Placement dos and don'ts!

  • Do show interest and motivation! Most placement providers have at least one horror story about a placement student who stands in the corner, never says or asks anything and generally seems disinterested. If you want to get something useful from your placement, don’t fall into this category.

  • Do be reliable - if you're moody, have poor timekeeping and attendance and don’t generally make an effort, the outcome isn’t likely to be good. Remember that placements generally fall into two categories - businesses or charitable organisations. Businesses need to offer good service to keep clients and students need to support this. Charities don’t have much money so they have to produce the best work for the least cash. Students need to be aware that whilst the provider may be happy to welcome you, they also have other priorities.

  • Don’t wait to be asked to do things (within reason).  Dealing with spillages, taking phone calls and so on are good examples of things you can pitch in to help with (once you know where things are and what procedures and protocols are in place).  You may be asked to do things which are smelly or boring - remember, nothing is beneath you!

  • Do be aware of your environment. Anticipate and ASK! Your placement may be busy and you may be shy. Before it gets busy, ask what you should do about breaks and other matters. For instance, if you are assisting a vet in a busy surgery, they may not think about your lunch time.

  • Do dress appropriately: if no Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is required, wear clothes appropriate to task.  Footwear counts too!  If PPE is provided, wear it properly - overalls and lab-coats aren’t much use if you haven’t fastened them up!  How staff appear can add to or detract from a customer’s confidence in the service provided, so a business will have a vested interest in your appearance - look professional!

  • Don't take photos/ film or post anything in social media without permission.

  • Do reflect on the experience you gain and write up notes as you go along – they may be a useful reminder when you come to write a personal statement for an application later on.  So, for example, describe the procedure you supported or saw then comment on your reflections - why was the procedure performed, did it tell you anything about the business of your potential profession, is there more you need to research and so on?

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