School of Health Sciences - PODIATRY Practice Based Learning Handbook


Welcome to practice-based learning. The term practice-based learning is used to describe the placement-based aspect of Podiatry student learning. This manual is designed to be used by students studying on the UG MPod, BSc (Hons) and MSc Pre Registration programmes in Podiatry offered at Queen Margaret University.

The purpose of this handbook is to bring together the following information:

  • An overview of practice-based learning
  • An overview of roles and responsibilities of the student and supporting staff while on placement
  • An insight into the expectations of practice-based learning.

As in all of our university-based modules, Hub@QMU plays a crucial role in the support of student learning and in the storage of relevant information.  There will be one generic hub site, called Podiatric Clinical Practice, which will have information common to both the MPod, BSc (Hons) Podiatry and MSc Pre-Registration students, as well as programme and level specific areas.

 Information on clinical rotas, placement timetables and location of specific external clinical placements is not included in this handbook, but can be accessed via the Hub alongside copies of the relevant placement assessment forms and details of any additional assessment or university based activities.  As placements information can change at short notice, please get into a routine of checking your QMU emails and the Hub for updates.

Whilst perhaps not reading it all at once, students are required to read the content of this document and should be able to access it throughout their practice-based learning placements.

We wish all students well in their studies, and hope you find practice-based learning both stimulating and challenging.

Carla McArdle – MPOD Programme Lead

Evelyn Weir – BSc (Hons) Programme Lead

Joseph McIntyre – Clinical Lead

*Please note that the information contained within this handbook is representative of what ‘typically’ occurs with respect to practice placements on the outlined podiatry programmes here at QMU. However, changes may occur depending on the academic year, external pressures/changes (i.e. changes in organisations we link with to provide placements i.e. NHS boards etc).

 Thus, whilst this booklet will give an ‘overview’ of what practice placements will/should look like; your clinical module lead, and overall clinical lead, will inform you of any changes specific to your module/academic year.

Introduction to Practice-based Learning

Currently placements in the first two years of the MPod and BSc (Hons) Podiatry programme and in the first year of the MSc Podiatry (Pre-reg) will take place in Inchkeith house, Edinburgh.  Inchkeith House (IKH) is a NHS community podiatry clinic.   Senior students (UG MPod and BSc (Hons) Level 3 and 4, and MSc Pod Pre-reg Level 2) will attend a variety of placement venues which will include our QMU podiatry clinic, IKH and external placements. The address of Inchkeith House is; 139 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EH6 8NP.  The podiatry clinics are on the top two floors.  You will be given a code to enter into the keypad to open the door.  Details of all external placement allocations and geographical locations will be provided on the Hub.

Your first exposure to the clinical area starts in the semester 1 of your first year when you will be in Inchkeith House.  This allows students to view the professional and clinical world, giving some exposure to key professional issues. Whilst your role in the placement will not involve patient care or patient contact, students are expected to undertake basic tasks as detailed in their programme specific foundation modules and to conduct themselves in a professional manner. You will then reflect and use your experiences to undertake your respective assessments using the experiences from within the clinical setting. 

You will then complete various placements over the four years (MPod, BSc (Hons) Podiatry or 2 years MSc Pre-Registration), of your degree course.

TABLE 1 Placements which students will undertake

Duration  UG Mood and BSc (hons)

Approximate notional placement hours

Year 1 Observation placements in QMU/IKH podiatry clinics – simulation and familiarisation

104 hours

24 hours (orthotics lab)

24 hours (reflective activity)

Year 2 External placements, placements in QMU podiatry clinics and Rogerson's placements. 4 week block in NHS GG&C in summer (likely June)

164 hours

28 hours (orthotics lab)

26 hours (local anaesthetic practical and theory)

48 hours (reflective activity)

Year 3 Observational placements, external placements, placements in QMU podiatry clinics, BLOCK PLACEMENTS (see appendix 1)

243 hours

24 hours (orthotics lab)

48 hours (reflective activity)

Year 4  



MSc Podiatry (Pre reg)

Year 1

Observation placements in QMU podiatry clinics – simulation and familiarisation

External placements, placements in QMU podiatry clinics

268 hours

30 hours (orthotics lab)

26 hours (local anaesthetic practical and theory)

72 hours (reflective activity)
Year 2

External placements, placements in QMU podiatry clinics. There will also be an additional specialist placement for MSc students.

