All venues will provide a compulsory orientation for students prior to or on the first day of placement. Some venues require that students attend an on-site orientation in person, others provide an online package prior to placement, and some venues will require both.
On your first day of placement you will:
- produce your current compulsory pre-placement compliance documents
- meet the venue staff
- be shown around the venue
- be advised of any specific requirements for the venue.
If you do not attend or complete your allocated placement venue orientation, you will not have met the venue compliance criteria and your placement educator (facilitator) will send you home; you will not be able to complete this placement.
Rosters and placements
As part of your professional responsibility, you are required to ensure that you:
- have completed or attended a placement venue orientation
- know where to arrive and meet on day one
- know your placement times
- attend all rostered placements
- attend for the entire allocated placement
- are well rested before each placement. Failure to be rested places yourself or others at risk and is considered unprofessional practice, as you are unable to meet your professional obligations and thus standards of practice. For example, it is not acceptable to:
- go from a paid placement to a placement or vice versa
- work all night on an assignment and then go to an early placement.
Arriving at placements
It is your responsibility to arrive at your venue at least ten minutes before the placement begins. This will ensure you arrive in a timely manner and be prepared to engage in a full handover of your patients or clients, ask required questions and assist the previous placement to complete activities before leaving.
No precise start or finish times
Clinical phase predominantly consists of clinical work placements. Starting and finishing time varies between services, units and sites. Since students are expected to work as a student member of the clinical team on many of their placements, it is not possible to prescribe exact starting and finishing times.
Medicine is a 24‐hour, 7 day a week profession
In clinical phase, most student placements will be during day times. However valuable learning occurs after hours, due to different mix of presentations, different staffing levels, and different service availability. It is important for students to be exposed to after‐hours clinical work, including evenings and weekends. It is also important for students to gain an understanding of the nature of after‐hours clinical work, in preparation for their future roles as doctors.
In most settings, night duty is not required in third year. Students may attend at nights for their own extra learning provided they have express permission from the clinical supervisor of the unit or service.
At some sites, particularly rural and remote settings, students will be required to be on call with their supervisor.
The MD course is full time
As work‐integrated learning, students should expect to work similar hours to those expected during their intern year, ie 37.5 hours minimum and up to 50 hours per week.
Timetables and compulsory attendance
All timetabled activities are compulsory unless otherwise stated. Timetables will be designed to ensure that placements with very early starts or very late finishing times do not result in unreasonably long days due to additional timetabled activities
- allow some flexibility for study time (see note below)
- in line with the recommendations in the AMA guidelines to safe working hours timetable will:
- allow students to have at least one 24 hour period every 7 days with no scheduled activities
- schedule students for no more than one night of after-hours work per week and no more than one weekend per month averaged over the course of the clinical attachment
- minimise the occasions on which students are required to work more than 10 hours in a period
- ensure that minimum breaks between shifts enable students a minimum of 8 hours continuous sleep
Administration staff creating timetables will do their best to avoid timetable clashes. However, there will always be instances where there are clashes due to the nature of working with multiple clinical service providers, and health care in general. Students should clarify with their local site administration or supervisor the priorities to observe when clashes occur, as these will vary by site.
Flexibility to allow time for personal study
It is not possible to prescribe specific personal study time across all sites, as the nature of timetables varies by site and service availability. Furthermore, it is recognised that during many clinical placements, students have opportunities to spend time reading and studying as part of the placement. These factors will be taken into account when timetables are created. This may result in some timetables have an overt ‘personal study session’ where the rest of the timetable is intense, and other timetables with no overt personal study sessions where there is highly likely to be some ‘down‐time’ during the clinical placements.
Extra clinical work
All students are encouraged to maximise their clinical learning opportunities. However, if a student chooses to stay late, or do extra sessions, this is their own choice. Students may not miss compulsory timetabled sessions because they chose to do extra work of their volition.
Some clinical placements, particularly those for Community Based Medical Education students (CBME), are scheduled at short‐notice. This is usually due to clinical placements being confirmed or changed at late notice. External factors such as weather and transportation can also affect placement schedules. Students therefore need to have real‐time access to timetables and cannot rely on a standardised timetable to reflect true placements.
Missed placement hours or placements
Any hours missed during your placement must be ‘made up’ as you need to attend for the allocated duration. Please refer to the site leave and remediation policy:
Missed placement hours may mean that you:
- cannot complete the topic requirements for placement
- may not meet the course graduation requirements
- may not meet the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) minimum requirements for registration.
Contact your placement supervisor as soon as possible to discuss strategies for making up missed hours. With limited placement opportunities available, it is not always possible to negotiate make-up placements or an extension to your placement.