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Wellbeing on placement

Embarking on placement-based training is an exciting opportunity for personal and professional growth. However, it's essential to prioritise your wellbeing during this experience. This guide aims to equip you with strategies to navigate potential challenges and promote your wellbeing throughout your placement. We also have specific guidance for those on placement in: 

How do I prepare for my placement?

  • Research and expectations: familiarise yourself with the company, its culture, and the role you'll be undertaking. Set realistic expectations about what you will achieve and what your experience will involve to reduce potential stress.  
  • Self-care preparation: develop a self-care routine before you start your placement that includes exercise, sufficient sleep, healthy eating, and activities that relax and recharge you.  
  • Balancing other commitments: ensure that you have considered how to fulfil your other responsibilities and planned for this while you are on placement to reduce stress and uncertainty.  

How do I manage stress and challenges on placement?

  • Time management: organise your tasks, set priorities, and allocate time for breaks to prevent burnout. 
  • Coping mechanisms: identify stressors and develop coping strategies. This could include stepping away from tasks, breathing exercises, mindfulness, or seeking support from mentors.  
  • Work-life balance: establish boundaries between work and personal life to promote balance. Be disciplined in maintaining these boundaries and make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy.  

When you are struggling to establish and maintain a good working relationship with your mentor, it can present challenges to your progress on placement. As with any professional relationship, it is important to communicate clearly and respectfully to ensure that both parties are able to work effectively. Remember:

  • your mentor or supervisor is a professional in their own right with numerous responsibilities, only one of which is supporting you
  • to be mindful of their time and be clear about what you need from them to make progress on your placement
  • to be proactive and helpful when working alongside them
  • to ensure that you are giving back to the professional environment as well as learning from them. 

Seek guidance from your University support team if you need additional help in managing this relationship. 

Each individual likes to work differently and this can sometimes cause conflict in the workplace. As an emerging professional, you will need to develop the skills to address and resolve conflict in the workplace. If conflict arises, you may wish to consider the following responses.

  • Take action quickly. When conflict arises it's important to seek a resolution as soon as possible before it grows into a larger issue or involves more members of the team. Remember that simple discussions can help with miscommunications.
  • Try to maintain a positive approach. Use positive language to suggest a conversation or catch up to make it feel supportive rather than accusatory. Use this approach in your discussion as well; avoid using blaming language and focus on moving forwards.
  • Do not focus on individual characteristics or behaviours. Try to talk generally and express how you feel rather than telling them what they are doing. It is more likely that this will create a problem-solving dynamic and help you to avoid conflict in the future.

Please consult your University support team if you do not feel able to manage this alone. You do not need to handle these situations without support. 

When there is a sudden or continuous lack of communication with your placement supervisor, things can quickly start to lack clarity, which can hinder your progress of your work placement and own development. It is important that you approach such difficulty with a proactive approach to restore effective communication as quickly as possible. In addition, you should:

  • ask to schedule a meeting to address concerns politely
  • document queries and actions taken to help you streamline discussions
  • try to use alternative communication channels, like emails or phone calls, fostering clearer interaction
  • remember to treat your placement supervisor with the same respect and kindness that you would expect from them when it comes to communication. 

A proactive approach fosters improved communication. In addition to this, it shows your initiative and willingness to do well on placement.  

Please consult your University support team if you do not feel able to manage this alone. You do not need to handle these situations without support.  

Occasionally, students on placement find that working in their setting is not as they anticipated. This can be for a variety of reasons and can impact your enjoyment of experience in a workplace. The most important thing is not to worry, this is completely normal and it is essential to discuss with those around you. You may wish to:

  • be proactive in identifying which aspects of placement are not enjoyable and be clear about your aspirations for the work placement
  • consider whether it is the placement setting that is not the right fit, rather than the industry itself
  • contact your personal tutor, Placement Officer or other members of the University team to discuss your concerns
  • arrange a conversation with your placement supervisor to explore other options and responsibilities that you may be able to fulfil.

Please consult your University support team if you do not feel able to manage this alone. You do not need to handle these situations without support.  

One of the most important things in any relationship, especially in a professional setting are boundaries. Boundaries help to set the right expectations and to provide a safe environment for both working parties (student and provider). If boundaries are not established at the start, it can often lead to unclear expectations and discomfort. To address such issues or to establish boundaries at the beginning, you should:  

  • respect and adhere to professional boundaries and conduct set by your provider
  • request a meeting to discuss roles and responsibilities openly and respectfully
  • communicate your concerns diplomatically, seeking mutual understanding. 

Addressing the boundary matter constructively helps to foster a clearer working dynamic. In addition, defined expectations alleviate discomfort and promote professional atmosphere.  

Please consult your University support team if you do not feel able to manage this alone. You do not need to handle these situations without support.  

Life can be unpredictable sometimes and some unforeseen personal issues may arise, which can affect your attendance and commitment at your work placement. To manage such uncertain times, it is very important that you:  

  • immediately inform both my Placement Provider and Academic Supervisor/Placement Officer about the situation to maintain transparency and confidentiality
  • if you can, try and offer potential solutions, such as making up missed hours or adjusting schedules
  • prioritise communication by sharing relevant updates and ensured completion of pending responsibilities upon your return (if you can).

Open communication and proactive problem-solving helps to enable understanding from both parties. Flexibility and dedication to complete outstanding tasks upon your return compensated for unavoidable absences. This approach upheld professionalism, mitigating the impact of personal issues on your work placement commitment. 

Please consult your University support team if you do not feel able to manage this alone. You do not need to handle these situations without support.  


How do I build support networks on placement?

  • Mentorship: connect with your supervisor or mentor regularly. It is often helpful to discuss concerns openly, seek guidance, and utilise their expertise. 
  • University staff: your personal tutor at St Mary’s remains a source of support even if you are on placement. Maintain contact with them if this supports you. 
  • Peer support: engage with fellow students on placement. Sharing experiences can offer mutual support and different perspectives.  

What do I do if I think I might need help? 

  • Recognising signs: be aware of signs of wellbeing concerns like persistent anxiety, mood swings, or difficulty concentrating.  
  • University resources: familiarise yourself with available university resources, including our Wellbeing Services. Seek professional help if needed. 

How do I maintain my wellbeing on placement? 

  • Regular check-ins: schedule regular opportunities to consider your wellbeing. Reflect on your emotional state and take necessary steps to address any issues.  
  • Healthy habits: prioritise healthy eating, exercise, and adequate sleep. Small lifestyle changes can significantly impact wellbeing.  

Your wellbeing is as important as your professional development.

By implementing these strategies and seeking support when needed, you can navigate your work placement successfully while prioritising your well-being. Remember, you're not alone—reach out for help when necessary and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.