Implementing the 2:1 student placement model in occupational therapy: Strategies for practice Academic Article uri icon


  • Health industry changes, including a growing demand for health professionals, have led to a greater need for clinical placements for occupational therapy and other health discipline students. As we develop programmes to accommodate larger numbers of student placements, there is a need to ensure that we understand the challenges and opportunities new models of supervision present and how any difficulties might be overcome. A large occupational therapy department in metropolitan Melbourne introduced a new 2:1 (two students to one supervisor) supervision model, moving away from the traditional 1:1 (one student to one supervisor) supervision model. This exploratory study examines supervisor experience in a trial of the new model.The study adopted a social constructivist theoretical perspective and an exploratory qualitative design. Data were collected in two focus groups involving eight supervisors; one focus group was held prior to implementation of the 2:1 supervision model, and one post. A thematic analysis approach was used to identify, analyse and report patterns within the data.The 2:1 placement model presented challenges particularly in relation to ensuring a quality placement and managing two students while acknowledging there were also opportunities for peer learning. Supervisors developed a number of strategies to minimise difficulties and maximise benefits, including taking an evidence-based approach, being prepared, mobilising organisational support and being positive but also pragmatic.The 2:1 student placement model is likely to be a model of choice in the future. There are challenges and opportunities associated with its use. This study identifies these as well as strategies for maximising opportunities and mitigating challenges.

publication date

  • 2016