Coronavirus advice for health students on placement
This page contains coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for Sheffield Hallam health students currently on placement in the UK. For further information on the University's response to the coronavirus outbreak, see our main coronavirus page.
Advice on attending placements
Based on the current advice from Public Health England, we have decided that all final year students will continue to attend their placements as scheduled in order to successfully meet their learning outcome and to qualify on time. All first year students are not required to attend placements until further notice. For second year students, if you wish to remain on placement and are able to be supported in the practice environment, then we will support you to remain on placement.
If you identify as one of Public Health England vulnerable groups, including pregnant women then the above information does not apply and you must not go into placement. Please inform your link lecturer/placement lead by using this form.
Be reassured that the NHS and our local health placement trusts and organisations are extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and all student and staff welfare and safety remains a high priority.
We are closely following the latest advice and guidance issued by the UK Government and Public Health England.
We will continue monitoring the situation closely and will update you with any changes to our advice. Should you have any specific queries or concerns that are not addressed here please do not hesitate to contact the placement lead in the organisation where you have your placement or your course link tutor or clinical placement lead.
What do you need to do
- If you are undertaking a placement you should follow the local guidance from your placement provider including those for infection prevention and control and keep up-to-date on information regarding COVID-19.
- If you are on a practice placement, you may be invited to attend additional training, please ensure that you attend these and any placement inductions that you are invited to attend.
- Continue with personal protective and equipment measures as you would do for all patients in a clinical setting in accordance with local placement provider policy and particularly ensure that you adhere to effective hand hygiene.
- Continue to comply with the practice placement confidentiality guidance and with requirements of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
The current advice is for students in each year to follow the relevant guidance below:
- All final year students (i.e. year 3 BSc pre-registration programmes and year 2 MSc pre-registration and Degree Apprenticeships programmes Level 6 Placement students) to continue attending their placements
- All first year students (i.e. year 1 BSc pre-registration programmes and year 1 MSc pre-registration and Degree Apprenticeships programmes level placement, for Nursing, Part 1 Placement) are not required to attend placement until further notice.
- For year 2 students (i.e. year 2 BSc pre-registration programmes and MSc pre-registation and Degree apprenticeship level 5 placement, for Nursing, Part 2 Placement) if you would like to remain on placement and your personal circumstances allow it, we will support you to do so.
If your placement is stopped
Should any of our placement providers decide to stop temporarily offering placements, those students affected will be notified and alternative arrangements will be made to best support students to continue their studies until it is suitable for the student to return to the placement. Students affected may need to be reallocated to an alternative placement either within the same organisation or in a different organisation.
The University continues to follow advice from Health Education England, the Health and Care Professions Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and our local placement provider partners.
If you have any concerns, please do discuss these with your practice supervisor or your course Link tutor or clinical placement lead.
Concerns about your health
If you are currently on placement or have any concerns about attending placement, in the first instance please seek advice and guidance from your course link tutor, clinical placement lead or academic advisor. This should include concerns you have relating to an underlying health condition you have which may be negatively impacted by the coronavirus.
Deciding not to attend placement
If you have considered the risks and feel you are still unable to attend placement, please inform your course link tutor or clinical placement lead and your academic advisor of your plans. They will inform your placement of your absence.
Please complete the attendance sheet as normal and retain a log of the number of hours you are absent from placement due to self-isolation or infection.
Students with care responsibilities
If you have any concerns about loved ones regarding the COVID-19 virus please call the NHS 111 telephone helpline. The current situation is very fluid, and we are gaining new information all the time. Please attend placements as planned, however, if you have concerns about your welfare and those around please contact Hallam Help or your course link tutor, clinical placement lead and the NHS 111 telephone helpline.
Students with dependent responsibilities
We have received confirmation that students undertaking clinical healthcare courses are contributing to the national COVID-19 response and can confirm that these students are able to self-identify as key workers and therefore should receive relevant childcare support.
Impact on assessment
We understand that you would naturally be anxious that the absence from placement due to self-isolation or infection may impact on you being able to achieve your course required practice hours.
Depending on the number of placement hours missed and impact on progression and assessment, we will make individual decisions about any placement time that you will need to make up.
Please be assured that the University will work with you and local placement providers to help you achieve the required practice hours. Please contact your Academic Advisor who will provide you with advice and support.
Caring for COVID-19 patients
It is important that you strictly follow the guidance set out by your placement provider as the placement provider is equipped to manage any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. This includes adherence to the placement provider infection prevention and control procedures. All our providers have close links with infection control teams and Public Health England.
The University will continue to work with NHS Trust/placement organisations to review placements used by students and take any necessary action in order to ensure safe and effective placements for our students.
Should a placement be considered unsuitable, students will be removed from placement and alternative arrangements will be made for the students.
Should students come into contact with a patient with coronavirus whilst on placement please follow the placement provider agreed procedures and guidelines and the PHE stay at home guidance.
Support and advice from the placement provider and the University will continue to be made available to you. If you have any concerns, please liaise with your course link tutor or clinical placement lead.
Specialist COVID-19 training
You may be invited to attend additional training together with other healthcare professionals on infection prevention and control measures, and the safe wearing and removal of personal protective equipment (PPE). This may include training in putting on a face mask safely (fit testing).
This fit test training takes approximately 20 minutes. Training will be prioritised for high risk areas such as emergency departments, critical care, respiratory wards and areas required for isolation of patients.
Please ensure that you attend any training you are invited to. If you have any queries, please do contact your Placement Practice Supervisor.
Minimising risk to patients with suppressed immune systems
As a University we act upon feedback from the government, Health Education England and the local trusts with regards to your clinical placements. The current advice is for placements to continue as scheduled.
All clinical staff and clinical students receive mandatory training in hand hygiene and infection control. Following the placement provider policies and procedures ensures that risk is kept to a minimum. Therefore, all students should ensure they are up to date with the local trust policies and procedures and should attend any additional training that they are invited to attend in the trust/placement organisation.
What to do if you get COVID-19 symptoms
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection, however mild, you should stay home for seven days from when your symptoms started and follow the PHE stay at home guidance. If you come into contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 you will need to self-isolate. Please do not worry about not being on placement if you need to self-isolate. It is important that you do not go on placement during the self-isolation period.
Please notify the University of your absence in the usual way and please follow any notification arrangements set out by the placement organisation in relation to your self-isolation.If your symptoms worsen during home isolation, or you are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online.
Should you live in other shared accommodation and need to avoid contact with other people please follow the Public Health England guidance on staying at home.
Please contact your accommodation provider to ask for a refund of your costs. If you have any issues in claiming back your monies, please follow the online advice which is available here.