So, you’ve considered the motivations for offering a student placement and are aware of the benefits and challenges involved in hosting a quality placement.  You’ve also considered how you are going to create the placement opportunity to facilitate student learning, through the selection of a suitable placement model.  It is now time to address the practicalities of what needs to happen before a student placement can occur.

The first time you offer a student placement, the preparation and organisation might take a significant amount of time, but this means you will have established systems that will facilitate the placement to run smoothly. Subsequent placements will need less preparation time.

In this video, Taryn Jones and Dr Andrea Hams, lecturers in Clinical Education from The School of Health Sciences and Social Work at Griffith University, discuss the process that they adopt when working with a supervisor/organisation to create new placement opportunities.


Then, in this next video, we explore how placement suitability is determined:


The interactive checklist below outlines information that a supervisor/organisation may need to consider when deciding to host a placement for the first time:

University course/unit

What you need from the university

  • The overview/outline of the placement unit, learning outcomes and requirements for assessment
  • Placement calendar/schedule (e.g., duration, part time/full time, number of placements that can be offered)
  • Roles of the site, supervisor, university, student
  • The details provided to the student (about the unit, orientation, expectations etc)

Characteristics of effective student supervisors

Orientation of the student

What the university might need from you

  • Organisation vision/mission/values
  • Health professional role/organisational structure (e.g. consultant, on staff, manager)
  • How the organisation might meet the placement unit learning objectives/ allow competency to be demonstrated/achieved
  • Contact details and professional registration
  • Key stakeholders (relationship to the placement/project and communication channels for engagement)

Facilitating learning on student placements

Placement administration

What you need from the university

  • Payment information (if relevant)
  • Placement agreement
  • Fitness for placement declarations/ or equivalent
  • Intellectual Property rules regarding placement outputs including research/publications
  • Insurance/indemnity

Workplace information

What the university might need from you

  • Mandatory requirements of your organisation (e.g. OH&S)
  • Risk matrix assessment (e.g., relationships, stakeholder management)
  • Costs associated with placement
  • Resources required for placement (e.g., if the student needs to bring their own device)
  • Insurance/indemnity
  • Contact details (e.g., finance, administrative)
  • If there are any safety considerations that need to be addressed

Workplace information

Student pre-placement checklist example

Placement location

What you need from the university

  • Student accommodation requirements (if relevant, e.g. rural and remote locations)
  • Useful information relevant to the local area of placement (if relevant) such as parking, travel to/from, etc


What the university might need from you

  • How the student will travel to the placement site (e.g., will a vehicle be required/provided, is there access to public transport?)
  • Are home visits part of the placement?  (Due to the differing contexts, settings, clientele and associated risks with home visiting, universities rely on the organisation providing the student placement to develop or reference a home visit policy specific to their setting. It is recommended that you develop or review a home-visit policy which can include:
    • mobile phone use and communication
    • student’s previous contact with the client
    • clinician’s knowledge of the client
    • experience required by the student
    • home visit risk checklist specific to the practice setting and clientele

Student preparation and support for rural and remote placement

Accommodation and financial considerations for rural and remote placements

Orientation for rural and remote placements

Client group / health service

What the university might need from you

  • Type of facility/health care provider, bed number, client demographics
  • Clinical/learning experiences that can be offered
  • Client requirements (e.g. consent)
  • Placement outline or profile document to provide information to the potential student detailing the service and placement context


Placement model

What you might need from the university

  • Student requirements (e.g. novice vs highly experienced)
  • University processes for identifying and communicating a student's specific learning or personal needs and required support during the placement

Meeting diverse learning needs

What the university might need from you

  • The primary purpose of the placement
  • Type of placement:  profession- specific or has a focus on interprofessional learning
  • The primary activity, e.g., client care or project work, service delivery or development
  • Project ideas/placement ideas, placement models that can be accommodated

Placement models and approaches to supervision

Supervision and assessment

What you need from the university

  • Supervision requirements (e.g. supervision model required – 1:1 vs collaborative supervision; direct vs indirect, frequency, location)
  • Opportunity for online/ indirect supervision (if indicated)
  • Assessment requirements
  • Documentation requirements (e.g. learning tools, contracts, templates)
  • Contact details if difficulties arise
  • Processes that exist to support student mental health and wellbeing
  • Support available for you, as the supervisor, and the student, should they need additional support

Virtual supervision and virtual placements

Creating a student friendly clinical education environment

Managing difficult situations

Managing student assessment

What the university might need from you

  • Support can be offered to the students – supervisor, supervisory model
  • Number of supervisors available and their experience with supervision
  • Preferred communication methods
  • Level of access the students will have to supervisor
  • How students are to communicate with their supervisor
  • Expected deliverables (e.g for project placements)
  • How assessment will be managed/who will complete the student assessment and will university support be required

Maintaining mental health and wellbeing

Adapted from Hannan-Jones, M. Smyth, M., Capra. S. (2014) Tip sheet for developing projects with placement sites (from Dietitians Association of Australia project in foodservice management phase II project report. Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland

Other useful checklists/considerations for creating new placement opportunities:

It is important to remember that the university seeking the placement for their students can support your preparation and planning. In this video, Simone Howells, a Griffith University Clinical Education Coordinator, suggests ways that the university can support student supervisors to ensure placement quality.




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