Placements with physiotherapy

Placements are an integral and exciting part of the course

Whether you are a student on the BSc, Integrated Masters or the Pre-Registration Masters Physiotherapy programme, placements are an integral and exciting part of the course.
All students must complete a minimum of 1000 placement hours in line with HCPC and Professional body regulations. On our physiotherapy programmes this is split into 5 placements interspersed throughout the programme. This approach allows students to apply knowledge and skills learnt in University to practice and bring back newly acquired skills relevant to the practice setting to support their learning in academic modules too.
For our BSc and Integrated Masters students, you will complete a 5-week placement in year 1, two 6-week placements in year 2 and two 6-week placements in year 3. Integrated Masters students will also undertake a negotiated placement experience in year 4. For our Pre-Registration Masters students, you will undertake a 5-week and 6-week placement in year 1 and three 6-week placements in year 2.
Placements are currently located across the South West of England, including Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. Over the course of the program, all students should expect to have to travel or relocate for placements. Students need to be aware of and prepared for the additional costs associated with placement. Advice on financial support available for health care students on placement can be obtained from the NHS Business Services Authority website.
Students on placement are supported by HCPC registered Physiotherapists who have undertaken specific educator training. Educators are motivated and committed to supporting students develop their physiotherapy knowledge and skills and their own professional development needs. Students can also expect to be working with and supervised by other members of the health and social care team, enhancing their knowledge and understanding of the role and scope of physiotherapy and other professions in delivering quality health care.
Physiotherapy - girls leg being treated by a man
Our placements are planned to provide students with a wide range of placement experiences to support their learning and development and to prepare them for contemporary physiotherapy practice and their careers ahead. Placements are broadly classified into four areas:
Acute placements are usually within a large general hospital where students will be working and learning alongside physiotherapists and a range of other members of the multidisciplinary team. This could be in settings such as trauma and orthopaedics, intensive care, neurology, medical wards, A&E, paediatrics for example.
Intermediate placements may be within a specialist rehabilitation unit or community hospital or within community-based therapy teams. Students will be working and learning alongside physiotherapists and a range of other members of the multidisciplinary team in either an inpatient rehabilitation setting or undertaking community home-based services, either in a patient’s own home or a social care setting. This could include Stroke rehabilitation, balance and falls services, early supported discharge, community respiratory teams, learning disability services.
Outpatient placements will usually be based within an outpatient physiotherapy service where patients will attend planned appointments either on an individual face-face basis, via Telehealth, or for group-based sessions. The majority of our outpatient placements are based in NHS musculoskeletal services; however we also provide a small number of placements within private practice, elite sports, the MOD and other outpatient services such as women’s health, ain services, hands, burns and plastics for example.
As a programme, we are also excited to be able to offer a small number of wider placement opportunities which reflect the changing nature of physiotherapy practice, this may include leadership, research or education placements. It could also include placements in new emerging areas or non-traditional areas of practice. These placements offer students insight and opportunity to develop broader aspects of their physiotherapy skills.

What our students say

“My educators were so supportive throughout and ensured my placement experience was tailored to give me maximum exposure to a variety of patients and conditions. I attended band 5 in-service training and was provided with the opportunity to work jointly with other therapies in the department. In addition to this I was also able to represent Physiotherapy in the daily ward meetings, which further increased my experience of MDT working.”


“I think I had the best combination of placements, and although I was away a lot, it was such a great opportunity to work within three different trusts, explore the south west, and stay in some nice accommodation!"


"My leadership placement with NHSE has allowed me to understand what makes a good leader and how to draw upon my own and others’ skills to achieve team goals. My confidence in applying leadership skills in all areas of work has greatly improved which has set me up with skills for life that I feel I regularly draw upon in my new NHS career."


What do our practice Educators say about Placements?

"As a clinical educator I feel it is a privilege to be able to support students on placement and assist them in gaining skills and consolidating knowledge they have already gained at the University of Plymouth. The students from the Physiotherapy course are always enthusiastic, keen to progress and come with the necessary teaching to be able to gain the most from the clinical placement in the acute hospital. I have supervised a lot of students over many years and still get significant enjoyment from seeing students' confidence and skills progress over the course of a placement."


“The team always love supporting with student placements. There is real joy in facilitating the development of a student, helping to build the future workforce and allowing students to showcase their abilities. The students from UoP are always engaging, keen to learn and willing to improve their practice. Placements are an opportunity for educators to learn too- as students ask questions to enable an in-depth clinical discussion. Students are a prompt for educators to keep up to date with EBP and ensures higher standards of your own work. There is a great sense of pride when a student leaves following placement… proud that we have helped them in their journey to becoming a physiotherapist, and proud that we can showcase the work we do on the unit when we receive positive feedback ourselves.”


“I have extensive experience supporting physiotherapy students from UoP. They have all be a pleasure to work with and many come back to us to start their physio career as a band 5 with us! We've had some students who have had preconceived ideas about what Physiotherapy is and think they only want to work in sports or out-patients but placements can open their eyes to the opportunities within the NHS and physiotherapy practice.”

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