316 hours

24 hours (orthotics lab)

60 hours (reflective activity)

200 hours (20 credits Advancing Practice module)

The Practice-Based Learning (PBL) programme is designed to allow progression towards independent practice and learning as the course develops. The learning outcomes for the podiatric clinical practice modules demonstrate your progression toward becoming eligible for HCPC registration. It is important that all students familiarise themselves with the staged approach of the practice based modules so that they are aware of the progression that is expected of them.

The Practice-Based Learning programme will require the student to develop and demonstrate a range of professional  and podiatry skills, which will be assessed by experienced podiatrists.  Students are also assessed on their professional behaviour in line with the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (HCPC, 2016). In addition, there may be other activities, dependent on the programme and stage, which will be used to deepen learning and professional development.

Module Descriptors & Staged Learning Outcomes

The Attributes of Performance and marking criteria for assessment of clinical practice modules change dependent on the Year and Level of Placement. Full module descriptors are available on the Hub.

 Table 2.  The Practice Based Learning Modules and the corresponding Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level

MPod and BSc(Hons) SCQF Level MSc Pre Registration

SCQF Level

Podiatric Clinical Practice 1

7 Podiatric Clinical Practice A


Podiatric Clinical Practice 2

8 Podiatric Clinical Practice B


Podiatric Clinical Practice 3

9 Advancing Clinical Practice


Podiatric Clinical Practice 4



Advancing Clinical Practice



It is these staged learning outcomes that serve to facilitate development as a podiatrist. This enables progress in terms of problem solving and clinical reasoning, skill development, acquiring autonomy, independence and evaluating effectiveness of intervention. The different module descriptors and learning outcomes take account of the individuality of the different modules. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the content, particularly with regard to the aims and learning outcomes for each module.

QMU based Learning

Practice-based learning does not stand alone but is integral to, and supported by, your wider university-based studies. Throughout the programme there are learning opportunities for you to enhance your clinical studies within other modules and you can learn from them while also bringing your learning and experiences from the practice setting to these classes

The Practice-based Module Team

At present, all lecturers at QMU are HCPC registered podiatrists and are directly involved in the clinical supervision and assessment of students on placements at IKH and in our QMU MSK and Nail Surgery Clinics.  NHS podiatrists are also involved in the supervision of all students throughout all areas and aspects of their clinical placements.


Ruth Cooper is the Clinical Placement administrator for Podiatry

Ruth Cooper Email 

0131 474 0000


Joseph McIntyre is the clinical placement lead for all placements

Joseph McIntyre Email

0131 474 0000

Sara Henderson Email Address and Sharon McMurray Email Address  are the NHS practice educators on site at IKH and are involved in all clinical modules

NHS Lothian Inchkeith House clinic reception      01314464637

QMU Clinic reception                                         0131 474 0097

QMU podiatry lecturers are the module leaders of all podiatric clinical practice modules across all programmes and are directly involved in their delivery.


Student responsibilities in relation to Practice-based Learning

Students must at all times pay cognisance to their responsibilities within Practice-based Learning. Failure to do so will adversely affect your placement experience and learning and could lead to failure and, ultimately, termination of placement.


The student is responsible for:-

  • Adhering to the HCPC Code of Conduct, Performance, and Ethics (2016)
  • Adhering to all relevant placement site policies and procedures
  • Ensuring they have professional indemnity insurance in place via student COP membership
  • Ensuring the patient has consented to participate in their learning
  • Informing their Personal Academic Tutor [PAT] of any issue that may be impacting on development and learning on placement.
  • Attending the placement during the appointed time and date
  • Reporting any possible anticipated absences from placement with the Module Co-ordinator and Programme Leader/s in advance of placement.

