Standardised student placement protocol

The Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria, has developed the Standardised Student Protocol to clarify responsibilities and protocols of both education providers and clinical placement providers, and also suggests resources which may assist users where appropriate. These protocols can be broadly applied to a range of settings and placement types and the intention is that these become a standard tool which will streamline administration for all parties. There may be, however, situations where amendment to these protocols is necessary. In such an instance, these should be agreed between the clinical placement provider (CPP) and education provider (EP) prior to commencement of the student placement.

Introduction

The health sector participates in the provision of clinical education to health students for the development of a sustainable health workforce. Clinical placements enable students to consolidate their practical skills through exposure to a range of experiences and interactions with patients. This aspect of education is essential for the development of students into competent practitioners.

Students are exposed to a variety of different sites and settings to ensure that they are suitably prepared and skilled to participate in the workforce upon graduation. The object of this approach is to provide a workforce that fulfils future requirements for evolving models of service delivery.

To meet appropriate safety standards and to be familiarised with the environment in which their placement will occur students are required to undertake orientation and induction at each new site where topics and requirements are often replicated. Adoption of a standardised approach across Victoria aims to improve the efficiency of this induction process for education providers, placement providers and students. Where there are existing guidelines for specific issues developed using specialist expertise, these are recommended to guide student induction requirements.

The Standard Student Induction Protocol (SSIP) is not mandated for Public Health Services. Agreement to use the SSIP is included as a clause in the standardised Student Placement Agreement. Where the Student Placement Agreement forms the basis of a legal agreement with your partner organisation there may be an obligation to use the SSIP, and any changes to that standard protocol should be recorded in the Student Placement Agreement.

The following information outlines the requirements for Federation University as the Education provider for student clinical placements.

The complete Standardised Student Induction Protocol is available for downloading from the Victorian  Health workforce website (DOCX, 87kb).

Pre-placement requirements

Student interaction on placement – Education provider responsibilities

Education providers should ensure students are familiar with the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights before clinical placement commences.

National Police Records Check

Best practice requires that all students undergo a police check prior to commencing placement.

The following conditions apply to these police checks:

  • All students obtain a national police records check annually. These are considered valid for student placements for 12 months from the date of issue.
  • In addition to a national police records check, students who have resided overseas for more than 12 months in the past 10 years should have a police check from their country of residence (including an English translation) and/or complete a statutory declaration stating that they have never, in another country, been convicted of any crime.
  • Education providers and clinical placement providers must have an agreed protocol in place to resolve the issue of any disclosable outcomes that may arise during the police check process, with due consideration to student confidentiality.

Police check - Education provider responsibilities

  • Education providers are to sight and record each student’s police record check, including the date of issue.
  • Education providers are to enquire whether students have resided overseas for more than 12 months in the past 10 years. If the student answers ‘yes’ then education providers are to request a police check from the country of residence and/or statutory declaration that they have never been convicted of any crime.
  • Written confirmation that the police check has been completed is to be provided to the clinical placement providers 4-6 weeks prior to placement.
  • The education provider should alert the clinical placement provider of any students with a disclosable outcome. The disclosable outcome will be discussed with the clinical placement provider by the student and/or the education provider (with student consent).
  • The education provider must require its students to notify it if there are any changes to the status of the police check, such as being investigated for, charged with, or found guilty of, a criminal offence. The education provider will then immediately notify the clinical placement provider of these changes in writing.

Resources

For more information about applying for Police Checks at Federation University Australia please click here.

Statutory declarations for Commonwealth funded aged care services

A statutory declaration is required, in addition to a national police records check, for students completing a placement in an aged care setting when students have:

  • Applied for a national police records check, but not yet received it.
  • Been a citizen or permanent resident of a country other than Australia after the age of 16.

Statutory Declarations - Education provider responsibilities

  • Education providers will sight each student’s statutory declaration, where necessary, and notify clinical placement providers if any students have made adverse statements. These will be raised for discussion with clinical placement providers by the student and/or the education provider.
  • Sighting of the statutory declaration for each student should be completed and confirmed with clinical placement providers 4-6 weeks prior to placement.
  • Education providers should ensure that students take their statutory declaration with them on the first day of placement.
  • The education providers must require its students to notify it if there are any changes to the content of the statutory declaration, such as being investigated for, charged with, or found guilty of, a criminal offence.

Working with Children Check

The Working with Children Check (WWCC) is mandated under the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) to assess a person’s suitability to work with children, aiming to protect children from sexual and physical harm.

Working with Children Checks - Education Provider responsibilities

Education Providers are to sight each student’s WWCC prior to sending students on placement where a WWCC is required, and notify students of their obligation to list the education providers as an organisation that engages the student in child-related work.

  • Should the education providers be notified of a negative notice, this will be communicated to the clinical placement providers immediately.
  • Sighting of the WWCC for each student will be recorded (as per Department of Justice and Regulation instructions for “how to manage the WWC check”), along with the expiry date, card number, and card type for the purposes of sharing with Clinical Placement Providers 4-6 weeks prior to commencement of placement.

Interstate students do not need a Victorian WWCC if they are working with children in Victoria for a period of up to 30 days and hold a valid WWCC in another jurisdiction.

Resources

There are specific requirements for the Working with Children Check in Victoria. There have been amendments to the legislation and these have been active since October 2014.

There are national guidelines for people who work with children in another jurisdiction to the one in which they have undergone a WWCC.

Immunisation for students

Transmission of vaccine preventable disease in healthcare settings has the potential to cause serious illness and avoidable death in patients, staff, students, and the community. From an employer’s perspective there are occupational health and safety (OH&S) obligations to ensure that staff are protected from vaccine preventable disease.

