During placement

It’s important that both you and your student know each other’s expectations early on. Listed below are some key pointers to note during the placement.

  1. Clinical setting and practice

    First year students: During the first year, students are introduced to the clinical setting through up to 200 hours of observational placement activities. These include at least 5 days of direct observation of clinical practice. Other placement activities include hospital-based group supervision, specialist clinical meetings, and weekly case conference at the University.

    Second year students: During the second year (for Master students) and subsequent years (for Master/PhD students), students participate in a number of placements, totaling a minimum of 720 hours (96 days) across 48 weeks, covering a range of contexts including acute neurology, paediatrics, psychiatry, psychogeriatrics, neurosurgery, and rehabilitation. They also participate in weekly case conference at the University for up to 48 hours per year. At this level, students begin, under close supervision, the practice of “real-life” clinical neuropsychology, which includes all aspects of neuropsychological evaluation and management.

  2. Attendance of placements

    First year students: Attendance at hospital-based group supervision and clinical meetings is organised by the Placement Coordinator at the beginning of each calendar year, in consultation with clinical staff at participating sites.

    Second year students: It is the student’s responsibility to contact supervisors to organise specific placement details. This should ideally occur approximately two weeks prior to commencement of the placement. At that time, supervisors may instruct students regarding preparation for placement. For example, providing lists of tests with which the student is expected to be familiar and/or reference lists relevant to placement.

  3. Learning goals

    Students and supervisors at each placement may focus on a subset of the above learning goals and competencies dependent upon the student’s individual strengths and weaknesses and the nature of the clinical setting. For example, a student may request specific supervision with respect to test interpretation. Alternatively, supervisors may identify a unique goal that is in keeping with the specialist role of the clinical centre.

    Second year students: goals should be clearly delineated and documented at commencement of placement and reviewed/modified at mid-placement evaluation.

  4. Record keeping

    Students are required to maintain detailed records of all placement experiences via weekly Logbook forms completed electronically through the Sonia system. The Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) requires that supervisors regularly endorse, by signed notation, that the students’ placement records are a true reflection of the placement activities undertaken. In particular, Logbook entries are required to be checked and endorsed by supervisors every 30 hours of placement or fortnightly, whichever occurs first.

    In particular, Logbook entries and Case Records are required to be checked and endorsed by the supervisor every 30 hours of placement or fortnightly, whichever occurs first

  5. Standard requirements

    • Supervisors can expect students attending placement to behave in a professional, ethical, and responsible manner (e.g., acceptable dress, punctuality, confidentiality, and courtesy).
    • It is up to the student and his/her respective supervisor to negotiate specific placement days, timetables, and other practical details associated with the placement.
  6. Clinical test requirements

    First year students will become familiar with basic psychological and neuropsychological test procedures over the course of the year through test workshops, including the WAIS-IV, WMS-IV, WISC-IV, RCFT, RAVLT, verbal fluency measures, TMT, and so forth.

    Second year students are expected to be familiar with the basic psychological and neuropsychological test procedures including the WTAR, TOPF, WAIS-IV, WISC-IV, WMS-IV, RCFT, RAVLT, verbal fluency measures, TMT, and so forth.

    Supervisors should inform students if it would be helpful to become familiar with other test procedures commonly used in their clinical centre. Unless other arrangements have been made, it is expected that placement agencies will provide test equipment and test forms for student use.

  7. Registration and checks

    Students are required to maintain provisional registration with AHPRA, obtain annual police checks, maintain a current Working with Children Check, and comply with the university’s comprehensive immunisation requirements.

    Students are also expected to be familiar with the Psychology Board of Australia endorsed Australian Psychological Society (APS) Code of Ethics and relevant supplements, including the APS Guidelines for psychological assessment and the use of psychological tests.

  8. Suspension of placement

    One of the aims of placement is to provide the student, as well as the supervisor, with continuity of experience within the clinical setting. Sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, this continuity may be disrupted leading to uncertainty. The consequences of this may impact on the quality of service provided to the patient, the resources required of the supervisor, and the student’s ability to fulfill placement requirements in a timely manner. To this end, in the event of health-related problems of the supervisor or student, if it becomes apparent that either

    - the supervisor will be absent (and cannot appoint a replacement) for more than two weeks or

    - the student will be unable to attend placement for more than two weeks  

    the placement will be suspended and an alternative sought as available.

Evaluation procedure for second years

  • Initial contract

    Initial contract is developed at the commencement of each placement. This document will outline the specific goals of the placement. This contract allows the student to identify competency areas that they feel they are lacking in experience or areas that they wish to improve. The supervisor may also wish to outline goals specific to the placement. In other words, this is a document to be used to state the expectations and needs of the supervisors and student.

  • Mid-placement reviews

    Mid-placement reviews should be carried out after approximately six to seven weeks. Students and supervisors are expected to meet and complete the appropriate form. Where few or no concerns are raised, this may remain an informal process and the original evaluation should be forwarded by the student to the Placement Coordinator. The supervisor is also requested to retain a copy of this review should it be required at a later date. If a supervisor has concerns with respect to an individual student’s progress, these concerns should be explicitly communicated to the Placement Coordinator or Course Convenor at this time.

  • Logbook and Case Record

    Students are required to submit documentation of all time spent in placement activities using a weekly Logbook form. They must also complete a Case Record form for each patient with whom they have had supervised clinical contact. Over the course of their entire placement experience students are expected to log a set of cases that reflect diverse placement experience.

    The cases should be logged with details regarding referral question, report summary, patient diagnosis, and student’s and supervisor’s signatures. A longstanding guideline suggests about 50 cases over the entire course of the degree, but we recognise that caseloads vary across services and this target is a guideline only. Placement hours now represent the required standard. Students’ Logbook and Case Record forms should be checked and endorsed by supervisors every 30 hours of placement or fortnightly, whichever occurs first.

  • Case conference presentations

    Students are required to present casework at case conference sessions throughout the second and subsequent years. This typically involves two – three presentations per student per year.

  • Case book

    A casebook of a 4 detailed cases is presented to the placement coordinator at the end of the student’s training, which demonstrates practical and theoretical understanding of a wide range of neuropsychological syndromes.

  • Clinical workshop

    Students are required to participate in 3 full-day workshops during second year placement which are designed to enhance their clinical and practical skills. These workshops will focus on Grief Counselling, Motivational Interviewing, and Business Practice/Office Management.

Additional guidelines for Supervisors

  • A responsible supervisor should be clearly designated for each student.
  • Students should be registered through routine personnel services as needed.
  • The timetable for student attendance should be clear.
  • Completion of the initial placement contract
  • Inform the student of relevant safety procedures at the hospital or service
  • Inform students of meetings, grand rounds, library facilities, and other aspects that may broaden his/her experience at the given placement.
  • Inform the student of ward/meeting etiquette together with his/her obligations in the different settings.
  • Inform the student of the specific test procedures and normative data with which he/she should be familiar.
  • Arrange for student observation of the supervisor in the clinical context.
  • A minimum of two sessions enabling direct supervisor observation of the student in the clinical setting is recommended.
  • An average of 1 hour of supervision per full day of placement is recommended.
  • Completion of mid-placement and final evaluation forms.
  • Completion of future goal forms.
  • Regular supervisor signatures on Logbook and Case Record entries (every 30 hours of placement or fortnightly, whichever occurs first).



Need Help?

Dr. Jacqueline Anderson
Course Convenor
e: jfande@unimelb.edu.au
Dr Angie Jackman
Placement Coordinator
e: arja@unimelb.edu.au