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Phase 2:A Model Of Support For Students On Professional Placement In College

Introduction

This project aims to develop effective support systems which allow students engaging in professional courses to be able to participate effectively in work-based placements, thus ensuring that students, academic and placement staff, are in compliance with the College Fitness to Practice Policy (2011).

There are three strands to this project:

1. An evidence-based research strand that allows us to gather information from all stakeholders, to determine what are the main issues and concerns they have in the placement process for students with disabilities;

2. Development of placement planning procedures and supports for students on professional courses, to ensure that systems are in place to support all stakeholders (student, course staff and workplace supervisors);

3. Host a symposium for all stakeholders to present findings of this professional placement project in June 2013, and write an academic paper outlining recommendations for future supports and training;

Project Outline -Year 2- 2013-14

Strand 1: Research phase

  • Article to be published on findings of the research carried out in year 1 - Support for Students with Disabilities in Practice: Perspectives of Stakeholders;
  • Research significant literature relating to this area;
  • Apply for ethical approval from Health Science Ethics Committee to run a pilot research project following up on the main issues identified in final report produced from year 1 (Dec.13);
  • Develop and distribute appropriate surveys to confirm key determinants around placement such as disclosure, pre-placement planning, facilitators and barriers to success, reasonable accommodations, and fitness to practice (Jan. 14);
  • Survey current/past students to explore experiences of students with disabilities on professional placement, specifically relating to disclosure, reasonable accommodations, supports and pre-placement planning (Feb. 14);
  • Survey professional placement staff and placement coordinators in Trinity  to gain perspectives on working with students with disabilities, reasonable accommodations, difficulties encountered, and how best to support staff working with students on placement (Feb. 14);
    Provide information on DS websites http://www.tcd.ie/disability/strategic-plan/phasetwo/supports-placement.php;

Strand 2: Implementation of procedure for ensuring reasonable accommodation in work placement

  • Produce the Professional placement guide for students with disabilities on professional course and web page which will include electronic and hard copies http://www.tcd.ie/disability/services/placement-planning.php;
  • Professional planning framework - identify students on all professional courses who would benefit from placement planning process;
  • Record and monitor the level of participation by students in the professional placement planning process for students with disabilities on professional courses, including difficulties and challenges as well as successes and achievements.
  • Seek feedback from placement Co-ordinators, PECs and students on the professional placement process guide in all professions and report on same;
  • Development of specific planning booklets such as Teacher Training will be developed in conjunction with the relevant Schools.
  • Develop clearly defined clinical and other professional placement reasonable accommodation by trial in workplace.
  • Provide web based resources for work place practitioners to assist them in determining appropriate reasonable accomadation's;
  • Measure and record impact of placement planning process with all stakeholders, pre-planning, in-placement and into employment.

Fitness to Practice in College

This Fitness to Practice policy (www.tcd.ie/policies) was approved by University Council on 18 May2011. The framework governing fitness to practice is placed on a firm footing in College by this policy, the 2010 Statutes and Schedules, the College Calendar, School Fitness to practice Policies, Codes of Conduct for Schools and relevant Health Service Providers and other College Policies (e.g. Disciplinary Policy, Garda Vetting Policy).

Section 4 of the College Fitness to Practice Policy refers to the need to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. If a student with disabilities has been provided with reasonable accommodation which enable him/her to participate fully in his/her programme, and there are still concerns about the student’s ability to practice elements of his/her course, the case shall be dealt with under section 3 of the College policy, in the same way as any other student on the course.

However, a failure to implement section 4 of the College Policy in the case of students whose disability may cause fitness to practice concerns, will generally result in the conclusion that the investigation has not been conducted with due enquiry (see 4.3). To ensure that a School has fulfilled its requirements under section 4 of the College Policy, the School should ensure that they work with the student, the College Disability Service and the relevant work-based placement staff. In particular, the School should ensure that the work-based placement staff are aware of College policies in relation to students with disabilities and the role of the Disability Service. It is the duty of the School to ensure that they have complied with Section 4 of the College Policy. However, the College Calendar further provides that

“If the student does not engage with the reasonable accommodations process…and concerns remain in relation to the student’s fitness to participate in professional placements, the case shall be dealt with in accordance with (the normal procedures).”