In relation to absence, the student is responsible for

  • Notifying the placement site of any absence due to illness at the earliest possible time (before the start of the clinic unless impossible to do so)
  • Informing the podiatry placement administrators (podiatry placement administrators Email)
  • of any update required on placement information held on Hub@QMU.
  • Informing the podiatry placement administrators (podiatry placement administrators Email) and Joseph McIntyre(Joseph McIntyre Email), and your clinical module lead of any absences from placement (copy all of the outlined stakeholders into the one email)
  • If you are unable to attend IKH, you must contact Inchkeith House between 8:00-8:15am to advise the staff you will not be in. Please call 0131 446 4637 and leave a message on the answering machine if no one is able to take your call. (You should attempt to call at least 3 times before resorting to leaving a message). You should also email podiatry placements, Joseph McIntyre, and your clinical module lead (as per the previous bullet point)


Please refer to Appendix 2 for the QMU/NHS Lothian Placement Code of Conduct which must be followed at all times by students across the three programmes.

Placement Specific Responsibilities

Prior to placement, the student is responsible for

  • Ensuring availability of all aspects of your placement passport documentation
  • Accessing placement information held on the Hub
  • Undertaking all required placement preparation
  • Ensuring appropriate uniform/equipment is available for placement
  • Checking the finalised rota published on the Hub which will indicate when you must attend placements, swapping with your fellow students is not permitted and will result in attendance being marked absent
  • Arranging IT access and training as applicable following information for your placement location


Attendance records during placements

In order to meet standards established and monitored by professional bodies it should be noted that by the end of your programme, you must have demonstrated that you have successfully met the learning outcomes of each of the placement modules and have accrued approximately 1000 hours of practice-based learning education.  

If difficulties arise with placement hours there should be timely discussion with the podiatry lecturing staff.  Attendance on placement will be recorded at all times by the podiatrists supervising your practice.

 Students must not book holidays during clinical modules, or the assessment and reassessment periods. For MPod/BSc (Hons) students, if you miss a significant proportion of your clinical placement(s), it may be that you are required to make this up between June-August in the following summer. If the volume of hours missed is significant enough, it may not be possible for you to make this up during the summer, and you may be required to retrieve the clinical hours in the following academic year, as a part time student (this is where you do not progress into the next year of study, but come back to complete the clinical module before you can progress into the next year of study).

Students are required to adhere to the normal working hours in operation at the placement site. They must recognise that flexibility on the part of the placement provider is not to be expected and is only at the discretion of the practice educator.

Absence from Placement

There is a programme specific regulation that states

 To be eligible to be assessed for a practice-based learning placement, a student must normally complete 100% of the stated available placement hours

In general, you are expected to attend for all the available hours on placement and your attendance hours will be monitored. However, it is recognised that there will be occasions when attendance at placement would be not advisable due to ill health. In this case you should NOT attend placement until fit to do so.

If you are aware of an expected absence on placement (examples in the past have included attendance at a family event such as a wedding) this MUST be discussed with the module coordinator AND Programme Leader as soon as possible prior to the absence. Such absence requests will be assessed on an individual case by case basis by the programme team and you must abide by the decisions made regarding attendance at placement. Failure to do so will be seen as unprofessional behaviour and result in a Fail in that component of your placement assessment.

Absences due to required meetings, examinations or attendance at assessments within the University will not be counted as available placement hours. For examinations etc this will be for the day of the exam only and further absence MUST be discussed with QMU.

Students are reminded that in all instances you may wish to consider whether Extenuating Circumstances Regulations are applicable and would be more appropriate for your circumstances regarding placement absence. The QMU Guide to Extenuating Circumstances applications may assist you in this decision.  These applications should be submitted online, and normally only the Programme Leader will see the details Extenuating Circumstances Policy 

Professional Conduct and Behaviour

All students on clinical placement are assessed on their professional conduct. The assessment of this is based on the HCPC Code of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016) [broken external link]

A document for students produced by the HCPC helps to place this document more clearly into the context of the role of the student and how this may apply within practice-based learning – HCPC Guidance on Conduct and Ethic for Students 

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of this code of conduct and to adhere to it. Students should observe andrecognise the limits of their level of competence as they have a legal duty to be clear regarding competence if asked to do tasks beyond current ability.

