We're making a number of exciting changes this year related to student placements.
We've launched a new Student Placements website, which contains much more detailed information about all aspects of the placement experience.
Migration of compliance checks to Sonia
We've moved all pre-placement compliance checks to Sonia, the Faculty's comprehensive placement administration tool. This will make it easier for you to submit documents and track your compliance status.
Migration of compatible existing compliance records to Sonia has been completed and you can now check and update your compliance information in the new system:
Are some of your compliance records missing?
Unfortunately, immunisation information for some students could not be migrated. This was usually where a student's most recent immunisation declaration did not confirm immunity to all required diseases.
If any of your compliance checks show in Sonia as 'Not Complete', 'Expired' or 'Review Date Passed', you will need to submit your up-to-date documentation for processing before undertaking your next placement.
Australian police checks
Students are now able to complete their Australian police check application online and, in more than 90% of cases, receive a result in less than 10 minutes. To facilitate this, we've moved the police check application form to Sonia and integrated with the latest web services technology made available by the National Police Checking Service.
From July 1 2018, applicants for a nationally coordinated criminal history check (commonly known as a police check) have been required to complete more stringent identity verification than before. This is due to changes made by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and applies to all organisations that provide police checks.
To reduce the impact of these changes, the University of Melbourne has established an interface between Sonia and the Australian Government's Document Verification Service. This enables students to verify most government-issued identity documents instantly online.
From now on, to apply for a police check through the University you need to:
- Have a valid University of Melbourne student card
- Submit three identity documents for verification through Sonia
- Present one photo ID document in person to a University staff member.
Infection and immunisation
Infection and immunisation requirements for students have changed. These changes are intended to make it easier for you to demonstrate immunity and start your placement as soon as possible.
Students are no longer required to have their doctor complete the Infection and Immunisation Declaration. Instead, you can submit your original vaccination records or serology results.
In addition to reducing the number of visits to your general practitioner, this change also means we'll be able to record more detailed information about your immune status and, in many cases, never need you to provide the evidence again to the University.
Blood-borne virus testing
Students are now only required to be tested for blood-borne virus infection prior to course commencement (instead of annually). Remember, you still have a professional responsibility to be aware of your infection status and take all reasonable steps to prevent the transmission of infection to others.
Note: Dental and oral health students are still required to receive annual testing for blood-borne virus infection due to the increased risk of exposure in these disciplines.
We know it was confusing and frustrating to have to provide hepatitis B vaccination records and serology indicating immunity. From now on, students only need to provide the serology (but it's still important that a full course of vaccination has been received to ensure lasting immunity).
From 2019, all students will be required to receive an annual influenza vaccination.
More than 3000 people die each year as a result of influenza, so as health practitioners it's important that we do everything we can to prevent the spread of infection.
Students are no longer required to provide evidence of immunity to poliomyelitis, unless specifically requested by an assigned placement provider.
In Australia, poliomyelitis is an extremely rare disease. The incidence of poliomyelitis has been dramatically reduced worldwide through an intensified Global Polio Eradication Initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO). The last case of wild poliomyelitis in Australia was in 1977, due to an importation from Turkey, but two vaccine-associated cases were notified in 1986 and 1995. Currently, inactivated polio vaccine is part of the Australian national immunisation schedule as part of the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine.
Tuberculosis screening is still required annually for all students, however the Mantoux tuberculin skin test (TST) is no longer an accepted screening method for latent TB. Students must now be screened by QuantiFERON-Gold in-tube test (QFN-GIT).
QFN-GIT has many advantages over Mantoux and is gradually becoming the preferred test in most tertiary centres and general practices for detection of latent TB infection (LTBI).
Mantoux is known to have high rates of false positives. The two main factors that lead to a false positive TST include previous BCG vaccination and exposure to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Additionally, The TST response in an individual is highly variable. Two tests done at the same sitting by the same operator on different arms may show 15% discordance while the same tuberculin reaction in an individual measured by two different experienced operators may also show 15% discordance in the readings.
QFN-GIT, one of the Interferon (IFN)-gamma release assays (IGRAs), rely on whole blood ex-vivo T cell-based assays for the detection of LTBI. The advantages include better specificity in the setting of previous BCG vaccination and NTM exposure, a simple, single blood test, not requiring return visit with automated interpretation of QFN-GIT eliminating problems with interuser reliability. A single cut-off value (TB antigen minus nil control ≥ 0.35 IU/mL) is used to define a positive result.
Each student must still be examined by a doctor annually to ensure no symptoms of active tuberculosis are present.