Clinical Educator Case Stories"One student became depressed during the course of the placement and withdrew entirely from the program for 6 weeks. I was very concerned about her health and wellbeing as she was culturally and socially isolated. My gut instinct was to front up on her doorstep and if needed, assist her to seek professional support. I consulted with clinical education colleagues and we decided that we should focus more on providing her with the practical options available for making up her prac at a different time. Fortunately, she did continue the course, however retrospectively, I feel that that was an instance in which I should have followed my gut instinct and supported her differently".
K.Adam, OT clinical educator, workplace rehabilitation practice (personal communication, May 10, 2007)
"I had a student once who fell asleep at his desk twice. He displayed poor organisational skills and inappropriate non-verbal communication such as: prying a client's hands off a wheelie walker and tapping on the patient's arm with a pen. He appeared not to be aware of his difficulties.
S. Bartholomai, OT clinical educator, collaborative placement model (personal communication, May 31, 2007)
I provided feedback about these issues and that he was at risk of not passing. He seemed to take it like water off a duck's back. I was concerned about his motivation, and it seemed he had difficulty grasping the nature of the job.
So, I spoke to the university, who offered some support through interviews with the student, and provision of some strategies surrounding time management and clinical reasoning. It helped to have some input from a more neutral source, and it allowed the student to also provide some feedback about his experience. The university fieldwork staff helped the student to brainstorm a performance improvement plan.
[The student] came back to prac with an action plan that was concrete and that provided a clear plan for review of outcomes. He picked up remarkably after that. It seemed he needed that prompt. It also prompted me to reflect on my clinical educator skills, such as "am I clear enough with explanations on expectations?". It was a two-way reflection and learning process."
"One student was not coping, demonstrated by a continuous need to keep collecting information yet, without being able to discern what was of most importance and how to make use of it. His peers were finding his lesser contribution difficult to handle. It was important to talk about this issue openly with this student and his peers and address the concerns collaboratively as a team. Also the value and use of humour in such cases could not be overstated."
(K.Adam, personal communication, May 10, 2007)
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