A Buderim aged care service in Queensland recently welcomed University of the Sunshine Coast occupational therapy students for their field placements.
Four students spent three weeks developing their skills through working with residents and staff.
The students were required to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of placements across the four years of their bachelor degree.
Immanuel Gardens director of nursing, Rae Stokes, said the third-year students identified the strengths of Immanuel Gardens and researched projects for future placement students to work on such areas as falls and pressure injury prevention which when applied will increase residents’ and staff safety,” she said.
Ms Stokes added the students focused on promoting a safe work environment at all times.
She added it “opened the students’ eyes to the human side of aged care”, which is essentially the industry-focus because many of them had not worked in the environment before.
University of the Sunshine Coast’s Help Workplace Australia occupational therapy practice educator, Lauren McEnery, said the placement enabled students to gain important insights into their chosen field.
“Occupational Therapists (OTs) are skilled in using occupations such as nursing to assess and rehabilitate people, promoting independence in tasks at home, work, school and leisure.
“The students not only spent time with residents but they looked at what the OT role looked like in the facility and gained lots of skills like communication, interaction with staff, project management and project work within the consultancy field,” she said.
Students focused on building their professional identity, self-management skills, communication and building strong relationships with their co-workers and residents.
“Older people enjoy the opportunity to talk about their lives and their experiences and that information gathering is very important in what type of therapy we might apply.”
OT student, Cassandra Burns, said she felt proud of how much she and her peers achieved during their placement.
Ms Burns added she was able to practice clinical skills, but was also part of a team which produced two substantial evidence-based reports on how occupational therapy student placements could add to the depth of services provided at the hostel.
The university also sent two third-year OT students to Lutheran Community Care’s mental health service, The Graceville Centre at Nambour.