If a School refers a student to the Disability Service, they should inform the student that a failure to engage with the process may adversely affect the student in the event that a fitness to practice issue arises.
In 2009, The Disability Service published a placement handbook (pdf 1.6 mb) for nursing students with dyslexia, which was the product of collaboration between the Disability Service, academic staff, and professional placement personnel. The current project aims to extend that work to all students with disabilities on all placement courses.
The initiatives and actions in this project set out to promote and enable student self-determination and self-advocacy. By engaging students and staff responsible for placements, a comprehensive picture will emerge indicating the supports students need in preparing for, during, and after placement, and how College can best facilitate this. Current and past students, Placement Coordinators, faculty staff and Practice Educators across the Health Sciences and Education courses, will be targeted in order to demonstrate that College aims to pursue best practice and quality teaching, in supporting students with disabilities on placement.
The Disability Service will be working with students and practice education staff from:

  • Radiation Therapy,
  • Occupational Therapy,
  • Physiotherapy,
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Nursing
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Social Work
  • Deaf studies
  • Colleges of Education (Teacher Training)

Project Outline - Year 1 - 2012-13

This project aims to develop effective support systems which allow students engaging professional courses to be able to participate effectively in work-based placements, thus ensuring that students, academic and placement staff, are in compliance with the College Fitness to Practice Policy (2011).

Project Objectives

  1. Explore the professional placement planning process for students with disabilities on professional courses and determine which work based reasonable accommodations are required to enable students to actively participate in professional placements
  2. Test the professional placement planning process in the workplace and review issues arising for students, Practice Education Coordinators and Practice Educators.
  3. Explore the organisational, psychology and culture of the professions and disability barriers that are perceived to exist.
  4. Review disclosure of disability pathways in the practice education environment from the perspective of Heads of Discipline/Department, Practice Education Coordinators, Practice Educators, and students themselves.
  5. Utilize the findings to develop an effective model of support, structures and systems for students with disabilities on placement and to ensure the needs of all stakeholders are met.

Models of Support for Students with disabilities on Professional Placements Symposium - 26th June 2013

Statistics

The number of students with disabilities undertaking professional courses in Trinity has doubled to over 200 students over the past 3 years; Table 1 illustrates the increasing number of students between 2006 and January 2013.

 

Course

2006

2009

2013

2014

FAHSS

Business and a language

N/A

N/A

8

N/A

FAHSS

Deaf Studies

N/A

N/A

14

9

FAHSS

B.Ed Education Marino/ Church of Ireland

8

9

9

2

FAHSS

Professional Doctorate in Education

0

1

6

0

FAHSS

PG Dip Education

0

3

6

3

FAHSS

Social Studies

7

5

29

36

FAHSS

Masters in Social Work

0

1

4

4

FAHSS

Clinical Speech and Lang Studies

2

0

8

9

FAHSS

PG Psychology

N/A

N/A

N/A

5

FHS

Dental Nursing

0

0

1

1

FHS

Dental Technology

0

0

2

2

FHS

Pharmacy

N/A

N/A

N/A

24

FHS

Dental Science

2

3

10

11

FHS

PG DIP Clinical dental technology

0

0

1

0

FHS

Human Nutrition and Dietetics

0

0

1

0

FHS

Medicine

14

20

35

38

FHS

Nursing Studies

13

32

73

66

FHS

Children & General Nursing Studies

N/A

N/A

12

10

FHS

Intellectual Disability Nursing

2

1

0

0

FHS

Mental Health Nursing

3

0

0

1

FHS

B.Sc Science in Midwifery

0

2

11

11

FHS

Occupational Therapy

8

8

15

16

FHS

Physiotherapy

5

7

8

5

FHS

Radiotherapy

1

6

6

6

FHS

Higher Diploma in Children's Nursing

1

0

0

0

FHS

Post. Diploma in Midwifery

1

0

0

1

 

Total

67

98

259

260