Managing expectations for student placements in a private practice context

Planning and preparing for your placement are essential.  Ensure you have a clear understanding of the expectations of a clinical placement within your profession, refer to ‘Preparing for and Managing Clinical Placements’ and consider the following content for your private practice setting:

What will you find on this page?

Understanding university expectations

Communicating your expectations

Financial Considerations

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Intellectual Property Considerations


Understanding University Expectations

It is important that you contact your university partners to establish a working relationship with the clinical placement coordinator.  In addition, it is important that you clarify:

  • Placement requirements – to establish duration, weekend and home visit work, caseload, level and type of supervision, student insurance and models for student placements
  • Supervisor requirements – to establish what experience or training is required and access any university provided supervisor support tools and resources
  • Consent requirements – to establish processes and documentation requirements for your prospective clients/patients
  • Intellectual property requirements – for any outputs that arise from a student clinical placement 

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Communicating Your Expectations

Every private practice setting is different. To ensure the placement is a positive experience for all involved, it is essential that your expectations are clear to both yourself and the student at the beginning of the placement. It is important that the student understands your practice, any boundaries, when you will be available to supervise, what you expect from them and how assessment will occur.

To facilitate this, a Placement Profile can assist. A placement profile is a document which summarises the placement experience.

If a student has this information prior to arrival, this will facilitate communication and go a long way towards ensuring expectations are clear.

Activity: Create a Placement Profile for your Placement

Please fill in the information under each heading using the information and questions as a guide.



CONTACT DETAILS: [Ensure you put here your preferred method of contact –e.g.  mobile, email]

PLACEMENT EXPERIENCE: [Detailed information about the student’s experience. What type of patients will the student be seeing? Are there any restrictions or patients the student will not be able to treat but they can observe? Are there any groups the student will be running alone or with assistance? Will the student be completing any projects? Will the student be completing any independent learning activities? Will the student spend time with someone else? Will the student be learning any general business considerations? Will the student be working with more than one Clinical Educator or more than one site? The aim of this section is to prevent misunderstandings regarding the student’s role on placement.]

PLACEMENT REQUIREMENTS: [Is the student required to bring anything with them]

PLACEMENT PRE-REQUISITES: [Is the student required to have completed something prior to attending?]

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Financial Considerations

Some of the financial considerations for private practice placements include:  fees, target revenues, costs for labour, taxes, equipment, supplies, overhead, medico-legal concerns, third party payments and marketing. 

Allowing the student an opportunity to understand or be exposed to this aspect of private practice can be a valuable learning experience.

Not all professions have defined guidelines relating to the financial implications of hosting a student placement in the private practice context.  It is therefore important that you consult relevant state/territory legislation relating to private health insurance and establish clear expectations with your  university partners, client, third party payer about:

  • the nature of fees for student led occasions of service
  • the level of practitioner input if the occasion of service qualifies for a private health insurance rebate
  • whether private health insurance companies are willing to pay for student delivered therapy services
  • the consent and documentation required

Some universities operate student led clinics.  It may be useful to contact the university placement or clinic coordinator to discuss  the processes they use for the management of private patients.

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Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Become familiar with conditions of insurance cover by universities for :
    1. Student public liability cover
    2. Professional Indemnity
    3. Workers Compensation/Personal Accident Insurance
  • Provide orientation to workplace health and safety policies and processes in the practice environment for any site the student is attending
  • Ensure competence of the student before the student conducts the service/assessment
  • Always carefully check student’s documentation or written reports prior to signing
  • Check student understanding of any directions given regarding performance of an intervention or procedure prior to performance
  • Work with the university placement coordinator to establish processes on travel and or home visits that may be required as part of the placement
  • For client interactions:
    • Provide clear student identification
    • Develop a written consent form for client/third party consent for student delivered therapies
    • Ensure the level of student involvement is clearly explained to the client/third party
    • Obtain client consent and establish documentation processes to record this

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Intellectual Property Considerations

  • Provide students with explicit guidelines about access to information and copying of resources specific to and developed for your private practice
  • Consider developing a site-specific written and signed confidentiality agreement between you, the practitioner and the student regarding the appropriate  use of confidential information and intellectual property
  • Identify university policies on intellectual property and how to protect your IP rights. The Occupational Therapy Practice Education Collaborative - Queensland has provided information on confidentiality and intellectual property for students

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Reflection Activity: Communicating Your Expectations

Communicating your expectations and creating a placement...
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