Some answers to common questions that mentors and students have about practice placements.

If you have any other questions, contact your mentor, Advisor of Studies or PEF/CHEF.

First point of contact

If I experience any problems during my placement, who should I contact?

The first point of contact for a student is their Advisor of Studies.

The first contact for a mentor is either the Advisor of Studies or the PEF.

Practice learning mentor questions

Can I allow a student to undertake a clinical skill if they haven't as yet had the skill taught at university?

Mentors are encouraged to teach students in practice, as not every skill can be taught in skills simulation. If you can provide appropriate education, guidance and supervision, then student can undertake the skill.

Can nursing students administer medication covered by a Patient Group Direction (PGD)?

No, only registered nurses can supply and administer a PGD, this cannot be delegated to any other person, including students.

Can nursing students undertake a focused educational visit with members of the Ambulance Service including paramedics while on placement within Accident and Emergency?

If the mentor or practice area think this is appropriate, students can undertake relevant focused educational visits. Students should be adequately supervised, with appropriate learning outcomes

Can students be used to 'fill gaps' in the practice placement establishment?

No. Students are always supernumerary, and must not be included in the off duty or counted in an area's staffing numbers. Student evaluations will be scrutinised with regard to specific questions regarding supernumerary status, reported to the Practice Learning Committee and actions taken forward with the Practice Education Facilitators and Carehome Education Facilitators.

Can students wear their uniform outwith practice areas?

Students are required to follow local (NHS) uniform policies. Students may not travel to work in uniform. If students are in the community, they may wear their uniform if going to the shops to buy lunch, or when with clients.

Student performance, sickness

Student performance

Sometimes students are not demonstrating the required competency level - who should I contact?

The personal tutor/Advisor of Studies in the first instance. Mentors might also want to contact their PEF for advice.

What should I do if a student's performance drops below the expected level once they have submitted their Ongoing Achievement Record (OAR) to the School?

If you have already completed the OAR, inform the student of your concerns and contact their personal tutor or Advisor of Studies. Ensure you document these concerns at the time and are able to provide evidence to support them.

Sickness absence

Student sickness

If a student needs to miss their placement due to illness, they must contact both placement and the School.

Placement staff should also report absences and return to duty by calling the School on 01382 388194.

Students cannot make up days off sick by attending placement on allocated days off. If a student is required to make up placement time in order to be eligible to register with the NMC, this time will be made up at the end of their programme.

If a student has time off sick while on placement and that absence means that they are unlikely to achieve their competencies, contact the student's personal tutor / Advisor of Studies for advice and guidance. If a student is absent for a long period of time, they cannot expect to achieve the required level of competence.

Mentor sickness

An associate mentor should always be identified at the beginning of the placement who can then take over if a mentor is off sick.

Incidents and investigations

Incidents and accidents

If a student is involved in an incident or an accident, refer for medical assessment if necessary.

In all cases, complete a Datix form and send to


If a student becomes involved in an investigation within the clinical area, contact the student's personal tutor/Advisor of Studies.

Shifts and hours of duty

Shift limitations due to childcare problems

If a student asks for late shifts only Monday to Friday (for example) due to childcare problems, please refer them to their personal tutor or Advisor of Studies. Students are required to experience the 7 days a week, 24 hours a day nature of practice and will therefore be required to undertake a range of shift patterns, including weekends and night duty. If a student has special requirements you will be informed by the School or Advisor of Studies

12 hour shift patterns

If 12 hour shifts are worked in an area, and it will provide an appropriate experience for students, they can opt to undertake this. Students can choose not to work 12 hour shifts, and students under 18 cannot undertake 12 hour shifts.

Negotiation between core and 12 hour shift patterns

If you have been placed in a practice placement area which works core shifts, you cannot negotiate to undertake a 12 hour shift pattern. Students can only undertake a 12 hour shift in areas where this is the norm.

Night duty (overnight working) for level 1 students

First year adult and mental health nursing students should not be undertaking night duty. In their first few placements nursing students need to be interacting with patients and getting to know the normal operations of health care. Due to the numbers of child field nursing students, they may undertake night duty with their mentor in any part of the programme as long as they are fully orientated to the area and there are clear advantages for learning with this shift pattern.

The School will allocate students to a period of night duty in year two, and some areas may arrange with second and third year students to work nights when the mentor does, to help in the student's learning.

If an area wishes a first year adult or mental health nursing student to work night duty, they must contact the Advisor of Studies before students undertake this. This is definitely not appropriate in their first 12 weeks of practice or for nursing students under the age of 18.

Late shifts and weekends

In a short placement (4-6 weeks) students should normally undertake no more than two late shifts per week and two weekends. In a long (8-12 week) placement, they should do no more than four weekends

Can students organise their own off-duty?

No. The student off-duty is planned by the mentor or practice placement manager in line with our guidance on shift patterns for pre-registration students.

Leave and study days

Public holidays

If a service is closed on a public holiday, mentors should arrange for students to undertake some work-based learning or study related to the placement.


Level 3 students are allowed negotiated time off their placement to attend an interview.

Study days while on placement

Adult and mental health students are allocated a small number of study days, at most one per placement. These are clearly indicated at the start of the year, and are non-negotiable. Students are usually required to attend University for part of a study day.

A study day is equivalent to 7.5 hours on-duty time. If you are in doubt about a student's study days, contact the Advisor of Studies or phone the School on 01382 388534.

Negotiating annual leave

The School informs the student of planned annual leave at the start of each academic year. Students cannot negotiate annual leave independently with their mentor.