During practice-based learning, students are required to abide by the principles of and the procedures adopted by the particular authority.  Students must comply with arrangements specified and/or negotiated with their practice educator and other relevant personnel.  They should conduct themselves, and undertake agreed work, in a manner commensurate with their student status, respecting the rights of patients/clients and their carers.   Students are also expected to co-operate with practice educators, podiatry staff, members of the multi-disciplinary team and university staff.

The nature of the work undertaken by students and the conditions to be met for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council on graduation, require specific standards of conduct and behaviour associated with professional status and practice.

Examples of professional unsuitability include:-

  • Conduct that could bring into disrepute the profession of podiatry and its allied professions and/or is prejudicial to the best interests of patients
  • Breaches of confidentiality, misuse of confidential material relating to a service user
  • Inappropriate emotional involvement with patients
  • Serious negligence, which causes unacceptable loss, damage or puts the health and safety of patients, staff or visitors at risk
  • Theft, deliberate misuse or damage to equipment or materials
  • Incapacity for work due to the influence of alcohol or use or possession of illegal drugs
  • Inadequate application due to poor motivation and/or to ill health.

Students will be referred to the Code of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (Health & Care Professions Council 2016) and reference made to the appropriate sections.  Please remember that your conduct applies to what you do outside of QMU as well as on campus, and this also includes your social media postings.   You should also familiarise yourself with the QMU Code of Conduct for Students 


Points of Guidance for failure and/or early termination of placement - (Due to unprofessional behavior or unsafe practice.)

Informal stage

The student’s practice supervisor/practice educator should discuss areas causing concern and requiring consideration with the student, setting informal improvements and a date for follow up discussion. This should be recorded on the QMU Cause for Concern form (appendix 3) by the practice educator which should be returned to QMU at the end of the placement. If this does not remove the concerns about professional suitability or patient safety, the practice educator will discuss the matter further with the student and the personal academic tutor, indicating the nature of the concerns and specifying an improvement period. This discussion may also involve the module co-ordinator and Programme Leader. In some circumstances specific action may be required, for example, production

of a GP letter or medical certificate.  This will be recorded on the student’s placement assessment form and will be signed by the practice educator as well as the student.  It is imperative that the University is notified as soon as concerns are identified.

In order that students are given reasonable opportunity for development the informal period should be determined, taking into account:-

  • the time by which the student can reasonably effect a required development
  • the practice educator’s need to make a suitable assessment of the development
  • the likelihood of any reoccurrence
  • any other factors relevant to the individual situation.

Formal stage

This stage is for those behaviours that have not been resolved by the actions taken in the Informal stage.  The module co-ordinator and the Personal Academic Tutor will refer the issues that have arisen to the Programme Leader, if this has not already occurred.    At this point the student may be required to take time out from the clinical placement or the placement terminated if deemed irretrievable.

During the final stages of the placement, if the situation is deemed sufficiently significant, or remains unresolved, the student will have deemed to have failed the section within the placement assessment form relating to Professional behaviour.

However, if there are concerns regarding professional unsuitability remaining, then further action may be considered including reference to the Queen Margaret University Fitness to Practise Policy.

Fitness to Practise Policy

The Fitness to Practise Policy was approved by University Senate in 2009. More information can be obtained on the QMU Quality Website 

Discontinuation of clinical placement

It is hoped that termination of a placement once started is a rare event. However it can occur and a practice educator may be unable to facilitate a placement for a variety of reasons such as:-

  • The placement becomes untenable and a pass unachievable because of either repeated unsafe practice by the student within the placement area or repeated breaches by the student of the HCPC Code of Conduct Performance and Ethics (2008);
  • Staffing shortages;
  • Outbreak of infectious disease;
  • Other hazards that pose a risk to the safety of the student and others; 
  • Student performance causing concern
  • Demands within placement site that result in placement support being untenable

Where this is the case, placement providers should immediately notify the University and highlight their concerns at the earliest opportunity.  An appropriate action plan will be developed taking

account of the reasons for possible termination of the placement e.g. either support the continuation of the placement if possible, or if appropriate finding an alternative placement area for the student.

