Nursing placements

All of our clinical placements welcome student nurses and student nursing associates as part of the healthcare team.

You’ll be given many learning opportunities to work with and gain insight and understanding into how professionals work as part of a wider team, for example working with medical staff, multi-disciplinary community teams, physiotherapists, clinical nurse specialists, operating department practitioners, admission and discharge teams.

The placements that you experience during the course will equip you to work as a registered nurse or nursing associate (depending on your NMC registration) in an area of your choice, such as a hospital, community, primary care setting, private or voluntary sector, within a specialist team or GP surgery. When you qualify, you may wish to undertake further training. For nursing associates this may include becoming a Registered Nurse in any of the fields of nursing (adult, child, mental health, or learning disability). For Registered Nurses this may include areas such as Health Visiting or School Nursing, or advanced practitioner and specialist roles.

The development and assessment of nursing proficiencies in clinical practice is a key requirement of all our nursing and nursing associate courses, as well as being the most rewarding element of your course. You’ll spend 50% of your learning time in clinical practice, developing clinical knowledge, skills and behaviours. Through this you will develop confidence as a key member of the professional healthcare team in a range of practice placements within community, primary and hospital settings, including the NHS and private, voluntary and independent sectors.

Over the three years Registered Nurse students have two blocks of core placements each year (each lasting 7-9 weeks, 12 weeks in Year 3). In Year 2 you may opt to take part in a 4 week, self-funded, overseas placement with Work the World.

For Dual Registration students, you'll complete two Year 2s, in each of your specialisms, either Child and Mental Health or Adult and Mental Health.

For nursing associate students, you'll have two blocks of core placement each year (lasting six weeks and ten weeks respectively). These will provide opportunities to work with a range of different service users across all fields of nursing.

This a full-time course, covering 52 weeks each year (40 weeks each year for nursing associates) and full attendance is expected for all elements of the course. You may like to have a look at our placement maps to get an idea of the different locations available.

Nursing associate

Essex

If you choose our Chelmsford campus, your clinical placements will be in or around ChelmsfordSouthendBasildonHarlow or Colchester and you’ll be allocated to one of these five geographical placement areas, throughout your two years. The experiences will be designed to provide you with the opportunity to work with a range of different service users in different settings, both in the community and in-patient environments. Examples of these may include adult surgical or medical wards, mental health wards, paediatric wards, specialist and emergency care, GP surgeries, community nursing teams caring for adults, children, people with mental health conditions, and those with learning disabilities in their own homes.

Cambridge

If you choose our Cambridge campus your clinical placements will be in or around South and Mid Cambridgeshire, including Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the Royal Papworth Hospital, Hinchingbrooke Hospital, and the surrounding community areas. The experiences will be designed to provide you with the opportunity to work with a range of different service users in different settings, both in the community and in-patient environments. Examples of these may include adult surgical or medical wards, mental health wards, paediatric wards, specialist and emergency care, GP surgeries, community nursing teams caring for adults, children, people with mental health conditions, and those with learning disabilities in their own homes.

Year 1

In Year 1 you’ll have two core placements for six and 10 weeks respectively, during which you will follow a fixed roster to work with your Practice Supervisors. These shifts will average 37.5 hours per week and include the 24 hour cycle of care, including bank holidays and weekends, as well as night shifts. Below are some skills which you may cover in Year 1, depending on your placement area.

  • First Aid
  • Basic Life Support
  • Communication skills - becoming self-aware, developing listening skills
  • Infection control, Hand hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Assessment of nutritional status
  • Assessment of elimination needs, urinalysis, catheter care, prevention of infection
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Care of patient following death
  • Medicines administration
  • Injection technique
  • Pain assessment

Year 2

In Year 2 you’ll have 2 core placements for six and 10 weeks respectively, during which will follow a fixed roster to work with your Practice Supervisors. These shifts will average 37.5 hours per week and include the 24 hour cycle of care, including bank holidays and weekends, as well as night shifts. Below are some skills which you may cover in Year 2, depending on your placement area.

