All learning environments must have the capacity and resources needed to deliver safe and effective learning experiences. Students must not be placed in a practice learning environment, or provide direct or indirect care, without suitable support and supervision
What this will mean will differ in different circumstances, it will be up to individual providers to decide depending on, amongst other factors, the programme of study the student is on, the outcomes the student is trying to achieve, the confidence and independence of the student, and the environment they are learning in.
In order to be considered safe and effective, a learning environment must be inclusive and have the right people in place to supervise and support students. Who the right people are will differ depending on the circumstances.
The following are the roles that we set out in our standards:
More information can be found on the practice supervisor role in the section on practice supervision. We do not specify how many practice supervisors must be in each learning environment. It may also be possible to have some learning environments where practice supervision occurs from a distance, this is known as ‘indirect supervision’. [Add link to indirect supervision section in final version.]
All students must be assigned to a practice assessor for a placement or a series of placements, in line with local requirements. They are responsible for assessing a student’s practice learning for a placement or series of placements in collaboration with academic assessors. We do not specify that practice assessors must be present within practice environments. Decisions on the model of assessment must be taken locally.
More information can be found in the section on practice assessment.
All students must be assigned to an academic assessor for each part of the programme. We do not require the academic assessors to be present within a practice or academic environment with the student. Decisions on the model of assessment must be taken locally.
More information can be found in the section on academic assessment.
Coordinators of practice learning will be expected to have oversight of all placements and how they support students to meet their learning outcomes and NMC standards. Locally the person or people coordinating the students learning may wish to draw up a plan for these placements, and coordinate with the student and those within the environment before, during and after the placement to discuss the learning outcomes that may be learnt and how they can be achieved. Those supporting students within such an environment must also have the knowledge and skills necessary to help students meet the learning outcomes specified.
The AEI, with its practice learning partners, must ensure that all such placements have proper oversight and governance, and that any potential risks have been assessed. This can be done in a number of different ways, such as through documentation, audits and visits – in person and virtually.
When using an environment without any registered professionals directly working there, the AEI, and their practice learning partners, should be able to evidence how it will enrich student learning, and what measures were taken to ensure the safety of both students, members of the public and people using services.
We don’t specify how many people will be needed to support and supervise students within each environment or for each ‘learning experience’, only that they must be sufficient for a safe and effective learning experience. What this means will be dependent on, amongst others:
- the environment (for example a GP surgery that offers student placements might need fewer staff than a large hospital)
- the number of students
- student outcomes and individual learning needs
We require that all students have access to a nominated person who can actively support students and address any concerns they might have while in a practice placement learning environment.
We do not stipulate who this person might be, or what qualifications or registration they need to have, only that they must be available to support students and be able to suitably address their concerns. This can mean a number of things depending on the circumstances or the nature of the concern that has been raised. The nominated person should work within local processes for raising and managing concerns whenever relevant.
They do not necessarily need to be based within the learning environment, and in many cases it may be inappropriate for them to be so, for example, if it would mean that, due to staffing constraints, a practice supervisor would also be the ‘nominated person’. It will be up to the AEI, with their practice learning partners, to decide who can fulfil this role, provided students are supported and our standards and public protection are upheld. Students should be informed throughout their programme about who the nominated person is for each environment, what their role is, and how to get in touch with them should they need to raise any concerns.
Relevant NMC standards for this section
R2.14: regularly review all learning environments and provide assurance that
they are safe and effective