Possible actions taken to support the current placement might be:-

  • The placement continues with extra support from the placement provider and the University;
  • Another practice educator is able to facilitate the placement for the student in the same practice area;
  • Another practice educator is able to facilitate the placement for the student in a different placement area;
  • The placement is terminated to be undertaken at another time dependant on decisions made by the relevant Examination Board.

In the instance of a pass standard being unachievable resulting in a placement failure, consultation between the student, the Personal Academic Tutor, the module co-ordinator and the programme leader will take place to identify the most appropriate way forward.

Failing a placement

When a student has failed an aspect of their clinical module then the repeated assessment normally will become the Diet 2 and be marked at the same level of attributes as for the failed placement. The repeated placement and assessments will normally take place during the summer (June-August).  When a student has failed their clinical module due to attendance and the hours required to reach the threshold are significant (several weeks), then it may not be possible for the student to retrieve the hours within the same academic year, and they may have to retrieve the clinical module the following year (this would mean the student could not progress into the next year until the clinical module has been retrieved the following year, thus delaying progression to the next level by at least 1 year).

For example a fail in level 3 placement due to lack of attendance, and therefore being unable to be assessed continually throughout the placement, may result in a Diet 2 retrieval in the summer (June-August). However, should the hours needing retrieved extend (usually beyond 2 weeks), then it may not be possible for this to be retrieved during the summer. The student may have to come back as a part time student in the next academic year, to complete the outstanding clinical hours/clinical module. Only then (usually the following academic year, if they pass) can the student progress into the next level.  All components of the clinical modules must be passed in order to pass the module in its entirety, and the clinical modules must be passed in order to progress into the next year of study (clinical modules cannot be carried into the next year).

It should be noted that Diet 2 placements are capped in the same way as all Diet 2 assessments.


Complaints procedure

The University has a Complaints Handling Procedure which can be found here: Complaints Handling Procedure

The Procedure has three stages: frontline resolution, investigation and external review.  If a student has a complaint, they should discuss this with someone in the area which the student wishes to complain about (for example, for a complaint relating to the podiatry programme, this should be discussed with the Programme Leader or Module Coordinator for the module concerned).  The complaint will be considered under frontline resolution (unless complex) and a response will usually be given within 5 working days.  If the complaint is complicated, it is the student’s choice to take it to investigation stage immediately or it may be referred to the investigation stage by the person the student determined to discuss the complaint with at frontline resolution.  Should the complaint be considered under the investigation stage, a response will normally be received within 20 working days.

Any queries about the complaints procedure or any complaints written on the Complaints Form may be emailed to Complaints Email Address 

Standards of Practice and Conduct

At all times students must adhere to The Health Profession Councils ‘Standards of Conduct, Performance, and Ethics (2016)’ and the COP 14 Standards of Clinical Practice (COP).    Identified here are 2 key areas that students should be aware of daily on placement.

Patient's Consent to Treatment

Gaining a patient’s consent to treatment is a fundamental aspect of practice and as such is contained within both the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2008). The HCPC Standards (2016) states ‘You must make sure that you have consent from service users or other appropriate authority before you provide care, treatment or other services’.

The HCPC Guidance on Conduct and Ethics for Students (2010) expands by indicating that this is a 2 stage process-

  • You should make sure that before you carry out any intervention that the service user is aware that you are a student.
  • You should make sure that the service user has given their permission for the intervention to be carried out by a student

A change to the COP standards of clinical practice outlined;

That podiatrist needs to obtain verbal consent at every treatment episode and crucially also needs to record this in the notes. This can be a simple as the podiatrist saying to the patient “I am just going to cut your toe nails - is that OK?” The patient would then reply “Yes, that’s fine”. Then on the notes ‘Verbal consent gained for treatment’ should be written in the patient record card. The reason for this is that implied consent (for example a patient sitting in the treatment chair, or removing their socks) no longer exists or is recognised in law.

