Introduction to Professional Placement

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Beginning a placement is often accompanied by feelings that span from enthusiasm, nervousness, determination to uncertainty (Gelman & Lloyd, 2008; Hill, Sullivan, Knox, & Schlosser, 2007).  Furthermore, students starting placement may find themselves in a variety of scenarios. For example, if this is your first placement, you may be focussed on gaining insight into a particular area of Human Services to determine if it is suitable career choice for you. Alternatively, if this is your final placement, you are likely already aware of practice issues and may be trying out a different Human Services area, or perhaps you may be using the placement to focus on developing in-depth expertise in particular topics.

Many factors can influence your placement experience and type. If your previous placement was a positive one, you would be keen to replicate it. If, however, it was less than satisfactory and you had a steep learning curve, the Course Examiner may set out particular learning tasks for you to engage in. You may also for a myriad of reasons, be repeating your placement.  Finally, it is also possible that your first-choice of placement was not allocated to you due to availability and scheduling issues. You may therefore find yourself undertaking placement in an area that you had not previously considered. Some of you may have received recognition of prior learning, and this would be your first and final placement. As such you may be bringing your past experience to a different area of Human Services and are keen to further your skills.


In short, no two placements are alike.


Regardless of what your circumstances are, it is important to note that each placement experience is unique, and the focus should be on learning. It is an opportunity for you to learn about yourself, how you learn and even how you access, produce and use information as a practitioner. It is therefore up to you to make the most of the learning opportunity! 


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Developing Human Services Practitioners: Scaffolding Student Learning in Professional Placements Copyright © 2022 by The University of Southern Queensland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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