Clinical placement is an integral part of the Physiotherapy programme here at RCSI. Between third and fourth year, students must accrue 1,000 clinical hours to be eligible for CORU registration. Although COVID-19 has changed many parts of college life, we have been fortunate that placement has continued on the majority of our clinical sites. This has allowed us to experience a different environment with new challenges and obstacles.
I am currently on placement in University Hospital Galway. The biggest difference for us, compared to pre-COVID days, is the introduction of an online component to our placements. Our time in the hospital is now specifically for patient contact, with tutorials and teaching moving to online platforms. Thankfully, this has been a relatively smooth transition for a tech-savvy generation!
Although some individuals may have concerns about going into the hospital environment during these times, it is important to note that every precaution is taken to keep us safe. We are tested prior to placement commencement by RCSI and we are provided with all the appropriate PPE when on-site. We also have access to testing in the hospitals if required, while our patient contact time is limited to help reduce the risk of transmission. The introduction of vaccines has given everybody hope, and it is great that students on placement are offered the vaccine.
Everyone I have met on placement has been brilliant – they all understand this is a difficult time and I've never been short of people to ask for help.
Although different, I can honestly say that this placement has been just as, if not more enjoyable, than my previous placement. Getting the opportunity to help and make a difference on the frontline is a real privilege and an experience that will stand to us all in the future.
Sean Cunningham, Physiotherapy