Immunisation for health care workers is not mandated by the department in Victoria. Unlike other state and territory health services, Victorian health services operate under a model of devolved governance which allows the health services to make decisions appropriate to local needs.

Student immunisations are to align with the department’s Immunisation for health care workers guidelines.

All students are to be immunised according to these guidelines. If there are particular circumstances that cause a clinical placement providers to require any additional immunisations, this is required to be communicated to the Education Provider early in the clinical placement planning process, allowing time for students to receive the immunisations.

Immunisations - Education provider responsibilities

Education providers will notify students of the requirements as per the immunisation for health care worker guidelines at the beginning of their course, and in enough time to complete immunisation requirements prior to undertaking clinical placements.

  • The education providers will inform students of the benefits and risks of immunisation.
  • Students who are not immunised (refusal, failure to seroconvert, sensitivity or because of medical contra-indication) must be discussed with the Clinical Placement Providers and will be subject to clinical placement providers’ organisational policies, which may affect the clinical placement experience.
  • Education providers must obtain evidence of student immunisation status and provide this information to clinical placement providers 4-6 weeks prior to placement.
  • Further information about each vaccine and recommended requirements for immunity can be found in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

National student registration

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009 states that students enrolled in an approved program of study, or who are undertaking clinical training, must be registered as a student with their respective National Board.

It is a requirement that all students of a registered health profession are registered as students with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA) prior to commencing clinical placement. This includes Nursing, Midwifery and Psychology students at Federation University.

National student registration - Education provider responsibilities

Educations providers are responsible for registering all students with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority (AHPRA) under legislation. Education providers should notify students that registration has been completed.

  • The education providers is required to notify AHPRA if it reasonably believes any students have an impairment that may put the public at risk during a clinical placement.
  • The National Board will notify the education providers where any decisions about a student’s registration are made, and the education providers must notify any clinical placement providers where the student is placed as soon as possible.
  • The education providers will confirm with the clinical placement providers that all students of a registered health profession attending placement are registered appropriately 4 – 6 weeks prior to placement.

Learning objectives

The purpose of articulating learning objectives prior to each placement is to ensure that students, clinical placement providers and education providers agree on the purpose of that particular placement. This enables the clinical placement providers to manage the clinical placement so that students’ learning objectives can be met. Where the clinical placement providers have the responsibility of assessing student performance, these learning objectives form the basis of this assessment.

Learning objectives for each placement are to be communicated between education providers, clinical placement providers and students prior to the placement. Documentation associated with learning objectives should also clearly articulate the scope of practice for the student.

Learning objectives - Education provider responsibilities

Learning objectives are to be provided to the clinical placement providers and the student prior to the commencement of clinical placement.

  • These should be broadly discussed with clinical placement providers at the time of placement planning, and the details should be uploaded in viCPlace (document library) 4-6 weeks prior to placement commencing.
  • Education providers will provide associated information and documentation relevant to assessing student performance where applicable, including any assessment tools that will be used.

Best Practice Clinical Learning Environment Framework (BPCLE)

The BPCLE is a best practice framework that identifies six key elements which underpin high quality clinical learning environments. In the context of the Standardised Student Induction Protocol BPCLE refers to the companion resources which have been designed to support the implementation of the BPCLE Framework.

The BPCLE Framework provides a guide for health services, in partnership with education providers, to coordinate and deliver high-quality clinical placements for health learners. Templates developed as part of the BPCLE Framework Resource Kit can be used in conjunction with these guidelines to develop an orientation program.

The Best Practice Clinical Learning Environment (BPCLE) Framework Resources.

Orientation to location

Students may complete a placement away from home which might require an overnight stay or be in a remote location. Information about local accommodation, facilities, activities and special considerations will assist students to prepare for their placement in a timely and thorough manner.

Information about clinical placement locations are provided to students prior to clinical placement via the InPace student Placement system.

Students are encouraged to also apply for assistance with the costs associated with travel and accommodation through the Federation University KickStart program offered by the Scholarships, Bursaries, Grants Office.

Orientation to location – Education provider responsibilities

Education providers are to ensure that students are provided with location specific information at an appropriate time prior to the commencement of clinical placement at least 2 weeks prior to placement commencing.

On-placement orientation

On-placement orientation ensures that students are appropriately equipped to engage in learning activities at a particular placement site. Orientation should address safety issues, the structure and function of the organisation, quality issues, student support, and other organisational and professional requirements.

The BPCLE Framework provides a guide for health services, in partnership with education providers, to coordinate and deliver high-quality clinical placements for health learners. Templates developed as part of the BPCLE Framework Resource Kit can be used in conjunction with these guidelines to develop an orientation program. Orientation programs across sectors, settings and sites share many of the same components and the templates are suitable for users in all sectors. The templates are able to be adapted to reflect organisational characteristics as required. The orientation handbook and program templates contain a list of headings that require organisation-specific information to be inserted by the user, some of which will be the same as that used for inducting staff. As such, these guidelines do not include recommendations around the content of this section, but does include a checklist of recommended items to be included. This list will be appropriate for the majority of sites, but in some instances may need to be adapted locally.

Each item included in the placement orientation is listed below and additional relevant BPCLE resources can be found for each item. These resources provide templates to facilitate the generation of documents associated with the student induction process.

Placement orientation requirement

  • Student orientation: pre-placement requirements
  • On-placement student orientation at commencement
  • Student identification (including photo ID)
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S)
  • Introduction to patient
  • Infection control
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Social media policy
  • Emergency training
  • Code of conduct
  • Emergency contact details