Each programme of study has a minimum requirement for practice hours which are built into modules. For programmes which are regulated by professional bodies, a minimum number of clinical hours is set by the regulatory or professional body which must be achieved to permit admittance to the register.
Placement hours can only be recorded for activity where students are on placement or attending clinically based study days which contribute to development as a professional.
Practice placement vary across professions and the service provision of each individual practice areas. However, experience will cover 7 days per week, 24 hours per day where service provision dictates. Students are expected to mirror their mentor/placement supervisor’s shift patterns, which should provide a variety of learning opportunities and extensive experience of health care across the care spectrum.
Shift patterns should be negotiated between the student and mentor. Reasonable off-duty requests should be negotiated between the student and mentor. However, students are expected to mirror the shift patterns of the service.
A normal working week is 37.5 hours (full time programme). Students will be expected to experience all shifts (24:7) of the duty rota, including early, late, night and weekend shifts (where dictated by service provision). Shift patterns vary across placements but could start from 0730 hours or finish as late as 2300 hours. Students are not permitted to accrue additional hours to facilitate time off in some weeks and aim to complete 75 hours over a 2 week period (to allow for shift patterns).
We strongly discourage the student from doing long day shifts (12 hours) whilst on placement as this can impact on the student ability to learn effectively in practice.
However, in a minority of placements long shifts may be the norm and the student may be expected to work the same rota as the clinical team. If this is difficult for the student, then the student should be able to negotiate shift patterns with the student mentor.
The European Working Time Directive states that students should not work more than 48 hours in a week. As standard placement weeks operate as 37.5 hours students should only be working on ‘Bank Shifts’ or in other employment for a maximum of 10.5 hours per week. Students may wish to contact the HR department of the organisation which they are employed to sign a document agreeing to work over these hours if they feel they may breach this limit.
Students are reminded that they have committed to a programme of study, therefore placement hours take precedence over any part-time job and students will be expected to work the shifts planned by the placement manager.
Students are not permitted to work shifts in another role within the area that they are completing placement experience.