Record Keeping

Standard 10 from the HCPC Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics (2016) states:

You must keep full, clear, and accurate records for everyone you care for, treat, or provide other services to.

You must complete all records promptly and as soon as possible after providing care, treatment or other services.

Record keeping policies/processes will be covered in your clinical modules and when you are out on placement.

Insurance requirements

Due to professional requirements, students on Nursing, Allied Health Profession and Healthcare Science qualifying programmes are required to hold professional indemnity insurance as a pre-condition of progressing to placement. This is most easily gained through the joining of the appropriate professional body, and information on this will be provided during the induction process into your programme.

This insurance is part of your student membership of the College of Podiatry and this must be in place prior to any placements commencing.

Withdrawal from Placement

If a student withdraws from placement without prior discussion with the practice educator and approval of the University, normally a fail grade will be given.  However if extenuating circumstances occur which preclude prior discussion (such as serious illness or a sudden family bereavement) the course of action will be mutually agreed

Disclosure Scotland/Protection of Vulnerable Groups

Since students will work with vulnerable adults and/or children during clinical placements, they must arrange for an enhanced criminal record check, carried out through Disclosure Scotland. All students are required to have an enhanced background check (or equivalent) in their first year of entry into the programme prior to their first placement. It is a condition of the course to hold a PVG certificate and continuation on the course is dependent on having a PVG.  It is the responsibility of each student to supply the information and necessary documentation and to pay for this to be carried out. Some placement providers will require additional background checks and make this known to the University when making placement offers.

If the student does not have a PVG certificate prior to their placement then they will not be allowed to go onto the placement.

Students are not required to present their PVG certificate to the practice educator on the first day of placement. It is a confidential document and only authorized staff members within QMU are allowed to view a PVG certificate. If anyone at your placement site asks to see your PVG at any time during placement please contact your PAT for guidance.

Meeting religious and cultural practices of students

Organisations facilitating placement for students have policies which address diversity and inclusion and these apply to students accepted on placement. These policies include a commitment to:-

  • Promoting equal opportunity and diversity during employment
  • Ensuring all employees are treated fairly and valued equally
  • Ensuring that religious and cultural needs are valued and met

Where students have particular religious or cultural needs in terms of requests ( e.g. time for prayers, national holidays, cultural dress) which may conflict with the working practices of the placement provider (e.g. health and safety issues in relation to dress code) consideration will be given, where reasonably practicable to varying or adapting practices to enable such needs to be met. However students have a responsibility to adhere to the local policies and procedures of the placement sites.

Individual Learning plans

Students who have a disability, a learning difficulty or who have physical or mental health issues may have an ‘Individual Learning plan’ (ILP) in place. This is an assessed statement of any additional learning needs you may have. Practice education sites have a legal responsibility to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to allow a student with difficulties to participate fully in education and practice based learning without substantial disadvantage.

If you have an ILP then you should ensure that:

  • You have met with your PAT prior to placement to discuss your preparation for placement and the value in disclosing their learning plan.
  • You are strongly encouraged to share your ILP with your placement site prior to going on placement as this allows your educator to make any reasonable adjustments ensuring you have the best placement experience. If you are happy to share your ILP with the placement then it is your responsibility to share this with the PE copying your PAT into the email. Your PAT will then contact the site to discuss reasonable adjustments as needed. Your PAT will also call during the first week of placement to discuss how you are settling in and any other issues. 


Student Consent to act as model

Students are required to identify their consent to act as a model during their studies – this applies to both university-based and practice-based modules. Should students wish to withhold this consent at any time through your studies, they are at liberty to do so.  Contact should be made with the relevant PAT or Programme Leader in the first instance.  Information about the Statement of Consent for practical classes and practice-based learning can be found in appendix 4.

