Allied health student placements recognised by national NHS awards

25th September 2023

Sheffield Hallam University’s Department for Allied Health Professions (AHP) has been shortlisted by the prestigious Chief Allied Health Professions Officer (CAHPO) Awards 2023 for the development of its sustainable placements offer.

The national Creative Provision of Placements award recognises excellence and innovation in creating practice-based learning opportunities for allied health students. 

Sheffield Hallam has been shortlisted for implementing a transformative and collaborative practice-based learning strategy across four pillars – clinical, research, education and leadership as well as innovation in simulated placements. This was in response to national agendas to meet the needs of the future NHS workforce. 

Key aspects of the department’s strategy include: 

  • Introducing simulated placements across all allied health programmes within the university’s simulation facilities including a new state-of-the-art simulated ward, helping to boost students' skills and confidence. 
  • Implementing placements in research, education and leadership into the curriculum, a first for operating department practice (ODP) and diagnostic radiography students nationally. Over 160 students have benefited so far. 
  • Co-creating resources and models for practice-based learning with students, staff and multiple external partners 
  • Sharing innovations via conferences and webinars, with excellent feedback. Student-led projects are also being presented nationally. 

This collaborative approach has created 899 extra placement weeks since 2021 and is helping to ensure Sheffield Hallam students gain the skills needed for future healthcare roles. 

Feedback from external partners has been overwhelmingly positive.  

David Marsden, National Senior AHP Workforce Improvement Lead at NHS England, said:

“Sheffield Hallam’s innovative practice-based learning work has continued to develop and change the face of placements. Particularly impactful is the focus on ensuring curricula are adapted to include the four pillars of practice as well as simulated placements across multiple AHP professions. Placements need to be sustainable and, in my opinion, this is one of the most important steps towards that goal. Although there is excellent work being developed across all higher education institutions, I’m not aware of any other education provider who has achieved all these elements to date.” 

Helen Batty, AHP Placement and Simulation Lead at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

"Securing a place on the shortlist for this award is a huge achievement for the Allied Health Department and a real testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, students and our practice partners. The collaboration involved and the enthusiasm of our practice partners to help us develop innovative learning experiences for our students, has been instrumental in driving transformative change.” 

Sheffield Hallam University is one of the largest providers of allied health professions education in the country, with eight AHPs and over 1000 students enrolled on its programmes each year. 

The university offers allied health courses in diagnostic radiography and ultrasound; physiotherapy; occupational therapy and vocational rehabilitation; operating department practice; paramedic practice; radiotherapy and oncology; dietetics and art psychotherapy. 

The winners will be announced at the CAPHO Awards ceremony on Thursday 12 October 2023. 

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