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Ending the placement positively

It can be difficult to leave the placement if you are enjoying it and have created good relationships with other staff and clients. However, it is important to view the practicum as a single piece of learning that has been completed, where everything is passed on when you leave. These strategies should help you do that.

Strategies to handle ending the placement positively

  • Think about ending the placement when you actually start the placement - plan for a celebration at the end so that it is final and something to look forward to.

  • Make sure you hand over your work so you are not holding onto clients or work after the placement ends.

  • Take personal property home.

  • Remove personal items (software, emails, etc.) from your PC.

  • Make sure you say everything that needs to be said, and leave on good terms.

  • Make sure you attend a close-of-practicum discussion session with your supervisor and coordinator - debrief.

  • Compile a portfolio of your work - update your CV to reflect the practicum experience.

Even though you have done this, you may feel that you would like to go back to the workplace in some capacity after your placement ends. You let your feelings be known to your fellow workers and say you would like to return. However, circumstances change and you may never go back, or if you do, you find that you are in a completely different situation - you are no longer a student, but either a volunteer or fully-fledged employee. This can change what was an enjoyable experience into something that you no longer enjoy.

Relationships change due to your different status and the accompanying need to restructure the terms of your presence in the workplace. Remember, some staff and clients are happy to ‘put up’ with you when you are a student on placement, but if they consider you to be just another staff member, their expectations can change dramatically. The following strategies may help you to renavigate the workplace as a non-practicum staff member.

Strategies to help you go back successfully

  • Renegotiate your presence in the workplace.
  • Draw up a work contract with terms as explicit as those for your practicum contract.
  • Renegotiate your roles and responsibilities, e.g. no supervisor.
  • Renegotiate insurance/Workcover.
  • Negotiate remuneration (if any).
  • Re-create your relationships with other staff and clients to account for your different status.
  • If you feel it is not working out, be honest about this and talk to the staff and clients.
  • Be prepared to leave if the situation is creating difficulties for others and/or yourself.
  • If you do leave, do so on good terms. Explain the reasons why you feel it is best to leave.
  • Again, update your CV to reflect the experience.
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