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Formative Placement Experience

We aim to offer the Formative Placement Experience to our students in the second year of the BSc Nursing programme. The placement aims to broaden our students’ understanding and awareness of what happens in our wider society, and how this can impact an individual or communities’ health and wellbeing (wider determinants).


The placement experience includes opportunities to learn with and about other roles and services, as well as professions within society and communities. It aims to develop our students’ understanding of the wider health and social care agenda.

A teacher and two young children serve pretend pizza, cake and other food in an early years setting.

The placement offers the opportunity to experience:

  • alternative models of leadership
  • stakeholder engagement
  • team-working
  • interagency and interprofessional working at a global, national or local level.

We ask our students to take responsibility for their off campus learning. They must have a degree of choice in their personal development to improve their confidence, resilience and adaptability. The initiative is designed to develop independent learners who are informed, appropriately skilled, and attuned to global perspectives and cultural diversity.

How it works

Currently, the formative placement period is four weeks, 37.5 hours per week including break time. Our students may be authorised to work a maximum of 48 hours per week in agreement with Off Campus Learning, their personal tutor, and the placement provider to make up lost hours.

Our students may need to engage in University activities during this period. They should inform the host organisation and provide email or announcements from the programme team as evidence.

Following completion of the Formative Learning Experience, there will be a facilitated session to review and reflect on our students’ learning. The session aims to answer any outstanding questions about practice experiences, and to identify areas for development.

birds eye view of ormskirk town centre

Our students are required to follow the guidance/policy of the learning environment regarding appropriate dress code. They shouldn’t engage in any activities they have not had training for or are not permitted to do in accordance with the learning environment’s policies/protocols.

Students should have an opportunity to discuss their learning and reflections with the key contact for the formative learning experience. This placement experience will not be used for formal assessment but may identify areas for future personal development.

What do we mean by ‘observational only’ experience?

Students can support some fundamental service delivery under supervision, such as communicating with service users, health promotion activities, and wellbeing initiatives. This also depends on the environment (placement) having the appropriate policies and insurance.

Examples of learning opportunities

These are some of the learning environments students might consider. This list is not exhaustive and is dependent on NMC guidelines for practice hours. It may be subject to change:  

Students look at flowers in a local community garden
  • International experience (observational or participatory) subject to risk assessment.
  • Voluntary sector, charity, community interest company, social enterprise or public health sector organisations. For example, social housing provider, community centre, schools, colleges, training and employment centres, faith centres, social prescribing networks, citizens advice or council services.
  • Organisations which support vulnerable populations such as veterans, homeless persons, refugees, children and young people, carers, and mental health charities.
  • Major charities which support patients with long term conditions (eg Diabetes UK, cancer support charities, British Lung Foundation). Not charity shops, except as a wider experience within the charity sector.
  • Public health initiatives. For example, vaccination, falls teams, and social prescribing, including sport on prescription.
  • Quality, audit, research or consultancy services for health and social care organisations, this would include the Care Quality Commission.
  • NHS outside of the North West region – students can try and source specialist NHS placements outside the North West region only (may be participatory with relevant documentation).

Students may combine two learning experiences; the University needs to be informed by completing two separate forms.

Once the placement has been agreed

Once the placement has been agreed with the organisation and EHU Off Campus Learning:

  • students will need to complete the appropriate information on the online survey form, which assures the University that the organisation will provide a key contact/learning supervisor not necessarily a nurse or midwife (subject to change in line with NMC guidance) but a person who will oversee the learning experience, ensure the learning environment is safe and that the host organisation has the relevant policies and insurance, and has agreed to host the student.
  • all documentation needs to have been agreed by a member of the programme team in liaison with the Off Campus Learning hub.
Elderly people looking at a photo album together

If reassessment in clinical practice is required, the programme team may need to change this placement allocation from a formative learning experience to a summative assessment within the NHS. Out of area and specifically the possibility to go abroad, may be impacted if a student needs to attend campus for reassessment during the placement period.



If you have any queries, please contact Pam Donaghy, Senior Lecturer Nursing and Formative Placement lead.