In the United Kingdom, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic placed great pressures on universities to ensure final year health care students completed their studies earlier than planned in order to join the National Health Service workforce. This study aimed to explore the anticipations and support needs of final year allied health profession students transitioning to practice during a pandemic. Final year university students across seven healthcare professions were asked to complete an online survey. Demographic data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and responses to open questions were explored using content analysis. Sixty participants completed the survey. Content analysis regarding students’ anticipations, fears, and support needs identified the following themes: professional identity and growth; opportunities for improvement; preparedness for transition from university to the workplace, the workplace environment; COVID-19; support from lecturers; daily support within the workplace and innovative methods of support. Although the transition from student to practitioner continues to be a stressful period, only a minority of participants reported COVID-19 as an explicit stressor. However, as the effects of COVID-19 continue to evolve in the United Kingdom, universities and healthcare trusts must ensure adequate supports are in place for recent graduates navigating this transition during a healthcare crisis.
- allied health professionals