General information practice learning

Some answers to common questions that Practice Supervisor/Assessor and students have about practice placements.

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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 Adviser of Studies. If you have any other questions, contact your Practice Supervisor/Assessor or PEF/CHEF.

The first contact for a Practice Supervisor/Assessor is the Academic Assessor for concerns around competence or skills development; the Adviser of Studies for personal and pastoral issues and absence - including if students do not arrive on placement; the PEF/CHEF team should be contacted at all times.

Academic support on placement

The model for academic support on placement has changed. Please contact the following teams if a nursing student needs support with development of skills and proficiencies.

Year 1:

Year 2:

Year 3:

Please contact the Adviser of Studies for any personal, pastoral and attendance issues.

Practice learning - Practice Supervisor/Assessor questions

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

Practice Supervisor/Assessor 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 Practice Supervisor/Assessor 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?

Practice Supervisor/Assessor should contact their PEF for advice as soon as there are concerns to start the process of additional support.

The Academic Assessor team should also be contacted by practice:

Year one students:

Year two students:

Year three students:

What should I do if a student's performance drops below the expected level once they have submitted their Practice Assessment Document (PAD) to the School?

The final assessment should be done at the end of the placement. If you have already completed the PAD, inform the student of your concerns and contact the Academic Assessor team. 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 need to contact both placement and the School.
Reporting absence by student and practice staff is through completion of an online form instead of using the phone line. Please can practice staff and students now use the absence reporting form.

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 while on placement and that absence means that they are unlikely to achieve their proficiencies, contact the student's Academic Assessor team 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.

Practice Supervisor/Assessor sickness

An associate Practice Supervisor/Assessor should always be identified at the beginning of the placement who can then take over if a Practice Supervisor/Assessor 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/Adviser 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 Adviser 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 Adviser 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

All students can undertake up to a third of each placement on nightshifts. There is an expectation all students will experience 24 hour care delivery and clear learning objectives and supervisory arrangement as per the NMC standards should be in place.

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 Practice Supervisor/Assessor 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, Practice Supervisor/Assessor 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 8 hours on-duty time. If you are in doubt about a student's study days, contact the Adviser 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 Practice Supervisor/Assessor.