  • Fluid management
  • Continence management
  • Wound assessment and care
  • Symptom management
  • Care plan development and use of care pathways
  • Discharge planning
  • Blood transfusion
  • ECGs
  • Pre and post-operative care
  • Recognising the deteriorating patient
  • Tracheostomy care
Read more about read more about nursing associate.

Adult nursing

Essex

If you choose our Chelmsford campus, your clinical placements will be in or around ChelmsfordSouthendBasildonHarlow or Colchester and you’ll be allocated to one of these five geographical placement areas, throughout your 3 years. In the acute hospital settings you’ll experience inpatient services, such as surgicalmedicalolder person and specialist and emergency care. Within the same geographical area you’ll also have a placement with practitioners within the community, such as District Nursesprimary care settings, such as GP surgeries and the independent sector who provide services and support to people in nursing homescommunity hospitals as well as their own homes.

Cambridge

If you choose our Cambridge campus you’ll experience inpatient services, such as surgicalmedical and specialist and emergency care at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Royal Papworth Hospital. Alongside this you’ll also work with a team of specialists within the Community Teams and Independent Sector who provide services and support to people in their homes across South and Mid Cambridgeshire.

Peterborough

If you choose our Peterborough campus you’ll experience inpatient services, such as surgicalmedical and specialist and emergency care at Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough City Hospital. Alongside this you’ll also work with a team of specialists within the Community Teams and Independent Sector who provide services and support to people in their homes across North and Mid Cambridgeshire.

Read more about read more about adult nursing.

Mental health nursing

Essex

If you choose our Chelmsford campus your clinical placements will be within Inpatient Services, such as Adult Acute AdmissionAdult Rehabilitation, and Specialist Services such as Inpatient Eating Disorders and Child and Adolescent Services located across NorthSouthSouth WestSouth East and Mid Essex. Alongside this you’ll also work with a team of experienced community specialists such as the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment team, Drug and Alcohol team or Early Intervention team who provide services and support to clients across the Essex circuit.

Cambridge

If you choose our Cambridge campus your clinical placements will be within the Inpatient Services, such as Adult Acute AdmissionAdult RehabilitationSpecialist Services such as Inpatient Eating Disorders and Child and Adolescent Services located across SouthMid and North Cambridgeshire. Alongside this you’ll also work with a team of experienced community specialists such as the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment team, Drug and Alcohol team or Early Intervention team who provide services and support to clients across South, Mid and North Cambridgeshire.

Read more about read more about mental health nursing.

Child nursing

Essex

If you choose our Chelmsford campus in Essex, your clinical placements will be in or around ChelmsfordSouthend, BasildonHarlow or Colchester and you’ll be allocated to one of these five geographical placement areas. In the acute hospital settings you’ll experience the inpatient services such as elective and non-elective (emergency) care to infants and children. Within the same geographical area you’ll also have a placement with practitioners within the community who are experienced child specialists such as Health VisitorsSchool Nurses and Paediatric Community Teams who provide services and support to children aged 0-19 across Essex.

Cambridge

If you choose our Cambridge campus, you’ll experience all aspects of child care provision across the Cambridgeshire circuit. You’ll experience inpatient child services, such as elective and non-elective (emergency) care to infants and children at HinchingbrookeAddenbrooke’s Hospital or Peterborough City Hospital. Alongside this you’ll also work with a team of experienced child specialists such as Health VisitorsSchool Nurses and Paediatric Community Teams who provide services and support to children aged 0-19 across NorthSouth and Mid Cambridgeshire.

Read more about read more about child nursing.

Year 1

In Year 1 you’ll have two core placements for 7-9 weeks each, which will follow your Practice Supervisor’s shift pattern, which will average 37.5 hours per week. Your placement will include the 24 hour cycle of care and will include bank holidays and weekends, as well as night shifts. Below are some skills which you may cover in Year 1, depending on your placement area.

