BY MADDISON JACKWAY
Nursing and education students have been forced to adapt to changes in workplace placement schemes due to COVID-19 restrictions, leaving some worried about how this will impact their course progression.
Monash University Education student Molly Watts said her placement has been postponed until semester two.
“Some education students can complete their placements by providing online assistance to students and teachers if supported by the education provider,” she said.
However, Ms Watts was not given this option.
“I’m unsure as to how this [will] affect our academic semester for term two,” she said.
La Trobe University’s Professor Robert Pike said health placements were continuing as scheduled and education placements are only online, although students can opt-out.
According to a Swinburne University spokesperson, Diploma of Nursing students are similarly “on track to complete their qualification on time” and “graduate without delay”.
A statement issued to MOJO News from Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences recognised “the importance of clinical placement in the education of the future health care workforce”.
According to the faculty, “many hospitals and providers have tried to minimise cancellation” of clinical placements, but “some small community centres, private hospitals, primary health care providers and aged care facilities” have had to postpone.
Students with placements that are set to continue have also been provided with the option to opt-out.
“We support students in their choice to opt-in or opt-out and ask that they make an informed decision about the risks to them and the people they are in close contact with,” a member of faculty said.
A Monash University spokesperson said Nursing and Midwifery students who opt out of their placement or have their placement postponed “will still need to meet the mandated clinical placement experiences required for registration”.
“This may mean making up placement hours after the semester.”
Nursing student Chantal Hussain chose not to opt out of placement to avoid the potential of extending her course.
“If we were to opt out of our placements, we would still have to make up for that 120 hours of placement,” Ms Hussain said.
“It would have to be carried out later on, which may extend my course past the three years it’s meant to take to finish.”
Ms Hussain did express her support for the course of action taken by the faculty.
“I do think that leaving it up to the students and the healthcare provider’s discretion is the best option as it means we have the choice.”