Absence from PEP

Students may become unwell before or during their professional experience placement. If a student is not fit for practice, they must follow due process for notifications of absence from professional experience placement.

Students who miss PEP for whatever reason must inform the facility as per the instructions during orientation, nursingclinical@jcu.edu.au and the subject coordinator as soon as possible. Please ensure you follow the email protocol and include in the subject line: your family name, first name, student ID, subject code followed by PEP absence. Please see Absence from PEP Flow Diagram and email template.

Students who miss any PEP day/s must provide evidence of illness or other extenuating circumstance (such as compassionate leave, sick family members or other catastrophic event). Evidence will be, for example, a medical certificate which is to be submitted within 48 hours.

Students with any infectious or respiratory symptoms (such as a sore throat, headache, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, cough or runny nose) are not to attend their professional experience placement.  You must stay home if you are symptomatic and undertake a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

If your RAT result is positive, please register your positive COVID-19 result using the Queensland Government registration form. The timeframe for returning to PEP is then dependent on the guidelines outlined on the COVID-19 update for students attending placement in all healthcare facilities in Queensland section found on the JCU Health Placements’ Preparing for PEP webpage.

Students with respiratory allergy symptoms such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and allergic asthma should stay home and get tested for COVID-19 at the onset of their symptoms and if they experience symptoms that are unexpected, seem different or worse than usual, or do not respond to their usual medication.

Queensland Health Gastroenteritis Emergency Department fact sheet

Students who develop symptoms of infectious gastroenteritis while working with patients who have the same symptoms should report their illness to their Supervisor and/or the Infection Control Department.

Health professionals should not return to work until diarrhoea has ceased for 48 hours. Students therefore need remain at home until they have shown no further symptoms of gastroenteritis for 48 hours.

If you are unfit to attend your PEP you must inform your PEP facilitator, clinical partner, or coach and nursingclinical@jcu.edu.au of your absence as soon as possible.

It is part of professional behaviour to keep your PEP facilitator, clinical partner, or coach and nursingclinical@jcu.edu.au of any attendance issues. Unprofessional behaviour may lead to a formal warning and/or a clinical review.

Any unforeseen or exceptional circumstances involving PEP are referred to Academic Lead: Professional Practice. Unforeseen or exceptional circumstances are those which are beyond the student’s control or for which there was no opportunity to prepare in advance. Unforeseen or exceptional circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

  • illness of the student or a close relative
  • unanticipated personal circumstances of a compelling nature
  • unanticipated and significant work-related circumstances of a compelling nature; and
  • sporting commitments for recognised elite athletes.

If your illness or injury is:

  • One or two days, then you must provide nursingclinical@jcu.edu.au and your subject coordinator with a medical certificate (original).
  • Three consecutive days or more, then you may require a fitness for practice certificate. Speak to the Academic Lead: Professional Practice if this applies to you.

Discretionary activities or circumstances within the student's control, for example attendance at sporting events (with the exception of approved elite athletes with sporting commitments), holidays, family celebrations and other discretionary travel, and/or other foreseeable events will not normally constitute grounds for an absence from PEP.

Supporting documentation for unforeseen or exceptional circumstances must be verifiable. If you will be absent from PEP due to exceptional circumstances:

  • Inform your PEP Facilitator and your PEP venue of your absence as soon as possible.
  • Contact the Academic Lead: Professional Practice as soon as practicable to discuss completion options. In some circumstances you may be required to withdraw from the placement.
  • Provide the Academic Lead: Professional Practice with written evidence (for example, from a medical practitioner) in support of your claim.

Elite athletes need to advise Academic Lead: Professional Practice as soon as your status is confirmed so appropriate PEP arrangements can be accommodated. Refer to the Defence Force, National Service and Elite Athlete Friendly University Procedure for further information.

Australian Defence Forces Personnel expected to be deployed during the PEP period are to advise the Academic Lead: Professional Practice as soon as details are known. Wherever possible, alternative arrangements will be made for your PEP. Refer to the Defence Force, National Service and Elite Athlete Friendly University Procedure for further information.

Any missed PEP hours must be made up as you need to attend for the required duration. Missed PEP hours may mean that you:

  • cannot complete the placement requirements for the topic
  • may not meet the course graduation requirements
  • may not meet the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA) minimum requirements for registration.

Contact the Academic Lead: Professional Practice to discuss your options. With limited PEP opportunities available, it is not always possible to negotiate make-up shifts or PEP extension.

NB: Students who have frequent absences or absence without supporting documentation throughout the program will be required to meet with the Academic Lead: Professional Experience and the relevant Subject Coordinator.  Students who miss PEP without appropriate supporting documentation will attract an unsatisfactory PEP grade.