Chelsea Placement

Clinical Placements: Chelsea’s story

“My first placement was in a musculoskeletal outpatient department. I treated patients who mainly had muscle and bone deformities. Treating real patients was not as easy as I imagined!”


“The most challenging task for me was the time management. As an international student, you have to use your second language to communicate, which requires longer time with each patient. I felt frustrated when I first started my placement, especially when I treated an elderly patient who had hearing problems. Her daughter, who was sitting next to her found it difficult to listen to my accent. Although she was so polite when asking for the other therapist, I still felt disappointed in my ability.”

“My clinical educator noticed that the language barrier was affecting my time management. She was so nice and chatted with me like a friend, encouraging me not to give up. She advised me to jot down some key points that I wanted to ask during every clinical assessment, which saved time trying to find the words. I tried to bring some notes with me when I treated patients, and it did speed up my work. Also, I asked for opportunities to follow other physiotherapists, to observe how they assess and treat patients. I could learn a lot about the proper phrases used to ask patients questions and give them instructions, and I also learned a lot of treatment techniques this way.”


“I have some top tips to give you for your medical placements in the future. Firstly, you have to be proactive enough to ask for opportunities. In the placements, working staff and your educator are looking for active students that ask to try things, and a positive attitude will always impress others.”

“Secondly, you have to be brave enough to face different kinds of situations. You are not working at a factory, you are working with real people. You can’t treat each patient the same way; you have to be brave enough to face new challenges. These can include dealing with emotional patients, nervous family members or even a patient’s death.”

“Before the start of my placement, I felt jealous of other students who don’t have to do placements in their course, because they seemed to have more free time. However, when I look back at what I did in my university life, I feel more competent and ready for work because of the placements. So, treasure your opportunities to work in placements, they are so important. Good Luck!”