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Leadership placement - Gemma Raybould

28 July 2021

Gemma Raybould, MSc Pre–Registration Physiotherapy Student (2nd Year), Birmingham City University

As I have just finished my six-week leadership placement with Beverley Harden (National AHP Lead), I thought it would be beneficial to share my experiences with other students who may be lucky enough to have the same opportunity as me in the future. When I was allocated this placement, I was apprehensive, as it was virtual and not a typical placement area for AHP students. I didn’t know what to expect and was quite apprehensive working with individuals a lot more senior than me. I can’t believe how much my opinion has now changed.

From beginning to end – every individual I spoke to were so welcoming, approachable and were so keen to help you out. I found it useful and interesting being invited to a variety of meetings - seeing what goes on behind the scenes of the NHS and the projects that are ongoing that will benefit the future workforce including myself.

I was given two projects to undertake whilst on my placement; one on non-traditional placements for operating department practitioners, and one on providing onsite clinics to improve placement expansion for AHP students. I had little knowledge about either area so it was interesting to learn about something completely different other than physiotherapy. It highlighted the need for continued research in both areas to improve opportunities for students and the importance of other roles in NHS that I didn’t know existed. I felt like I had researched something that will help people in the same position as me.

The project provided me with a greater sense of leadership and autonomy, allowing me to reflect on my own communication, adaptability and time management skills which I feel I have improved on following the end of the placement – makes you a well-rounded individual. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with HEE – once in a lifetime opportunity. I would really push for other students to seek this practice-based learning opportunity as it really does work on your core professional skills which will help moving forward entering the workforce.

The main piece of advice – be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace the experience, take every opportunity that is thrown at you to be involved in as it will benefit you in some shape or form. It is a safe space to continue to develop your skills that you may not be so confident with so try and relax, make the most of it - Enjoy!


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