Practice Education is a vital component of the undergraduate degree programme (BSc Clinical Speech & Language Studies) that enables students to graduate, meeting the standards of proficiency as specified by CORU. The Practice Education programme has been developed by the Department, in association with the profession, to facilitate the integration of theory to practice and the development of clinical competencies to ensure students join the Speech and Language Therapy profession as competent entrants. It combines college-based activities, tutorials, and practice placements in a range of clinical settings.
The Practice Education programme would not be possible without close collaboration with practising Speech and Language Therapists in their role as Practice Educators (PE), Practice Tutors (PT) or Regional Placement Facilitators (RPF). In addition to sharing professional knowledge and skills with the next generation being intrinsic to the role of all Speech and Language Therapists, there have been a variety of documented benefits of providing practice placements for students, for example, in:
- supporting reflective practice, stimulates learning and encourages evidence-based practice
- helping keep up to date with current practice, models, and theories
- improving teaching, mentoring, and people management skills
- providing a useful resource (e.g. another pair of hands for group work or new initiatives)
- putting a different emphasis on day to day work, adds to the team dynamic, and brings energy
- enabling structured and unstructured learning activities in relation to the practice education of students which are recognised by CORU as CPD credits.
How can I get involved in the practice education of students?
There are five different practice placements that occur each academic year – one for 2nd years, two for 3rd years, and two for 4th years:
You can share your offer of a practice placement by completing and returning the placement request form
What is my role as Practice Educator of students?
The term ‘Practice Educator’ encompasses many roles, such as learning facilitator, supervisor, trainer, tutor, mentor and examiner. As a Practice Educator, you are the key Speech and Language Therapist in the practice placement who facilitates the student’s learning and who also has the responsibility for providing formative and summative assessment of their clinical competence. This includes providing:
- Clinical learning opportunities for students in the placement setting
- Appropriate feedback to students to enable them to develop professional skills and clinical competencies (i.e., direct supervision for 2nd years, collaborative supervision for 3rd years, and consultative supervision for 4th years)
- Formal evaluation of the student’s developing level of clinical competencies Each year, the Department delivers a workshop for Speech and Language Therapists that outlines the Practice Educator’s role in more detail.
We encourage all SLTs new to practice education to attend, along with SLTs looking to refresh their knowledge and skills. Further information on the roles and responsibilities of Practice Educators, along with those of the student and Higher Education Institution, are outlined in the Guidelines for Good Practice in Practice Education and Practice Educator Competencies, developed by the Therapy Project Office. You can access the Practice Education Handbook here
What do I have to do in terms of assessment of students?
For each practice placement, there are one* or two formal assessments of a student’s competencies to be completed. The exact details of assessment requirements for each placement are always shared with practice educators before the placement commences.
Clinical Exam 3rd years - student is observed by the supervising Practice Educator (and another therapist) working with a ‘seen’ client (i.e. a client they have been working with during the placement, or a client from a client group they have been working with during placement). The process includes four components, as per the Clinical Exam Form:
For 4th years - the student is observed working with an ‘unseen’ client by the Practice Educator and a Practice Tutor (if available) or College Examiner (i.e. a person who is new to the student). 4th year students are to be assessed on a minimum of 15 competencies as per the Clinical Exam Form.
Notification of Concern
Students cope in different ways with learning and managing the transitions that practice placements demand. Situations related to professional conduct or clinical competencies may arise including failure to meet standards of professional conduct, inadequate knowledge, an apparent difficulty acting on advice, lack of preparation for clinical work, or not achieving the expected competencies by their mid-placement review.
Practice Educators can contact the Department about any concerns they may have by either phone or email – no matter how minor the concern may seem! This contact allows for timely provision of additional supports for the student and/or the Practice Educator as well as referral to other College-based support services where indicated. In addition, where appropriate, we would be grateful if your concerns could be submitted in writing using the forms below.
What supports are available to me as a Practice Educator?
Practice Education is a vital component of SLT undergraduate programme and it would not be possible without your involvement. There are a number of supports available to you, and the Department is open to any other suggestions you may have.
- Input at a team meeting or centre-based meeting
- The Practice Education Coordinator is happy to attend a team meeting or centre-based meeting to discuss any aspect of Practice Education (e.g., upcoming placement, assessment of students’ competencies etc.)
- CPD on the theme of Practice Education
- Every year the department offers courses/ workshops on the themes of practice education. We encourage all SLTs new to practice education to attend, along with SLTs looking to refresh their knowledge and skills. Details can be found here: https://www.tcd.ie/slscs/continuing-professional-development/
- The Health & Social Care Professions Education & Development unit of the HSE has supported the development of online resources for practice educators. To access the modules go to http://www.hseland.ie and then to Health & Social Care Professionals Hub.
- There is also a short course on ‘Clinical Supervision’ available on FutureLearn https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/categories
- Additional CPD opportunities are available at http://www.lpmde.ac.uk/, in particular the online modules at http://www.lpmde.ac.uk/professional-development/elearning-support-and-self-review-modules
- Structured and unstructured learning activities in relation to the practice education of students are recognised by CORU as CPD credits. For example: ‘active engagement in supervision and mentoring’; ‘involvement in student practice education and providing placements’; ‘training on placement grading tools and overall assessment of students’; or ‘reading and reflecting on literature or case studies’.
- Therapy Project Office publications
- Feedback in a Clinical Setting’: https://www.tcd.ie/slscs/clinical-speech-language/SLT/index.php
- Practice Education Team Contact Details:
Sinéad Kelly, Practice Education Coordinator , 1 896 1336 firstname.lastname@example.org
Aoife Mhic Mhathúna, Regional Placement Facilitator, Balinteer Health Centre: email@example.com
Sarah Scott, Regional Placement Facilitator, Lusk Health Centre: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christoper McCarthy, Practice Tutor, Connolly Hospital: Christopher.email@example.com
Emer Foley, Practice Tutor, St. James’ Hospital: EFoley2@stjames.ie
Sara Brennan, Practice Tutor, Beaumont Hospital: firstname.lastname@example.org
Orla Gately, Practice Tutor, Mater Hospital: email@example.com
Marie Cox, Practice Tutor, National Rehabilitation Hospital: firstname.lastname@example.org
Olivia Ward, Practice Tutor, Enable Ireland: email@example.com
Ciara Dunne, Practice Tutor, Enable Ireland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aisling Dolly, Practice Tutor, Central Remedial Clinic: email@example.com
How can I support students registered with TCD’s Disability Service who are on placement?
Students who are registered with Trinity College’s Disability Service are entitled to supports in the form of reasonable accommodations while on a practice placement (Equal Status Act 2000-1; Disability Act, 2005). A needs assessment process completed by TCD’s Disability Service will take into account the nature of the disability, course requirements, and individual differences. They will produce a report with suggestions for practice placement supports. This is completed on a case by case basis and in accordance with the individual’s certified disability.
With the student’s consent, information about a student’s disability may be disclosed prior to placement and a formal placement planning meeting may be arranged to discuss reasonable accommodations. These may include assistive technology, additional time, accessible locations, frequent rests, or flexible hours.
Further information on Trinity College’s guides for students with disabilities: https://www.tcd.ie/disability/
Further information on Trinity College’s Equality Policy: https://www.tcd.ie/equality/
Other relevant information
Garda Vetting information & Precautions against infectious diseases information: