Role Emerging / Diverse Placement Model

Role-emerging placements take place in a setting where a particular profession is not yet established.  For example, an occupational therapy student may go on placement in a homeless service that does not employ occupational therapists.  Students are supervised by an on-site educator, who supports them on a daily basis, and an off site/long arm/ distance educator from their own profession who meets with them once a week and provides the professional support.

We encourage organisations to offer two students a placement together to enable all the benefits of peer learning and support to take place.  Please see our page on peer learning to find out more.

If you have an idea for a role-emerging placement or are interested in being a long arm educator please do contact the relevant placement tutors who would love to hear from you. There is training and support available to support you in this role. This is also a great way to stay involved in practice learning where you may not have the time to have a student with you in your own practice setting.


Skills for Care have published this useful guide to optimising occupational therapy placements in social care: Optimising occupational therapy placements across social care (


This lovely resource created by Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership provides useful info about role-emerging placements: link here


Please download this flashcard: Flashcard_Role Emerging Placements v2_V3b

This presentation is by Sarah Roberts (BSc Occupational Therapy student) from her diverse placement highlighting the role of occupational therapy at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital which has made the team consider the need for an OT in their service: listen here


This presentation by Chloe Godden and Eleanor Cheetham (MSc Pre-registration year 2) shows the work they did considering the role of occupational therapy in critical care. This has led to the team to consider funding and a business case to employ an occupational therapist: Diverse Placement Critical Care Presentation


This short video discusses the use of diverse placements and students experiences in physiotherapy

This reflective poster by Physiotherapy student Amelia Broom highlights the value of diverse placements for learning

Dr Channine Clarke’s PhD (2012) explored students’ experiences of role-emerging placements. Key findings were that REP’s can act as strong catalysts for students’ ontological development; they developed deeper insights into who they are becoming as professionals. This led to a professional identity that was of their own making which contrasted with traditional placements where they felt to adopt their educator’s identity. Students identified REP’s as one of their most significant learning experiences which helped prepare them more effectively for practice, in particular development of professional identity, clinical reasoning, autonomous working, interprofessional team working and self-confidence. These findings are being transferred to all types of placements, and to other disciplines, so that educators can become more proactive in helping students develop their understandings of practice and professional identity. This research underpinned a curriculum development whereby all occupational therapy students at the University of Brighton now do a mandatory placement in a diverse setting.

Clarke, C., de Visser, R., and Sadlo, G. (2019) ‘From trepidation to transformation: Strategies used by occupational therapy students on role-emerging placements’. International Journal of Practice-based Learning in Health and Social Care, 7 (1), 18–31 DOI: link here

Clarke C, Martin M, de-Visser R, Sadlo G (2015) Facing Uncharted Waters’: Challenges experienced by Occupational Therapy Students undertaking Role-emerging Placements. International Journal of Practice-based learning in health and social care, Vol 3(3), 30-45 . link here

Clarke C, Martin M, Sadlo G, de-visser R (2014) Developing an authentic professional identity on role-emerging placements. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(5), 222-229. link here

Clarke C (2014) Role emerging placements: a useful model for occupational therapy? A literature review. International Journal of Practice-based learning in health and social care. link here

Eckersley G, Davies S, Hardy E, Pearsall V and Banerjee A (2022) Role emerging placements demonstrate improvements in students’ knowledge and confidence on the impact of health inequalities. Physiotherapy, 14(1) read here

Other references can be found here

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy provide an example of a REP’s here

There is also a website promoting occupational therapy in diverse settings that has really useful resources and info about an annual conference. Community of Practice for Occupational Therapy in Diverse Settings (COPOTDS)

Please see flier here if you are interested in occupational therapy diverse placements.