Our future health workforce relies on the current workforce to become competent and confident in a range of care settings2. Clinically based training opportunities provides a mechanism for not only the development of clinical skills but also professional socialisation2. Education and training is also considered a critical component of health care organisations obligations3.
Taking students on placements assists health professionals to stay current and engage in lifelong learning and remain competent to practise4. One of the best ways to develop your own knowledge is to have to teach others.
Taking students is not only about what you give to them. Students provide useful assistance on placement by undertaking real work activities and completing workplace projects that are beneficial to the organisation. This includes client care, quality audits and research. This helps not only meet their learning needs but can provide the workplace with hands-on help.
Positive student placement experiences have shown to be directly linked with recruitment and retention of graduates, particularly in rural areas5. Taking students on placement provides a great opportunity to assess a students potential as a future employee for your organisation. In addition many supervisors report having taken students to be a positive and rewarding experience6.
Taking students allows organisations to develop and maintain professional networks with education providers which can have positive impacts in other areas of the organisation. This may be as simple as library access or as exciting as partnering in research. A key feature of a good learning organisation is their willingness for, and approach to, student placements. A learning organisation assists all staff and students realise the translation of theory into practice.
The following quote from a supervisor explains further benefits of taking students.
I think we assume students know what knowledge and skills we are using as mental health nurses without really explaining to them what we are doing or sharing our thinking processes… I like doing that , telling them how I think and what I think about when listening to clients and their families, and how I and other nurses bring a nursing perspective to the multidisciplinary team. I like listening to what students think about our work and seeing if they see the relationship between what we do and what they are learning .. so I hope the students understand that we are busy but we are interested in them. I also hope the students we have are motivated and make the most of the placement. There is nothing harder than trying to spend time with a person who appears disinterested and doesn’t want to be here … …
(See Hunter New England Better Prepared, Better Placement)