FAQs Student 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 throughout our pandemic response.
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. However, additional considerations may be necessary over the coming months as risk profiles change within the health system. Given the seriousness of the delta variant, NSW Health may need to make decisions to pause placements for a limited period in certain facilities to manage risk to both students and patients. We will ensure that education providers are notified as early as possible, noting that these decisions may need to be made with immediate effect at times.
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.
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.
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].
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.
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.
Yes. Students can make a booking for vaccination by visiting the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker, which gives them access to a number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics across NSW including GP and NSW Health clinics. When booking their appointment, students need to identify as a ‘health care worker’. All students will need to provide proof of occupation, which can be in the form of a university ID card or an enrolment confirmation letter from the University.
The ClinConnect system has been updated to support student provision of COVID19 vaccination evidence alongside usual and ongoing mandatory vaccination requirements (as per NSW Health’s Occupational Assessment, Screening and Vaccination Against Specified Infectious Diseases policy).
NSW Health strongly recommends that all eligible students attending or planning to attend a placement in NSW Health obtain their COVID-19 vaccination, in consultation with a General Practitioner if required.
As per the usual procedure, students are required to comply with NSW Health’s Occupational Assessment, Screening and Vaccination Against Specified Infectious Diseases and must be assessed as compliant (or temporary compliant) before they attend (or are allowed to continue) a student placement in a NSW Health facility. Students should be aware that there is a recommended 7 day interval between vaccines. (ATAGI)
There is a recommended interval of at least 7 days between the administration of different vaccines. No temporary compliance period will be given for mandatory placement vaccination delays due to the COVID-19 vaccination. In order to ensure a student can commence a placement, it is important that any mandatory vaccinations as per the NSW Health Policy: Occupational Assessment, Screening and Vaccination Against Specified Infectious Diseases are prioritised. This includes the 2021 influenza vaccine for students scheduled to attend placements in high-risk category A areas.
To make a booking for your vaccine please visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker: https://covid-vaccine.healthdirect.gov.au/eligibility
The Eligibility Checker gives you access to a number of COVID-19 vaccination clinics across NSW including GP and NSW Health clinics.
When booking the appointment, please ensure you identify as a “health care worker”.
You will need to provide proof of occupation before you receive your vaccination. This can be via a letter from the Institute/Education Provider you are enrolled with or your Institute identification card.
For further information please go to www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines.