This section provides guidance for finding solutions for issues that may arise during a placement, and suggestions about appropriate people to contact.
Issues sometimes arise on placement that you may not be able to resolve by yourself. Who to contact and potential solutions are covered below. Keep in mind that you are required to maintain professional behaviour and communication at all times, especially with those at the placement venue.
The communication framework below provides information about who to contact when you have a question about your placement.
First point of contact
When an issue arises at the venue where you are doing your professional experience placement, the first person to contact is always the University coordinator who is there to act as your advocate and to help resolve any matters of concern.
If the matter cannot be resolved with the assistance of the University coordinator:
- Make sure you have all relevant issues documented (for example, keep a full record of dates, times, what happened, any correspondence such as emails, and similar).
- Arrange to meet to discuss your concerns.
If you have done this and the problem is still not fixed - what to do next:
- Make an appointment to speak with your course coordinator.
- If the matter if still not resolved arrange to meet with the Dean (Education).
Where appropriate and as far as is possible, your anonymity will be preserved.
Remember that you have free access to the University Health, Counselling and Disability Services.
Are you experiencing bullying or harassment?
Flinders University is committed to ensuring that students can participate in workplaces that are free from bullying, harassment and discrimination, and where people are respected and diversity is embraced.
The College complies with the Flinders University principles outlined in No bullying at Flinders.
If you feel that you are being, or have been, bullied or harassed at a placement venue, report this immediately to your placement educator/facilitator and/or your topic coordinator.
Also, seek support and assistance as soon as possible from the University Student Equal Opportunity Adviser, who provides assistance to resolve complaints that arise from harassment or bullying, under the University’s Equal Opportunity Policy (PDF).
Are you having problems meeting the DA National Competency Standards?
The knowledge, clinical skills and attitudes required for your development as a competent dietitian are specified in each topic's learning outcomes and the DA National Competency Standards (NCS).
During your professional practice placement you may find some of the competencies more difficult to achieve than others - this is a normal part of learning. You can discuss these issues with your placement educator and/or University coordinator if you are having significant difficulties. They will assist you in developing learning strategies to achieve the expected outcomes.
You are encouraged to discuss how you believe you are meeting the NCS throughout your placement both in your portfolio and with your placement educator/clinical tutor. Students who require or are identified to require further support to achieve these may be offered a Learning Plan by the placement educator/clinical tutor or University coordinator. These will be individualised with students to meet specific goals.
What is breach of conduct?
A breach of conduct is when situations arise where there are serious deficits in the way a student conducts themselves or behaves while on placement, for example when a student:
- behaves in an unprofessional manner; or
- does tasks outside their scope of practice; or
- engages in unsafe professional practice
When a breach of conduct occurs, the student will be referred to the University coordinator who will review whether they can continue activity within the topic, depending on the severity of the breach.
Patients and the public expect to be in a safe environment within a placement venue. If at any time a student demonstrates unsafe practice during a placement, they may be withdrawn from the placement venue. The placement educator will then notify the University coordinator and course coordinator, in writing, of the event or activity that required the removal of a student from the venue.
Unsafe professional practice include:
- inadequate knowledge for safe practice
- inadequate performance of skills, including communication
- unprofessional behaviour that places patients at risk of physical harm, unreasonable emotional distress or neglect
- unlawful or unethical behaviour.
If the issue/s that caused the removal of a student from placement can be resolved, and the venue agrees, a student may continue their placement. Negotiation for the support of a Learning Plan may also be considered.
The University coordinator, in consultation with the placement educator/clinical tutor and other relevant staff at the University and the venue, will determine whether a student may be reinstated.
If a student’s behaviour or practice is such that they would fail the topic, then they will not be reinstated.