College of Healthcare Sciences Student Resources JCU Workplace Educators Resource Package

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JCU Workplace Educators Resource Package

This package is designed to provide support to workplace educators when they are hosting a James Cook University (JCU) student as part of the student’s practical education requirement for their degree. It is applicable across a range of disciplines where students engage in practice education.

Introduction to the JCU experience

Practical education is a complex interaction involving the student, the educator, the university, the placement provider and their clients. These aspects impact on every student placement and every placement is different given the diversity of settings, requirements and people involved.

Quality Placement Experience Diagram

Preparation for having a student involves administrative, educational and management functions which are outlined below.

Students undertake education in the workplace at various stages of their university curriculum.  Depending on the discipline, placements will vary in how they are set up, their duration and the requirements regarding evaluation of student performance. Your JCU discipline specific contact will provide you with the details of the requirements for your student and will assist with the set up and support for the practical placement as required.

The details of the placement  and the requirements of JCU will be discussed with you or your workplace prior to commencement of the placement. Requirements may include some form of an agreement to outline the responsibilities of JCU and the placement provider. If an agreement is required JCU will organise the documentation with senior management of the workplace. This could be a memorandum of understanding, a deed, schedule or a service agreement.

  • The agreement will need to be in place prior to the placement starting.
  • The placement provider needs to make their expectations clear in the agreement.
  • The agreement will detail information relevant to the logistics of the placement e.g. duration, number of students, location and responsibilities
  • This may take weeks or months to establish.

The JCU Code of Conduct provides a statement concerning what is to be expected when dealing with the university. An excerpt follows –

The Code of Conduct is a public statement of the standards of conduct and integrity expected of members of James Cook University. It aims to guide staff in identifying and resolving issues of ethical conduct which may arise in the course of their duties and, in so doing, maintain public trust and confidence in the integrity and professionalism of the University... There are five fundamental ethical principles enshrined in the Public Sector Ethics Act, from which the ethical obligations contained in the University's Code of Conduct are derived.

They are:

  • respect for the law and system of government;
  • respect for persons;
  • integrity;
  • diligence; and
  • economy and efficiency (James Cook University, 2010)

Individual disciplines will have their own Code of Conduct and/or Code of Ethics with which students must comply. If there is a breach of ethical behaviour or professional conduct, please contact the university as soon as possible.

At all times confidentiality of information regarding students, clients, business operation and personal information is to be respected as per the code of conduct of for your profession, workplace and JCU.  Information pertaining to individual student personal circumstance and previous academic and practical education performance is treated confidentially by JCU. Students are at liberty to discuss any of these issues at their own discretion. For further information refer to the module, Managing a Placement – Confidentiality & Ethical consideration.

Consent may be required by the student, placement provider or client depending on the circumstances. Consent may be required with regards to treatment, use of personal information and intellectual property. JCU students are made aware of the need for consent in certain situations.

It is the responsibility of the placement provider to ensure that students are aware of consent and documentation requirements at your workplace.

Each student is covered by insurance as outlined in the following JCU documents:

  • Professional Indemnity insurance certificate of currency (Details)
  • Public, product and Liability certificate of currency (Details)
  • Student Personal Accident certificate of currency (Details)

Before a student can commence any practical education, they must meet certain requirements. These relate to safety, disease prevention or legal requirements and are monitored and verified by JCU staff. For example, health science students must meet these pre-placement requirements:

  • Immunisation for Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR), Pertussis and Varicella
  • Current First Aid and CPR certificate and Working with Children Check (Blue Card)
  • Successful completion of course content prior to starting the Placement
  • Pre-requisite course subjects and national registration.

Please advise JCU well in advance of the placement timeframes if your facility has specific requirements for student placements e.g. Criminal History Check, additional vaccinations.

Many benefits have been identified for both you and your workplace while supervising a JCU student. Some of these benefits are:

  • personal reward in seeing the student develop under your supervision;
  • giving back to your profession;
  • provision of extra services for the organisation, easing of workload by having the students perform certain functions;
  • confirmation/extension of your knowledge and keeping up with current trends within your profession;
  • enhanced knowledge of JCU students and their curriculum which can assist in recruitment;
  • sharing of ideas;
  • awarding by some professional groups of Continuing Education points for providing education to students (some professional groups); and
  • potential for enrolment in the JCU Graduate Certificate in Clinical Education or other higher degree options e.g. Graduate Honours in Allied Health (Physio, OT, Speech), Doctorate of Health Professional Education.
  • potential adjunct position with JCU.

When preparing for a student it is important for you to have an understanding of what the student expects from the placement and from the workplace educator.  Student expectations can include:

  • the provision of orientation
  • the provision of and opportunities for graded active participation and discussion;
  • clear and consistent guidance and direction;
  • the provision of an environment conducive to reciprocal feedback;
  • the provision of regular and balanced feedback;
  • an educator who is approachable and knowledgeable;
  • an educator who clearly communicates their expectations;
  • an educator who is interested and supportive;
  • an educator who is competent and enthusiastic about their profession; and
  • an educator who offers effective teaching and learning experiences and who is knowledgeable of the curriculum.

Additionally it is important for you to have an understanding of what JCU expects from the workplace educator and placement provider. In general this includes:

  • quality placements that contribute to the development of competent professionals;
  • sound educational methodology to deliver required learning outcomes; and
  • comprehensive and transparent feedback and evaluation.

Each profession or discipline will also have specific expectations which will be specified when establishing a placement.

The following can be expected from JCU for the workplace educator:

  • Appropriate training and resources in practical education;
  • An adequately prepared student;
  • Support throughout the placement for the educator and the student;
  • Up to date information about the current curriculum; and
  • Some incentives e.g. professional development credits.

Practical Education/Clinical Education – a period of supervision where a student spends time away from JCU performing professional activities with real clients to develop and enhance skills under the supervision of a professional in their area of study and managed by JCU.

Workplace Educator – Practice Educator, Preceptor, Clinical Educator, Fieldwork Supervisor, Onsite Supervisor (Rose & Best, 2005).

Placement – an approved location which usually employs fully qualified professionals relating to the student’s area of study and provides a range of services where the student can observe and practice skills with real clients under appropriate supervision.

Placement Provider/ Host – the nominated workplace who has agreed to supervise students for the purpose of clinical education.

James Cook University. (2010). The Code of Conduct: Policy and Procedure. [Date file]. Retrieved August 19, 2011, from the James Cook University Web site,

Rose, M., & Best, D. (2005). Introduction to terminology and definitions. In M. Rose & D. Best (Eds.), Transforming Practice through Clinical Education, Professional Supervision and Mentoring. (pp.2-7). Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.