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before you start

Advice from past students

The following pieces of advice have been given to us by students who have been on placement with the Trust.  We hope that you find them useful and that they help you to get the most out of your placement with us:

Advice for students

emergency help

Your safety

Do not become a victim.  Avoid:

  • Anything that limits your ability to see or hear trouble, such as wearing hoods, listening to music through earphones or talking on a mobile.
  • Walking in quiet, deserted areas such as underpasses, alleyways, parks, commons and empty wasteland.
  • Walking in a hesitant way and looking unsure of where you are going.
  • Appearing drunk or in any way out of control.
  • Having cash or valuables on show.

Personal safety tips

If you feel uncomfortable walking to your accommodation at night ask the security staff based at the Glenburnie Entrance of Springfield Hospital to escort you back to the Diamond Estate. They will be happy to undertake this unless they are dealing with an emergency or have reduced numbers during their regular nightly site inspections.
  • Carry a personal alarm.
  • Make use of 'preferred routes'- the safest path to your destination.
  • Always try to walk in well lit areas in the middle of the pavement, especially when going around corners.
  • Walk against the flow of the traffic to avoid kerb crawlers.
  • Look confident. Walk with your head up and with energy.
  • Keep your hand free.
  • Have your mobile ready for use.
  • Have your keys ready when approaching home so you don't spend time on the doorstep fumbling in your bag.
  • Make it difficult for anyone to conceal themselves near the entrance to your home by cutting hedges well back, or installing outside lighting.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.
  • If you decide to take a cab home, pre-book a car through a licensed taxi office and ensure the car you ordered is the one you get into.
  • Know the car details and check the driver knows what name it was booked under. Sit in the back and carry an alarm.
  • If someone attempts to snatch your bag or phone, let them have it. You are risking personal injury if you resist.


    Be concerned about people who are:
  • Drunk or under the influence of drugs or solvents Exhibiting behaviour which is unpredictable, out of 'norm' or whose behaviour may be viewed as escalatory
  • Involved in change of any kind (positive or negative)
  • In charged emotional states, whether created by chemicals or circumstance
  • Known to have a violent history
  • Making threats (written or verbal)

What causes violence

Ideas about the causes of violence include the suggestion that the ability to be violent is within us all. Another suggestion is that frustration can lead to aggression. Some of us may copy the behaviour of others, especially if we see that by being violent they are actually achieving their goals. Life experiences, family crisis or bereavement can lead to an expression of hostility. Or we can be trained to be violent at an early age when we are given pretend weapons and play at destroying the enemy. Sometimes violent behaviour seems to have a quality to attract and we, or others, may be drawn into it. There are connections between certain foodstuffs and effects upon behaviour, connections too between what we witness and what we do. In addition the environment in which we work and live, can increase or reduce a feeling of hostility, and also the expression of violence and aggression. It is important that we consider the causes of violence and aggression, because if we can identify any element, pinpoint any cause that we can then alter, we can directly help reduce the amount of aggression and violence we may face.

staff support

Student support

There is a fortnightly OT Student Support Group (if sufficient numbers of students on placement to make the group viable) that meets for one hour. 

The group, which is facilitated by a Senior OT, takes place in OT Central Office, Building 7, Springfield Hospital. 

It aims to provide a supportive environment where students can share experiences and seek additional peer support and professional advice.  It gives the time and space for students to meet each other ensuring that they feel supported during their placement with us.  The Support Group is a confidential environment where students can discuss concerns and difficult experiences related to their placement. It is acknowledged, however, that if something arises during the group that has safety or ethical implications it will be discussed outside the group in consultation with the student.

Following each Support Group is a one-hour, small group seminar, which is facilitated by an OT from within the Trust.  The seminars provide students with practical information on the application of the Occupational Therapy process with a range of people with different health and social care needs.  Seminar topics may include the role of OT in forensic, learning disabilties, eating disorders or community settings. 

Attendance is compulsory.

  pdf Support seminar programme (171 KB)

Tips for students with a disability asking for reasonable adjustments

  • Use strategies already used in day- to- day life including those utilised to complete the academic part of an OT course.
  • Develop an awareness of your own needs and limitations.
  • Be open to change. If you are open to discussion with your PPE you will develop your own set of personal strategies to assist you on placement as you progress.
  • Be prepared to state clearly what you need probably more than once.
  • Be open and honest with you PPE. Dont make assumptions that others will know what you need. Talk it through in supervision.
  • Understand that placement can be busy and demanding and you will have to be able to compromise at times as all students need to do when their PPE is busy.
  • Be prepared to assert your right when needed but also be prepared to laugh when things do not always go as planned.
  • Keep in touch with your university and ask for advice or support before things reach crisis point.

Additional Support 

If during a placement you experience personal or work related difficulties, which you feel are affecting your performance, it is important that you firstly discuss them with your practice placement educator.  If, however, the difficulties cannot be resolved,  contact Jane Smith, Trust Placement Co-ordinator - 020 3513 6362

training for physical and occupational therapists

Occupational therapy placement profiles

Placements are available at the following services. 

Please contact the placement coordinator, Jane Smith on 0203 513 6362 for further information

1. Acacia Unit

2. Balham Tooting & Furzedown CMHT

3. Battersea Junction CMHT

4. Burntwood Villas

5. CAMHS and Deaf CAMHS

6. Corner House

7. Deaf Adult Mental Health Placement

8. Deaf Child and Family Service (SE outreach)

9. Early Intervention Service

10. Eating Disorders Day Unit

11. Forensic

12. Hume Ward

13. Jasmine Ward

14. Kingston-cmht-for-Older-People

15. Kingston Early Intervention Service

16. Laurel Ward

17 Lavender Ward

18. Liaison placement profile

19. Lilacs Ward Tolworth

20. Merton-Adult-Assessment-Team

21. Merton-cmht-for-Older-People

22. Merton-Sutton-Early-Intervention-Service

23 Merton-Sutton Early Intervention Service

24. Morden Recovery Support Team

25. North Kingston cmht

26. Phoenix Ward

27. Putney Roehampton-cmht

28. Recovery College

29. Richmond-cmht-and-Recovery-Service

30. Seacole Ward

31. South-Kingston-cmht

32. Sutton cmht Older People

33. Twickenham cmht Older People

34. Wandsworth cmht Older People

35. Ward 1

36  Ward 2

37. Wisteria Placement Profile









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