Preparing for a placement
Once you have decided to offer a clinical education placement and have considered the options about models of clinical education and approaches to supervision, it is time to address the practicalities of what needs to happen before a student arrives.
Each clinical education placement setting is different. However, all placements require adequate administration and organisation to ensure agreement about the scope and nature of the placement and the responsibilities and consent of all involved. Students need information and orientation to the workplace and the service provision as well as the practicalities of what will be happening and what the expectations and possibilities are during the placement.
Many of the large service providers (e.g. Queensland Health) have excellent support available for clinical educators. These organisations already have in place many administrative and system-wide processes to facilitate student placements. For example, they will already have agreements in place with the universities about the administrative and legal aspects of placements, they will have protocols for getting informed consent from patients/clients of the service, they also might have induction/orientation programs in place for students to complete.
However, when this support is not available, the practical task of setting up all of the systems and documentation to allow the placement to be effective, efficient and safe can seem overwhelming. It is not possible to provide comprehensive templates and checklists that will be applicable in all placement settings. However, the topics in this section suggests the key areas you need to consider and steps you might need to take when preparing for a clinical education placement. There is information about pre-placement preparation activities as well as individual clinical educator preparation you might like to undertake prior to a placement.
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 Clinical Education Coordinator, suggests ways that the university can support clinical educators to ensure placement quality.
Comprehensive and excellent information and resources (checklists, templates of documents etc) about preparing for placements can also be found within:
- Clinical Educator's Resource Kit (Occupational Therapy Practice Education Collaborative-Queensland)
- Workplace Educators Resource Package (James Cook University): in ‘Managing a Placement’;
- Best practice clinical learning environment (BPCLE) framework Department of Health, Victoria): in ‘Framework Resources’.