Practicum is a way in which students can access different facets of the community. This experience can help lead students on career choice paths and give them a chance to utilize their skills in the 'real world'. A practicum can be fun and offer many gifts when properly coordinated and facilitated by students, sites and University of Calgary personnel.
The rewards of practicum placements for students can be numerous. Sometimes they may go unnoticed and not realized until days, months or even years later. Rewards may be professional, personal or both. Personal rewards include skill development, greater awareness of likes and dislikes and more. The most important reward may be life experience and enjoyment. Helping another person, participating in the community and sharing with others will intensify the students' life experience. Rewards are reciprocal; your energy rewards others. A practicum is a mutually beneficial experience. As much as you learn from the students they learn from you as well.
Practicum courses allow students to gain valuable experience in community rehabilitation under the supervision of people currently working in the field. This allows students the opportunities to learn about current issues and approaches and to apply the theory learned in their courses to rehabilitation practice. Practicum students are an integral part of the future of the community rehabilitation field. The students you are working with may someday be co-workers, supervisors, executive directors or sit on influential boards. The experience they gain from your agency is a reflection of you.
Practicum students will be future Community Rehabilitation Practitioners. Expectations and training opportunities should be consistent with those you apply to colleagues and employees.
There are three forms that are filled out by an agency when requesting a practicum student.
The CRDS program prides themselves on a productive working partnership with community organizations. We are always receptive and happy to discuss new and ongoing practicum ideas. Please contact us at anytime.
Formal requests for practicum opportunities may be initiated by an agency with a particular project in mind, or by a student who has an interest in gaining experience in a particular area of rehabilitation. All requests are made through the Practicum Coordinator who will then match students with practicum sites. It is your responsibility to complete a job description form and submit it to the practicum coordinator in order to fulfill your request. (See Appendix B)
We welcome discussion regarding practicum ideas at any point. However in order to facilitate effective practicum matches, deadlines for submission of completed Practicum Request Forms and Practicum Job Descriptions are as follows:
Fall semester (September-December) deadline is July 31
Winter semester (January-April) deadline is October 31
Spring semester (May-June) deadline is March 31
Requests for practicum students and practicum course information are available on the Internet at the University of Calgary Students Union Volunteer Services site www.su.ucalgary.ca
The Practicum Coordinator or Course Instructor will meet formally with the student and site-facilitator on three occasions
Students are covered during their practicum hours under two sources
If students are hurt or injured, the process of obtaining help or assistance would be to immediately attend to any medical needs and then phone and file an accident report with
Security Dispatch at 220 5333
If a student is transporting a client in his/her vehicle and the client is hurt in an accident the University of Calgary does not provide coverage in this instance. Coverage would follow the regular channels through the studentıs vehicle insurance. It is not acceptable for practicum students to transport clients in their vehicles, nor to drive agency vehicles without arranging for coverage and liability.
The following are some ways in which to make the practicum experience a great one for you and your practicum student. For some students this may be their first time working in the rehabilitation field so it is important to...
As a site facilitator it is also your role to provide the student with a supervisor be it yourself or someone who may be working directly with or near the student. The field of community rehabilitation can be at times stressful, demanding and frustrating both physically and emotionally. Discussing specific concerns, issues, problems and successes can help teach the students to deal with and alleviate those stresses. Supervision is essential for studentsı morale, for maintaining objectivity and for the development of competent community rehabilitation practitioners.
Perhaps the most essential characteristic of good supervision is feedback on studentıs performance. Providing feedback on your practicum studentıs successes and growth areas is an integral part of their development and learning. Feedback should come from the studentıs site supervisor. The feedback should be ongoing and frequent from the beginning of the practicum until the end. In order to learn from mistakes students must be informed of them so they can be given the opportunity to correct them. Feedback should be clear, immediate, direct and stated in understandable language. Feedback should be based on strengths and limitations as well as positive and negative comments.
Agency personnel do not assign grades. They are assigned by Course Instructors. However, student self-assessment and feedback from agency personnel inform grade determination. We use this feedback to establish student grades based on pre-established criteria (See Appendix G)
The site facilitator is the staff member within the host agency who will be most closely involved with the student. This individual will be asked to:
Practicum experiences also benefit the host agency. Students offer new ideas, contribute to an evolving community and may provide additional support in tough economic times. As well, todayıs students make up tomorrowıs workforce. Agencies can contribute to high quality service delivery by mentoring students. Practicum opportunities allow agencies to train and assess potential future employees - many of our students have been recruited and hired by their host agencies.
When more than one student has requested the same position with your practicum setting, interviews must be conducted. These will be informal interviews conducted by the site facilitator. The purpose of the interview is to select the best student to fill the job you have submitted to the practicum coordinator. Many students may take practica in areas in which they have little to no exposure, therefore picking a practicum student should not be based on their previous experience. Criteria should be based on transferable skills, match of student to site and demonstrated enthusiasm.