Here are some important things you need to know before you undertake a student placement.
Placements during the COVID-19 pandemic
The University continues to deliver quality education and health training to students amidst the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure we have a skilled health workforce of the future. As you return to placement it is important to understand that the experience will be different to what you may have experienced before. Restrictions continue to apply to some activities and across all health disciplines new techniques of delivering health care have been introduced or expanded (for example, tele or video-health).
Be assured that placements will only be facilitated where there are adequate protections for your safety and where a quality, comprehensive learning experience can be achieved.
When attending placement, you must stay up to date on the current advice from the Department of Health and Human Services, in particular the Infection Control Guidelines. You may also be required to participate in periodic screening and/or agree to additional terms and conditions related to the pandemic. We strongly recommend students download the COVIDSafe app or keep a diary to assist with contact tracing.
If you or someone around you is anxious about coronavirus, you may find these COVID-19 support resources useful.
First things first
- Your safety and that of others is the highest priority. You must follow all advice and take necessary steps to protect yourself and others from harm, including practising good hygiene and using personal protective equipment (PPE) where appropriate.
- Many of our placements are with external organisations. This has lots of benefits for you, but it does mean that placements and associated policies are at the sole discretion of the student placement provider. This often means that each provider may have different policies and processes that you need to make sure you are aware of.
- Patient/client wellbeing is paramount. Your access to patients or clients and their information is, and always remains, subject to the placement provider’s overriding duty of care to the patient or client and is conditional on that person providing consent, where reasonably practical.
- The purpose of placement is to learn. While on placement you may provide a valuable contribution to the mission of the organisation. However, it is essential that each task you undertake also contributes to your learning. Be sure to engage in reflective practice throughout the placement and speak with your academic coordinator if you have any concerns.
Both the University and our student placement providers expect high standards from students in relation to honesty, integrity and general behaviour at all times. It is expected that students act in a manner consistent with the mission and care philosophy of the student placement provider and according to reasonable and appropriate standards for a professional environment.
- Comply with all information on this website and any reasonable instructions given by the University or by your student placement provider, its employees, agents, representatives or any visiting clinicians accredited to the placement provider
- Only participate in the delivery of health care, treatment or other work at levels commensurate with your stage of preparation and progress in your course, while under appropriate supervision and as approved by the placement provider
- Perform any task allocated to you with due care, skill and attention and in a proper and time efficient manner
- If undertaking placement activities from home, ensure your workstation setup is ergonomic and is appropriately shielded from others (visually and audibly) to protect privacy and confidentiality
- Comply with all laws, protocols, procedures, policies and guidelines including, without limitation, all matters pertaining to occupational health and safety, infection control, privacy and confidentiality, personal information and health records and any reasonable requirements as directed by the student placement provider from time to time.
- Attend placement if unwell, even if your symptoms are mild
- Act in a manner which could disrupt or adversely affect a student placement provider's reputation, interests or goodwill
- Represent that you are employed or act on behalf of your placement provider
- Improperly remove any property belonging to the student placement provider (including, but not limited to, equipment and health records).
The placement provider's rights and responsibilities
The student placement provider is obligated to provide a safe environment for your placement experience and must report any incidents to the University as soon as possible. You can expect a comprehensive orientation to be provided at the commencement of your placement. The placement provider will ensure that all relevant by-laws, policies, manuals, guidelines, protocols, procedures and any other relevant information is made readily available to you, including details of any emergency procedures to be followed and any precautions specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students are only permitted to work in clinical settings when adequate PPE of the type appropriate to the specific hazards is available and fitted and used correctly. If you have concerns about the availability of the correct PPE to conduct work safely in your placement location, contact your academic coordinator.
The placement provider may, at any time:
- Make relevant enquiries and take other necessary steps to satisfy itself that you are competent to undertake the student placement and that you conduct yourself in a safe and professional manner
- Instruct you in connection with any task or responsibility arising in the course of the student placement.
The student placement provider will use best endeavours to obtain patient/client consent to you participating in their care or treatment, where reasonably practical.
Complaints and unsatisfactory performance
If a complaint is received by a placement provider in relation to any student or student placement, they are required to notify the University.
If the placement provider reasonably feels that you are not competent to perform allotted tasks, if you fail to conduct yourself in a safe and professional manner, or if you fail to comply with any law, protocol, policy, procedure, guideline or reasonable instruction of the placement provider, they may:
- Terminate the practical exercise in which you are participating
- Restrict or limit your access to patients, clients, stakeholders or third parties with which they have dealings
- Direct you to leave the premises and/or refuse further access to the premises
- Take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that you comply with any of these directions.
In the event that a placement provider takes any of the above action, they will notify the University, which may also take disciplinary action against you according to the University's statutes, policies and procedures.
Similarly, you should notify the University if you have concerns about any aspect of the placement. See section below on feedback and reporting concerns.
Your personal information
In order to efficiently deliver your student placements, some of your personal information will be shared with your placement provider.
This information may be communicated through and/or stored in third party systems, and is shared for the purpose of placement providers assessing your suitability for placement and performing induction and reporting activities (eg issuing identification cards, registering your details with local security staff, etc).
What personal information is shared?
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Student ID number
- University email address
- Mobile phone number
- Criminal history information
- Infection and immunisation details
- AHPRA registration details (if applicable)
- Any other information you disclose that may affect your placement.
By electing to undertake a student placement, you agree to the University disclosing this information as is necessary for the coordination and ongoing management of your student placement.
