FAQs Clinical Placements and COVID-19
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and it is important to regularly check the latest updates on the NSW Health website.
Yes. At this time, NSW Health is supportive of the continuation of safe, risk assessed student placements in NSW Health facilities and affiliated organisations wherever possible.
Student placements are an essential element of educating and training our future health workforce. It is important that health students can commence and continue their placements to ensure they can meet their registration and accreditation requirements.
For students to attend their placements in NSW Health health facilities, the Clinical Placements in NSW Health Policy still applies. This includes:
- A NSW Health Student Placement Agreement (SPA) must be in place between the Public Health Organisation and Education Provider.
- Students must be compliant with the relevant mandatory requirements of NSW Health Policy directives and training prior to the commencement of a student placement.
- ClinConnect must be used to book and manage all student placements taking place.
Patient, staff and student safety, well-being and quality of care is to be prioritised in all situations.
Decisions around the continuation and safety of student placements should continue to be based on risk assessments and consideration of local circumstances. In terms of risk assessment, students should be treated in the same way as existing staff and not unnecessarily excluded.
The COVID-19 screening requirements for NSW Healthcare facilities should be referred to for full details of the necessary screening procedures.
Local Health Districts (LHDs) and Specialty Health Networks (SNs) and other Public Health Organisations are encouraged to implement local reporting processes in their facilities to capture any symptoms in the student cohort and make it clear to students that if unwell, not to attend the placement.
COVID-19 specific assessment considerations include, but are not limited to, assessments of social distancing and/or use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), adequate PPE supplies, supervision capacity, and hosting students in alternative settings.
For the latest information, follow the guidance outlined in the Response and Escalation Framework.
It is the responsibility of the Local Health Districts and Specialty Health Networks and other Public Health Organisations to check the latest advice and determine the guidelines for wearing masks within non-aged care facilities and communicate these requirements with Education Providers.
NSW Health organisations should refer to the latest COVID-19 Information for NSW Health staff for guidance.
Yes. At this time, NSW Health supports safe, risk assessed student placements in residential aged care facilities and multi-purpose centres wherever possible subject to the requirements in clause 6 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order (4) 2020 [NSW].
Students must wear a fitted surgical mask at all times when they are in an indoor area of a residential aged care facility.
Please refer to the advice to residential aged care facilities for more information.
Where NSW Health clinical services are reduced or suspended for safety reasons, weighing up the capacity of clinicians to manage students and the ability for students to achieve learning outcomes may be necessary.
Education Providers are asked to consider how they may assist hospitals to facilitate student placements, particularly if supervision concerns or time of placements are raised.
It may be possible to facilitate students in alternative placement settings. Where appropriate and necessary, the relevant NSW Health service is encouraged to identify any alternative placement arrangements in consultation with Education Provider partners.
Yes. In terms of risk assessment, students should be treated in the same way as existing staff.
COVID-19 health screening involves a symptom check, a temperature check and an exposure assessment. Additional measures for COVID-19 screening at NSW healthcare facilities will help identify anyone who may require testing and increase current layers of protection for patients, staff and visitors.
No. It is not mandatory for students to complete the PPE modules before attending a placement however students are strongly encouraged to complete them.
Students can access the modules (PPE training videos) via the HETI Moodle system (different to My Health Learning) or the Clinical Excellence Commission website (CEC). There are other good resources for students regarding Personal Protective Equipment on the CEC site. The modules are not available to students on the My Health Learning system.
Yes. Under a temporary Regulation for the COVID-19 emergency under section 17 of the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (NSW), the categories of people authorised to witness NSW statutory declarations have been expanded to include those who may witness Commonwealth statutory declarations. For further information on who can witness a statutory declaration, see the Federal Government Guidelines.
In addition, the Regulation provides that NSW statutory declarations can temporarily be witnessed by video conferencing technology (eg Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Zoom). The witness must still see a person signing the document in real time and endorse the document by specifying how the document was witnessed and that the document was witnessed in accordance with section 14G of the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (NSW). For further details on these temporary requirements and their application, please see Part 2B of the Act. The temporary Regulation will expire on 31 December 2021, unless changed by further regulation or resolution of Parliament.
The provisions outlined in the Regulation apply to overseas applicants and overseas students applying for a position / placement in NSW Health where they are required to provide a NSW statutory declaration regarding any criminal charges or convictions.
NSW Health will also apply the above provisions to relevant Commonwealth statutory declarations, in line with current advice from the Federal Attorney-General’s Department.
The latest advice for health workers, staff, healthcare students and volunteers diagnosed with and / or showing symptoms of COVID-19 or in contact with a COVID-19 case is available on the NSW Health website.
NSW Health is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation for NSW. Any changes to the advice on student placements will be communicated to student placement stakeholders.
The latest information about NSW Health student placements is available on this website.
Yes. While there is a legal requirement in place for Healthcare workers and students that work in a State Government residential aged care facility to have an annual influenza vaccination, Policy PD2020_017 Occupational Assessment, Screening and Vaccination against Specified Infectious Diseases mandates that these workers must be vaccinated provided the vaccine is available.
Workers or students working in a State Government residential aged care facility that are unable to receive the influenza vaccine due to a medical contraindication as per the online Australian Immunisation Handbook must provide evidence from their doctor or treating specialist. During the influenza season these workers must wear a surgical/procedural mask while providing patient care or be deployed while the legal requirement is in place.
Workers or students working in a State Government residential aged care facility who refuse annual influenza vaccination must not work in the facility while the legal requirement is in place.
Please follow the information on the NSW Health website.
The National principles for clinical education during the COVID-19 pandemic support and encourage student placements to continue where this is safe and possible to do so. They set out national principles to guide the decisions of professions, accreditation authorities, education providers and health services about student clinical education during the COVID-19 pandemic response. This includes safety principles to protect patients, students and staff working in health services while supporting the delivery of high quality care to patients during COVID-19.
Students will be prioritised for vaccination according to whether they meet the criteria for vaccination in Phase 1a or 1b. The vaccine will then be offered to them in that Phase based on the state of the rollout across the state and depending on their placement location.
For the latest information, refer to the COVID vaccination information for NSW healthcare workers.