Skip Navigation

Formative Placement Experience

The Formative Placement Experience in the second year of the BSc Nursing programme aims to broaden students’ understanding and awareness of what happens in wider society that can impact an individual or communities’ health and wellbeing.


The Formative Placement Experience should include opportunities to learn with and about other roles, services and professions within society and communities, and aims to develop the 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 initiative:

  • gives students the opportunity to experience alternative models of leadership, stakeholder engagement, team-working, interagency and interprofessional working at a global, national, or local level
  • empowers students to take responsibility for their off-campus learning and have some degree of choice in their personal development, contributing to their confidence, resilience and adaptability
  • endeavours to develop independent learners who are informed, appropriately skilled and attuned to global perspectives and cultural diversity.

How it works

The formative placement period is four weeks, 37.5 hours per week including break time. Students may 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.

Students may need to engage in University activities during this period. Students should inform the host organisation, providing 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 the students’ learning to answer any outstanding questions about practice experiences and to identify areas for development moving forward.

Students are required to follow the guidance/policy of the learning environment regarding appropriate dress code, and should not engage in any activities they have not had training for or are not permitted to do in accordance with the learning environments policies/protocols.

birds eye view of ormskirk town centre

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, for example 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:  

Students look at flowers in a local community garden
  • International experience (observational or participatory).
  • 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. For example: veterans, homeless persons, refugees, children and young people, carers, 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, social prescribing, including sport on prescription.
  • Quality, audit, research or consultancy services for health and social care organisations, this would include CQC.
  • NHS outside of the North West region – students can try and source specialist NHS placements outside of 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 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 (OCL) 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.