Publish date: 27 April 2021

Northumbria’s new AHP Practice Placement Facilitator, Marie Constable tells us more about the newly introduced role in her Inside Northumbria Blog

I’ve recently come in to a new 12-month secondment as an Allied Health Professional Practice Placement Facilitator (AHP PPF) which is based within the Practice Education team at North Tyneside General Hospital. A very different role from my senior orthopaedic physiotherapy position, but a unique and challenging opportunity.

My role is to provide a link between the local universities and the Trust, support educators with students, maintain quality of placements, and to increase the amount of students that we can take at any given time, in line with the increased government places allocated to AHP programmes at the universities.

My passion for education has led me to this new role and I intend to use the transferable skills I have developed in physiotherapy. My aim is to develop the role and learn from the vast experience of the pre-registration nursing and midwifery PPF’s in the trust. I have only been within the position for a number of weeks but feel I have already learned so much.

There is an ever-growing demand for clinical areas to increase student capacity in order to sufficiently meet the future workforce requirements. This is a unique opportunity for us as a Trust to be open-minded and to explore ways to diversify how we deliver placements. Ideas around diversity of placements in terms of location, supervising and timing, resigning the approach of education and placement models, technology-enhanced placements – remote learning, virtual simulation placements. There is an added advantage to being involved in this type of service delivery in that students can access this from wherever they are, even if they are self-isolating.

I am very proud to be an Allied Health Professional Representative and think my new role is just one example of the many opportunities that are becoming available to AHPs that haven’t existed previously. I am relishing a totally new challenge in a great team and I am enjoying hearing about all the good practice that is already happening in Northumbria. We are a forward-thinking trust and our staff are incredibly innovative – they’re always willing to try new ideas.

Alongside the intention to increase AHP placement capacity nationwide in response to government changes, there is also the backlog which has developed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many AHP placements were cancelled in 2020 and we are in a “catch up placement situation”. This is an added pressure for clinicians who have supported our service in unprecedented times, who may be experiencing an element of burnout. My aim is to help and support these teams.

The biggest challenge so far has been the change from a busy ward environment to an office-based role. I have quickly improved my computer skills and I am adjusting to the many ‘Teams’ meetings I attend.

A positive that I will take from this difficult year is that as a workforce we have pulled together and proven that we can continue to provide quality placements. We have all improved our technological skills and have kept an open line of communication with the students. I think we can develop these skills further and continue to increase opportunities for our students in an innovative way.