University of Melbourne Students’ Assistance in Supporting Healthcare (SASH)
The University of Melbourne, through its Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (MDHS), is keen to make a meaningful contribution to the COVID-19 pandemic and assist those affected (find out more about the University’s COVID-19 response). Our students are committed to putting the health of the community first, and we as a University are committed to supporting them.
The University is already contributing to the national effort to ‘flatten the curve’ by adopting responsible social distancing measures and moving classes online. Our researchers engaged in this effort have isolated the virus and are now looking for vaccines and treatments and advising and assisting governments. We will now work with our healthcare partners and professional students to ‘raise the line’ of health system capacity.
Our students are eager to support our healthcare partners as they maintain and expand the services needed. To assist the participation of our students we are outlining the principles that should guide their engagement.
Students preparing for careers as health professionals already make a valued contribution within their clinical placements (for information on the selective suspension of some clinical placements, please visit this webpage). This initiative is designed to further mobilise this untapped resource of people who have already dedicated themselves to support the country’s health.
Students who wish to apply for paid, casual employment in support of Victoria's hospital sector are encouraged to register with the Department of Health and Human Services at: healthworkforceresponse.dhhs.vic.gov.au
MDHS students who also wish to apply for paid, casual employment specifically in support of our clinical placement partners through research, administrative and educational roles should register their interest with SASH at the link below. This website will be updated as SASH is further developed. Those registered will be notified immediately of its launch.
Please watch this 90 second, student-created video to better understand the principles behind SASH:
Students contributing to the COVID-19 pandemic response must act in accordance with the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Government Department of Health.
Students may assist in the pandemic response in following ways:
Modifications to existing placements
Under some circumstances the ongoing educational placement may be modified to contribute to the ongoing effort. Any such modification must be authorized by their educational supervisor, consistent with the learning objectives of the placement, within the ability of the student, within their defined scope of practise, and with appropriate protections and supervision. Such placements would count towards educational accreditation as usual.
Students may sometimes choose to volunteer within the healthcare system. They do this in their own capacity. However, to help students in making these decisions their Schools may provide guidance. Unless otherwise specified and agreed in advance, self-arranged volunteering arrangements do not count towards educational accreditation.
Employment with a partner healthcare service
Students may more formally contribute through part-time employment with a partner healthcare service. In those cases, the University has the following expectations:
- Health services must clearly define the clinical and non-clinical role description, the conditions of engagement and employment, and the criteria for selection.
- Students must be engaged in services which are appropriate for their level of training, ability and scope of practise. The health services must provide the appropriate governance, training and supervision.
- The University may assist health services by advertising suitable opportunities to its health professional students, so that students can express interest in participating, and with their consent communicate this to the healthcare provider.
- There is no expectation, compulsion or requirement for students to take on such roles, and the University is otherwise not directly involved in the employment or supervision of students employed by health services.
- Health services employing students in these casual roles are responsible for and must provide appropriate indemnity cover, liability insurance and WorkCover protections as well as sick leave if relevant to the pandemic.
- Health services are responsible for providing Occupational Health and Safety and all other relevant training to students.
- All work must comply with the provisions of the Fair Work Act, and any visa compliance issues for international students.
- Unless otherwise specified and agreed in advance, part-time employment arrangements do not count towards educational accreditation.
How can I get involved in paid SASH roles?
As a health professional student at MDHS, there are two things you can do to make a difference during the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis. You’re already staying at home rather than going to the university or your placement, and now you can actively contribute to beating the virus.
Free for reuse image: Tiedosto: COVID-19 Health care limit.svg (Wikicommons)
By maximising your physical distancing and practising good hand and cough hygiene, you can deprive the virus of the opportunity to spread. This keeps the pandemic’s surge within our capacity to care for those affected.
That won’t be enough, however, to deal with the impacts of this pandemic. You can also help to 'raise the line' of health care capacity by applying for a number of paid 'SASH roles' that Victoria’s health services are establishing.
- They are paid, casual positions that are supported by the health service, they do not form part of your clinical hours or course requirements
- Positions are part time and should fit around University study as with any part time job
- You apply directly to specific health service providers
- You will work under supervision and within your professional scope of practice at the academic level of your professional training
Register Your Interest
The list of paid SASH roles will be regularly updated.
How can it be safe for me to go into a hospital when my clinical placements had to be paused?
Your placements weren’t suspended because of safety concerns for students. They were paused for several reasons: because a health system under pressure has to make sure that every resource is directed to patient care; to provide certainty in an uncertain environment for you to know what is happening; to protect more vulnerable patients and because of a recognition that your learning environment was becoming more complex. Hospitals have isolation rooms and staff are trained in infection control procedures.
Is it wrong for me to seek a paid SASH role?
Absolutely not. In this crisis, many casual jobs in hospitality, entertainment, retail and travel have been placed on hold. These are high participation areas for university students. If you need to earn an income, and most people do, you can contribute to our health care, learn from supervisors and work in a multidisciplinary environment.
But haven’t we all been told to stay at home during this phase of the pandemic?
Yes we have, unless you are involved in delivering an essential service. Physically going to university or clinical placement is not an essential service. Assisting the delivery of healthcare through SASH most definitely is, so your trip is justified. Just practise all of the important physical distancing and hygiene techniques.
Does my paid SASH role contribute to my course progress?
No, it won't directly contribute to your course progress, but through a paid SASH role you will learn a lot about healthcare, people and yourself. The main reason for 'SASHing' is to contribute to the workforce.
Do those who take on SASH roles get an advantage, and so should I do the same?
The Faculty is very aware of the risk of students feeling compelled to take something on because they fear that they will miss out or there will be a negative consequence if they don’t. There is absolutely no expectation or compulsion for a student to take on a paid SASH role. We are aware that students may have any number of personal health issues or family responsibilities that may prevent them from taking on a paid SASH role.
Do SASH roles take precedence over my course?
No. It is expected that your paid SASH role will fit around your coursework, just like any part time job.
Who is my employer? Is it the University?
In all cases, unless the work is research or educational services for the University, paid SASH roles will be provided by the partner healthcare service that you are assisting. The University’s role is to make you aware of opportunities and assist potential employers in contacting you (with your consent).
Am I protected should I make a mistake or have an injury?
All paid SASH roles, will be covered by the terms of employment and insurance of the employing partner healthcare service.
Where do I start?
You already have. Click here to register, view roles and express your interest. You’ll be able to view a regularly updated list of paid SASH roles and express your interest in them as they come.
What will the University do with my personal information?”
The University will be collecting your personal information for the purposes of:
- communicating with you about SASH opportunities presented by our health services providers;
- providing your details to health service providers so that they can connect with you regarding SASH opportunities;
- administering the SASH programme; and
- any other legitimate purposes directly related to the SASH programme.
The information you provide will be used by authorised staff for the purpose for which it was collected as set out above. It will not be transferred outside Australia unless to an entity operating under equivalent privacy obligations. We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the information we hold is accurate and complete and that it is protected from misuse, loss, unauthorised access or disclosure. We will only retain your personal information for as long as required for the purpose it was collected and in accordance with our legislative obligations. This information is then securely destroyed in accordance with the University’s retention and disposal authority.