  • First Aid
  • Basic Life Support
  • Communication skills - becoming self-aware, developing listening skills
  • Infection control, Hand hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Assessment of nutritional status
  • Assessment of elimination needs, urinalysis, catheter care, prevention of infection
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Care of patient following death
  • Drug administration
  • Injection technique
  • Pain assessment
Read more about read more about year 1.

Year 2

In Year 2 you’ll have 2 core placements for 7-9 weeks each, which will follow your Practice Supervisor’s shift pattern, which will average 37.5 hours per week.  Your placement will include the 24 hour cycle of care and will include bank holidays and weekends, as well as night shifts. Below are some skills which you may cover in Year 2, depending on your placement area.

Adult nursing

  • Fluid management
  • Continence management
  • Wound assessment and care
  • Symptom management
  • Care plan development and use of care pathways
  • Discharge planning
  • Blood transfusion
  • ECGs
  • Pre and post-operative care
  • Recognising the deteriorating patient
  • Tracheostomy care

Child nursing

  • Communication skills
  • BLS, (adult, child, baby)
  • Management of pain (alternative approaches)
  • Catheterisation
  • Enteral feeding, ng insertion, gastrostomy
  • Neonatal care
  • Assessment of growth and development
  • Pre and post-operative care
  • Blood transfusions
  • Neuro observations
  • Neurovascular observations

Mental health nursing

  • Medicines administration/ injection techniques
  • Breakaway Techniques
  • Use of assessment tools
  • Revision of urinalysis
  • Blood capillary glucose testing
  • Understanding blood results
  • Mindfulness and relaxation skills
  • Basic Life Support
Read more about read more about year 2.

Year 3

In Year 3 you’ll have 2 core placements for seven - twelve weeks each, which will follow your Practice Supervisor’s shift pattern, which will average 37.5 hours per week. Your placement will include the 24 hour cycle of care and will include bank holiday and weekends, as well as night shifts. Below are some skills which you may cover in Year 3, depending on your placement area.

  • Prioritisation skills and time management exercise
  • Sustainability of health resources
  • Diagnostic skills and using assessment tools, NICE guidelines, red flag, findings
  • Medicines management -human factors – improving design
  • Preparation for venepuncture
  • Preparation for cannulation
Read more about read more about year 3.

Support on clinical placements

During clinical placements, you’ll always be supervised by registered health professionals, who will support and guide you through the use of supervision, teaching and coaching skills. You’ll be assessed on your knowledge and skills against required competencies by practice assessors who are registered nurses and who have undertaken training for this role.

We're committed to supporting you during your practice experience. We've worked in partnership with our placement providers to invest in a number of strategies to ensure the quality of the learning experience.

Travel to clinical placements

While we make every effort to minimise the travelling distance involved, it is important that you have considered the implications of this as many students may find that they have to travel a distance to their placement. 50% of course involves working shifts and travelling to placements which are in hospitals or the community. This includes working Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays as well as night shifts and very early shifts. If you accept a place on the course, it is your responsibility to plan your journey and make sure you are on time for your shifts.

Annual Leave

You’ll get seven weeks of fixed annual leave each year, in line with the academic calendar. These weeks may not coincide with school holidays. It is not recommended that you book holiday outside of this time.

Attendance

The NMC require you to do a minimum 2,300 theory hours and 2,300 practice learning hours to complete the course. Therefore, your attendance will be monitored very closely. You are expected to demonstrate punctuality as part of your development as a professional and therefore arrive at University on time for your lectures and at placement on time for your practice experience.

Uniform policy and personal patient care

Presenting yourself as a professional is important. You’ll be asked to follow the uniform policy at University and on placement. In many clinical areas, in order to minimise the risk of infection, clothing is not permitted below the elbows. Please talk to one of our tutors about this if you have questions or would like more information. As a student nurse or student nursing associate we’ll expect you to provide personal care to male, female and transgender patients.

Change of field and deferrals

You should choose the field of nursing that you wish to study carefully as this will be the field that you’ll work in for the three years of the course. If you are unsure of what field you want to study, please make sure that you ask us for advice before you apply.

The nursing associate course is not field specific and you will work with service users across all fields during your two years.