Placement in a pandemic – 1 – Andraya OT student QMU

Introduction – Callum (Founder & Occupational Therapy Lead)
Here at bOunceT, we have two new students on placement from Queen Margaret University (QMU). Cadhla & Andraya are both in their final year of BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy and have their final placement with us for 8 weeks. To help meet their learning outcomes, and squeeze in some extra CPD, both students are going to blog about their experience of being on placement during a global pandemic. This will earn them the title (and badge!) of being a bOunceT buddy.
To find out more about what a bOunceT buddy is, click here:

Now, here is Andraya’s first blog about her first few weeks on placement at bOunceT …

I hadn’t previously heard of this service although I could genuinely say now that it can be described as a ‘hidden gem’

Hello everyone. My name is Andraya and I am a fourth year Occupational Therapy student at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. I am currently on my final year, eight week placement at bOunceT and I will be using this platform to share the unique experience of my time here – whilst also (fingers crossed) achieving my expected learning outcomes.

Carrying out a placement during a global pandemic is not something that you learn about in class. With social distancing measures in place throughout the country and new government guidelines being announced each day to protect us from this harmful virus, I understood that the chances of my placement going ahead were slim.

Finally, upon receiving the long awaited email about the location of my final placement, I excitedly googled bOunceT to get a good understanding of what I was getting myself into for the upcoming eight weeks.
I hadn’t previously heard of this service although I could genuinely say now that it can be described as a ‘hidden gem’.

I was full of excitement travelling to placement on my first day with my fellow classmate, Cadhla, despite the many disruptions to the train line between Edinburgh and Stirling – which doubled our travel time. Our first day was spent in the main office reading and gaining an understanding of what to expect throughout the placement, and getting a clearer idea of what this service offers to individuals with disabilities and their family/carers.

In addition, we visited bOunceT’s inclusive therapeutic play space for the first time – although there were no sessions running on the first day. It was clear to me this activity/sensory/play room was going to be a fun place to work! I could clearly see why this space was popular among the children and adults who access bOunceT.

Already, during my first two weeks I have spent my time observing sessions with the occupational therapists, interacting with families, and engaging in meaningful play with some young people. This has allowed me to become more confident at being ‘fun and silly’ – especially when building a therapeutic relationship with these individuals – as I feel my previous placements have been in quite serious settings.

Me on the huge trampoline with C during a 45 minute activity session

Throughout my years studying Occupational Therapy, I have been lucky enough to get a wide variety of placements that have offered me different learning experiences, each one unique to the next.  My first two placements gave me the opportunity to work within the NHS, giving me a clear insight into  role of the OT in the public healthcare system. I found it very eye opening to see the reality of NHS waiting lists and the strict protocol followed by each healthcare professional. During my third-year placement, I got to experience what it is like to work in a workplace that does not typically employ an occupational therapist (this was my role-emerging placement). This experience made me more aware that Occupational Therapy exists outside the walls of the NHS and how there was a real need for occupational therapy in this service, and many similar services across the third sector/ voluntary sector.

Although I am still at the beginning of my journey at bOunceT, I have already seen first-hand how this service puts the core values and skills of occupational therapy at the heart of its work. I am beginning to developing an understanding of what the role of occupational therapy is – or at least can be – within ‘rebound therapy’

Defining rebound therapy, by Occupational Therapist (

I have had the opportunity to observe and ‘muck in’ to some inclusive & meaningful play (rebound therapy) sessions which have been as fun for me as it has for the children and young people! The occupational therapy staff have been very open with us about their paperwork, the service pathway & the OT process – so I feel that I am starting to see how participation in these physical activity sessions can link to participation in meaningful occupations for these service users.

I have also gotten to hear feedback from parents, one describing bOunceT as a “lifeline” for her and her family during lockdown.

So far, I believe this unique placement has given me a rare insight into ‘behind the scenes’ of running a (third-sector) service. Callum & Francesca have been extremely inclusive with information regarding the budgeting and expenses of the service, as well as the application process for grants and other awards. This is something I have never really been aware of during my previous placements.  During my second week of placement, I had the opportunity to be a part of an online Board meeting with the senior management who discussed these matters, and more, in great detail. I felt this was an amazing opportunity to be a part of and gaining a better knowledge about the business side of the service has provided me with a better appreciation for the need for funding for services like bOunceT.

Throughout the rest of my placement, I plan on documenting my experiences by posting more blog posts like this one.
I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Chat again soon,

Andraya 🙂

Queen Margaret University
bOunceT Innovative Occupational Therapy CIC
Social Enterprise #SocEnt
bOunceT buddies
Occupational Therapy
Royal College of Occupational Therapists

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