From time to time, placement providers might request additional personal information. The University will not disclose this information without first obtaining your permission.
Illness and absence
If you feel unwell, even if your symptoms are mild, do not attend placement as you could infect others. Seek medical advice immediately, particularly if you may have been exposed to serious illness through your placement (for example, in a community or health service environment).
If you can't attend placement due to illness or any other reason, contact your placement supervisor and your University placement coordinator as early as possible. We will endeavour to arrange make-up placement days wherever possible.
From time to time, students may generate original intellectual property while on student placement.
Generally speaking, you will own any intellectual property that is discovered, brought into existence or otherwise acquired by you as a result of, for the purposes of, or in connection with coursework that is a component of your studies. The student placement provider will usually own any further intellectual property that is discovered, brought into existence or otherwise acquired as a result of, for the purposes of, or in connection with the student placement.
If you wish to confirm your intellectual property rights in relation to a particular placement, speak with the placement coordinator for your course.
The University provides a range of insurances for students undertaking approved University activities. They include insurance for travel (greater than 100km), personal accident, public liability, personal accident and professional indemnity. Some insurance is provided automatically, whereas others (such as Travel Insurance) requires an application prior to the activity commencing.
For details, visit the Student Insurance website.
Equipment and travel
Your student placement provider will typically provide you (at no cost) with protective garments for hygiene and infection control for use during the student placement.
At times, your placement provider may reasonably require you to travel during the student placement in order to perform allocated tasks (for example, client home visits). In the event that this is required, travel arrangements will generally be made by the student placement provider at no cost to you. In some cases however, you may be required to arrange travel at your own cost. You should contact your course coordinator if you believe such a request is unreasonable or not possible based on your personal circumstances.
Note: Just like employees, ordinary travel to or from your workplace/placement location is at your own cost.
Driving for placement
Many students will be required to drive either to attend their placement or as part of their placement duties. It's your responsibility to ensure you drive safely at all times, particularly if there are others with you in the vehicle. See VicRoads' Safe Driving Tips for more information.
To drive in Victoria, you must hold an appropriate driver licence. If you are not licenced to drive in Victoria, notify your Placement Coordinator. You can use your interstate or New Zealand driver licence for your first six months of living in Victoria. After six months, you will need to get a Victorian licence.
International students on a temporary visa are permitted to drive in Victoria with an overseas driver licence for up to six months only. After six months has elapsed since your arrival in Victoria, you are unable to drive unless you have converted your overseas licence to a Victorian driver licence. For more information on overseas licences, visit the VicRoads website.
Using your own vehicle
If you are using your own vehicle to travel to/from or as part of your placement, you must ensure it is appropriately registered and roadworthy at all times.
You should also take out insurance for your vehicle to cover you in the event of an incident. Should an accident occur while travelling for placement, you may be able to make a claim under the University's personal accident insurance for any injury you sustain, but no insurance is provided for your vehicle or any other vehicle involved in the incident.
Many students have limited experience driving outside of metropolitan centres and most student driving incidents occur in rural areas. When you're travelling for a regional or rural placement, there are additional hazards you need to be prepared for. These include:
- Fatigue and distraction when travelling longer distances
- Unmarked, unsealed or poorly maintained roads
- Fog, ice, dust and heavy winds
- Windy roads and fallen branches
- Freight and agricultural vehicles
- Livestock and wildlife, including cows, sheep, kangaroos and wombats.
For more information, read the Rural and Remote Road Safety Fact Sheet from the Australasian College of Road Safety and take precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Student visas and work rights
Many international students will be studying in Australia on a student visa which means that they are not permitted to work for more than 40 hours per fortnight. Student placements taken as a non-mandatory part of a university degree are counted towards this 40-hour limit, unless they fall into one of the following categories:
- When the placement is taken outside of Australia
- When students are completing volunteer work for their placement. For a placement to count as volunteer work it must meet the following conditions:
- Your main purpose is to study in Australia and voluntary work remains secondary to this, and
- The work involved would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident, and
- The work is genuinely voluntary for a non-profit organisation and no remuneration, in cash or kind, is received in return for the activity.
This means if you're on a student visa you must count hours completed for non-mandatory placements as you would any other job unless they fall into one of the above categories. Please note this is regardless of whether the placement is paid or unpaid.
If you're due to undertake placement outside of Australia, you must ensure you comply with the Student Travel and Transport Policy, which includes registering for travel insurance through the University before you depart.
Doing this means that:
- You have access to free travel insurance if any incidents occur
- The University is aware of your travel plans and can contact you in the event of an emergency.
You might also be eligible for a scholarship to assist with the cost of undertaking study overseas.
It's your responsibility to investigate and arrange an appropriate visa to enable your overseas placement. Your department might be able to provide information about arrangements for past students, but you should check with the relevant embassy or consular office for the country you intend to travel to for the most up to date information.
The student placement coordinator for your course or the course coordinator are your first points of contact for any information or assistance regarding your placement.
If you need urgent after-hours assistance from the University, contact our security office (available 24/7) on +61 3 8344 6666.
In an emergency, follow the directions of placement provider staff or call 000.
Feedback and reporting concerns
We are committed to providing the best possible learning experience for our students. If you witness or are involved in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, you should raise this with your placement supervisor or academic coordinator as soon as possible.
If you have feedback that you wish to provide at any time during or after your student placement, make speak with your course coordinator or contact the Health Hub.