The prosthetics and orthotics program at USC provides an integrated curriculum that introduces concepts and skills required clinically along with engaging in the more technical aspects of the field to develop awareness of the complexities of practice; both as a service to consumers and as a supplier of assistive devices.
In this program, practice education experiences, which include simulated clinical experiences in courses, are distributed throughout all three years culminating with the 2 long-block placements (totalling 16 weeks) occurring in Semester 2 of the third year. These experiences will provide you with an understanding of the broad range of settings, conditions, and clientele that you may see as a new clinician upon graduation and provides an early introduction into the roles and responsibilities of an orthotist/prosthetist.
There are three specific placement courses with varying fieldwork requirements starting in the 2nd semester of the 2nd year in OCC232 and continuing with HLT321 and HLT325. The first two placements focus on developing your communication skills with individuals with disabilities, co-workers, professionalism, and self-management skills and will occur in a wide-range of locations, usually outside of P&O.
1. Foundation skills
Foundational placement skills are taught and practiced in OCC232, where the course uses a mixture of simulated placement experiences and volunteering in different settings so students can develop their skills in primary professional skills of communication and self-management prior to longer-block placements.
In HLT321, students will be placed in varied allied health, international, or healthcare clinical settings either in a part-time or full-time block that totals a minimum of 96 hours. At the time of placement, students will also take 4 online modules that focus on development around documentation, legal and ethical issues of practice, and funding in P&O. The emphasis of the placement is to continue to develop the core skills from OCC232, gain a broader understanding of the healthcare system and related allied health fields, and see how the concepts discussed in the online modules are used or modelled in clinical practice. Students are assessed with modified versions of the Student Practice Education Form – Revised ed (SPEF-R), a student performance assessment tool that is used nationally in occupational therapy and is relevant to the core development of P&O students. The final grade for these placements is Ungraded Pass/Fail.
In HLT325, students will go on 2 long-block (8-weeks each), full-time placements in the second semester in prosthetics and orthotics facilities nationally and internationally to integrate theoretical and practical knowledge in a clinical setting. Emphasis during these placements is on the application of knowledge and skills to understand and manage clinical issues, while gaining more hands-on experience in prosthetics and orthotics. Block placements will encourage students to practice in a variety of work areas and workplaces, which students being exposed both to prosthetics and orthotics over the two blocks. Students are required to demonstrate effective and efficient caseload management that is appropriate to their level of training and experience.
Students are assessed using the full SPEF-R. The final grade for these placements is Ungraded Pass/Fail.
Towards the end of the last long-block placement, students will start HLT324 which is a capstone course that is designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate knowledge, skills, and experience gained in coursework and placements to manage a simulated case with client-models on campus and demonstrate the competencies required prior to graduation.
All placements are sourced, administered, and supported by the PO Placement Coordinator, including the volunteer work in OCC232. However, if a student has a special request in location or type of facility/work, please let the placement coordinator know as soon as possible to work towards approval of a requested placement site.
As P&O is a small field and most facilities are geographically located near capital and urban centres, all attempts will be made to provide at least one long-block placement in the South-east Queensland area (mainly Brisbane), but there is no guarantee. Placements in OCC232 and HLT321, however, can be organised in and around the Sunshine Coast geographical area as they are not required to be in P&O and provide more opportunities for students in location.
Travel costs and other expenses incurred during placement (including travel to and from, accommodation if placed away from home) are the students’ responsibility. It is expected that students commence their planning for placements from the first year of the program and prepare to undertake full-time placements that may be away from their primary place of residence. Students are also advised that they may not be able to continue with external work or volunteer commitments during placements and must consider this in their planning.
To be eligible to commence placements, students must complete the following Mandatory Checks and upload to their Sonia Online account.
NOTE: some of the mandatory checks can take quite some time to organise and students are advised to commence working on obtaining their specific mandatories as soon as possible.
No remuneration or payment is made by the placement organisation to the students or to the University for hosting the student. Students undertaking an approved placement are covered by the University’s insurance policies.
The full Prosthetic and Orthotic student uniform consists of:
- Navy shirt with USC logo embroidered on it (purchased by student) *
- Navy, charcoal, black, or tan/khaki trousers
- Navy, charcoal, black, or brown closed-in shoes
- Student ID badge (ordered by the Clinical Coordinator at no cost to the student) **
- A plain dark coloured jacket or jumper may be added in cool weather
- Jewellery, make-up and scent is to be kept at a minimum
- Hair, whatever the style, should be professional looking and tidy. If any student is unclear about this then they should speak with the Clinical Coordinator before going out on any placement.
The full uniform is to be worn on all placements unless otherwise indicated by the placement supervisor and/or the practice educator/placement site. When the uniform is not required, the dress standards of the setting should be adhered.
* How to purchase student placement shirts:
Placement shirts are ordered through Mail and Print Services via the MyPrint Shop. Click on the "Purchase Placement Polo Shirts online" and follow the instructions.
NB: Before you order your shirt you will need to make sure of your shirt size via the following links:
** Student ID badges:
ID badges will be provided to all students, at no cost, at the commencement of the Program. These are to be worn at all times while on placement unless advised otherwise by the Practice Educator.
Replacement badges are to be organised by students, at the student’s own expense. Please contact SHSSplacements@usc.edu.au for further information regarding name badges.
For general enquiries about School of Health and Sport Sciences work integrated learning opportunities please contact:
Clinical Placements Administrative Assistant
Tel: +61 7 5456 5823