT - The emotional landscapes of placement learning
What does placement learning feel like?
Joan Healey is a member of the Occupational Therapy teaching and research team here at Sheffield Hallam and did her doctoral research exploring what it feels like for students to be on placement. The research took an unusual approach, exploring the emotional dimensions of learning and practice - something which is very often ignored in occupational therapy education and practice. Joan used creative writing groups with final year BSc and MSc pre reg OT students to produce stories and poems about people, places and practices on placement - addressing an area of experience way beyond the assessment forms and HCPC competencies - and very much attached to the everyday experience of being out there. The stories highlight how every different department has its own ‘feeling rules’ - what is acceptable to feel and express, and what is not. The rich creative writing of the students who participated in the research evokes the feelings of being on placement in a way which brings it to life and illustrates what it can feel like when we have to 'perform' the professional and hide the personal.
The talk will be based on the students' stories and will hopefully provokes some discussion about the silence around the emotional aspects of our professional practice .
Joan comes from a background of creative arts and working with older people, both in mental health and physical practice settings. She is part of the steering group for the Sheffield Arts and Wellbeing Network and runs the Creativity, Occupation and Wellbeing module for the BSc(Hons) Occupational therapy programme. She has used creative writing in practice as a therapeutic activity, as an educational activity with students and as a research tool with older people in residential settings.