During induction week, at the start of your programme, you’ll be given a planner with your practice experience dates for the duration of your course. This will help you plan for things such as childcare and holidays.
Depending on your course, practice experiences differ in length and frequency. However, time spent on placement usually increases as you progress through your programme.
When you go out on practice experience depends on your enrolled programme. In your first year you’ll have a period of theoretical study before going on practice experience. You’ll also spend time in the Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (CSSC) undertaking Simulated Practice Learning. As a general guide, this is usually between 10 and 20 weeks. This will prepare you for what to expect on practice experience, and develop your confidence.
Learners are required to complete a minimum of 2300 hours in practice, some of which can be simulated practice learning. So approximately 50% of your programme will be spent in practice learning environments. How this looks will differ from programme to programme, and if you’re an apprentice.
You don’t need to. Our Off-campus Learning (OCL) team is responsible for allocating all placements for nursing and midwifery students.
However, as part of your programme you’ll have an opportunity to source a formative ‘shadowing’ experience. This is a non-assessed component of the programme. Read about Leanne’s experience working with the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit.
Our practice learning environments are predominately within the Cheshire and Merseyside region, but can range throughout the North West and neighbouring geographical areas. This is an extensive area which we encourage you to become familiar with, as your practice experiences may be allocated from across the whole geographical region.
You’ll be allocated a practice experience in advance of the scheduled placement block. Consideration will be given to your term-time address, base of study (Ormskirk Campus), access to transport, and your learning journey requirements. Practice experiences are designed to give learners a breadth of experience across the nursing sector, and to provide essential hands-on learning as part of your specific degree.
You’ll be able to confirm your preferences in regard to organisations you may wish to work with, upon qualification, and the OCL team will do their best to accommodate preferences throughout your programme. This enhances employability opportunities for learners. However, we cannot guarantee all preferences will be met for every practice experience, as allocation is dependent on the capacity of our practice placement providers.
Yes, all practice learning environments are displayed on the Online Practice Assessment Record and Evaluation (PARE) system and InPlace. On these systems there is further information for learners to read about their allocated practice learning environment. The Online PARE system is also where your assessment of practice is completed (electronically) and learners complete a post-practice evaluation of their experience in that area.
We also encourage learners to do their own additional research on their allocated practice learning environments, for example, journey planning.
Learners must complete a suite of mandatory training before attending practice. This includes Basic Life Support, Moving & Handling and Breakaway training (dependent on which field of nursing they are studying), and online eLearning Core Skills. Practice experience may not be able to take place if learners do not complete set training prior to going into practice. This is for the safety of patients, but also for our nursing students.
We encourage our learners to be proactive in developing professional relationships, for example with educators in practice, as well as in identifying and seeking further learning opportunities. These could include short visits to areas of interest and with relevance to your assessment of practice or shadowing another member of the multi-disciplinary team working in that organisation.
You’ll be expected to undertake all shifts that would be expected of a registered nurse. This would include weekends, early morning, evening and night work to ensure access to a full range of learning opportunities across ‘24 hour/7 days a week’ care.
You’re expected to undertake an average of 37.5 hours of practice learning time per week during your practice experience block. Your hours in practice are recorded on a timesheet via the Online PARE system.
You’ll be responsible for funding your travel to all of your practice experiences, as well as parking costs, so preparatory budgeting is advised. However, the OCL team will try to arrange practice experiences that have reasonable travel time. You can also claim back some money, but this is retrospectively and has certain criteria that need to be met. More information about travel and dual accommodation expenses can be found online.
Practice learning environments are drawn from our network of more than 900, predominantly from across Merseyside and Cheshire, but with some from the wider North West region. The Faculty maintains a close relationship with colleagues in practice, who work in the NHS, private, voluntary, independent and social care sectors. We have a diverse and wide range of learning environments from these sectors, such as:
- social care
- high secure hospital
- community settings
- Child and Adolescent mental Health Services (CAMHS)
- elderly care facilities
- schools and pre-school nurseries
We pride ourselves on the partnerships. Read about our recent success with partnership working.
On scheduled practice experience you’ll be supported by practice supervisors, and assessed by a practice assessor, usually from the organisation providing the placement.
You’ll also have an academic assessor. Their role is to collate and confirm your achievement of proficiencies, which must be evidenced in your Practice Assessment Document (PAD), and programme outcomes in the academic environment for each part of the programme.
In addition, the University has a Practice Education Team. Experienced, practice-focused academic staff provide support for all practice learning environments to ensure quality for practice learning. The team support organisations in delivering this.
You’ll be able discuss your progress throughout your practice experience, and we encourage learners to be proactive in seeking out feedback from their practice supervisors and assessors.
Your progress will be assessed by different practice supervisors and assessors as you move through the course. Your skills and confidence will develop, and you’ll be encouraged to undertake increasingly complex activities.
All practice learning experiences aligned to practice assessments, necessary for the award and eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), will take place in audited learning environments and meet the NMC Standards for Student Supervision and Assessment (2018).
If you miss practice for whatever reason you’re required to make this practice learning time up as it is a requirement of registration with the NMC that students achieve a minimum of 2,300 practice learning hours. If learners can’t make that time up in the allocated practice experiences, as indicated on their planners, then it may be required for some learners to undertake practice experiences in what was planned to be their ‘off programme’ time, in order to register with the NMC.
Students can also consolidate their professional development with voluntary, non-assessed formative practice experiences within their programmes.
As previously mentioned, there’s an opportunity to undertake a formative practice learning experience outside the region, either within the United Kingdom or internationally. More information will be provided by your programme team closer to the time.
All relevant information is contained within the programme handbook which you’ll receive when you begin your course.