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 with those at the placement venue.
The placement communication framework (available 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 your PEP facilitator.
Your PEP facilitator 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 your PEP facilitator:
- 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 with your topic coordinator 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 Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning).
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 NMBA standards for practice and/or the learning objectives for your Professional Experience Placement?
The knowledge, clinical skills and attitudes required for your development as a competent registered nurse are specified in each topic's learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are listed in the topic descriptor on the PEP website and are available on topic FLO sites.
During your Professional Experience Placement (PEP) you may find some of the learning objectives more difficult to achieve than others - this is a normal part of learning. You can discuss these issues with your PEP facilitator if you are having difficulty in achieving any of the topic learning outcomes. They will assist you in developing learning strategies to achieve the expected outcomes.
As a nursing student, as well as meeting the learning outcomes for your topic, you are working towards meeting the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Registered Nurse standards for practice (2016). As such it is expected that you understand each of these standards and subclauses.
You are encouraged to discuss how you believe you are meeting the NMBA standards and/or the topic learning outcomes throughout your PEP with your PEP facilitator. Students who require or are identified to require further support to achieve these may be offered a Professional Learning Plan (PLP) by the placement educator (facilitator) or topic coordinator. Further information about Professional Learning Plans can be found below.
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:
- behave in an unprofessional manner or
- does tasks outside their scope of practice
- engages in unsafe professional practice
When a breach of conduct occurs, the student will be referred to the topic 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 will be immediately withdrawn from the placement venue. The placement educator (facilitator) will then notify the topic 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 Professional Learning Plan may also be considered.
The topic coordinator, in consultation with the placement educator (facilitator) and relevant clinical staff, 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.