Practice Placement Education in Mental Health: the Educator's Experience

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Practice placements have been identified as a primary factor influencing new graduates' selection of specialty preference. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain an understanding of the experiences and issues for occupational therapists when providing practice placements for students in mental health. This research was prompted by continuing difficulties in the recruitment and retention of occupational therapists within mental health services in Queensland, Australia, along with a declining number of offers for student practice placements.

In-depth interviews with eight participants extrapolated four key elements in the experiences of educating students, which were time, energy, skills and mental health provider issues. The participants also identified determinants that influenced the decision to educate students, including professional responsibility, personal rewards and demands, and support needs. The inherent complexities of contemporary mental health practice, such as emotional and role demands, added pressure when educating students. The need for appropriate support and practice placement educator training programmes that deal effectively with mental health issues was highlighted.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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