The student on placement

On placement, students are required to work very closely with their practice educator/s. Communication is paramount in establishing a good working relationship and it is important that students be open with the practice educator in discussion about their hopes and goals for the placement and how the placement is progressing.   If a student has an ILP, then we would encourage the student to discuss this with each practice educator at or near the start of any placement.

 Students are requested to express their thought processes when discussing patients or planning their day. This will help the practice educator to understand the student’s learning needs and enable a more tailored placement. It will also allow students to demonstrate their clinical thinking and reasoning and also further their learning.  Where time allows, each session will end with a period of reflection to allow the students to share what they have learned or been challenged by in a safe and supportive learning environment. 

A student must have realistic expectations about their level of clinical performance in each placement. The criteria within the assessment form ranges from  “Outstanding” performance to an “Unsatisfactory/Fail”.  It is unrealistic for all students to expect that they will always achieve “outstanding” in all criteria and on each placement, but there should be a steady improvement in your performance as you gain more clinical experience.    

Students should be encouraged to be part of the assessment process and are encouraged to ask for clarification and feedback if students are unsure of the reasons for the allocation of a specific criteria, eg why a “good” and not an “excellent” in clinical reasoning for example. Disagreeing with the practice educator over criteria or the final decision is not acceptable.  Any dispute should be discussed with the relevant PAT in the first instance and ultimately the module co-ordinator.  Any dispute has to be based on fact and evidence. 

Placement experiences should be viewed as an opportunity to build on theoretical and practical skills  facilitated by University modules. Reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of previous placements should enable the student to learn from these experiences.  The student should plan how to address these limitations, or build on the strengths during the next placement.  As placements progress students should be increasingly able to set themselves learning goals from each placement, and should discuss these at the beginning of each placement with the practice educator/s.

Uniforms and Name Badges

Whilst on clinical placement (IKH, QMU or external placements) students are expected to demonstrate appropriate standards of dress, which, involves wearing the clinical uniform provided earlier in the course. This is normally the national student tunic, navy blue trousers, black or blue shoes, or in some clinical centres, clean trainers.  For student’s own comfort and safety, they are advised to wear comfortable soft-soled shoes. In most situations cardigans or sweatshirts are not worn in the patient contact environment. 

All students are required to wear a name badge.  If students lose their name badge, or if for some reason it does not survive the wash and rinse programme in the washing machine, the address for replacements can be obtained from the school office email address

Most clinics will have a strict policy regarding the wearing of jewellery. This again is for students’ own safety as well as that of the patient. This policy usually involves no rings other than a plain wedding band, no earrings other than small "studs", and no necklaces or bracelets. Watches must be removed when treating patients so avoid wearing a prized or expensive watch. Hair has to be worn off the collar, and in some places this may also involve the securing of a ponytail. Hair falling over the face during practical work is not acceptable and would require appropriate action. As in many instances students will be working in close personal proximity to patients, personal hygiene is also an important consideration.

With the launch of the new national uniform the Scottish Government Health Directorates have produced guidance on the NHS Scotland Dress Code based on Evidence-based Principles to inform local policies for Staff. The key points are summarised below.  Please refer to Health Workforce Directorate

The way staff dress sends messages to the patients they care for, and to the public about their professionalism and standards of care. 

These guidelines reflect evidence-based good practice and aim to set out core principles that should inform the development of local policy.  The following principles are by no means exhaustive, but are intended to give some examples of the issues which NHS sites should consider. 

  • Staff should dress in a manner which is likely to inspire public confidence; for example: in clean uniform (where uniform is a requirement), with hair tied back off the collar, with nails kept short and clean.
  • Wear clear identifiers, (e.g. badges, epaulets etc.)
  • Where changing facilities are available, staff should change into and out of uniform at work.  In any case, staff should avoid undertaking activities in public, such as shopping, whilst wearing their uniform, except where such activities form an integral part of their duties.
  • Appropriate steps should be taken to minimise the risks of infections and cross contamination for patients and the public; for example: staff should wear short-sleeved shirts/blouses and avoid wearing white coats or neck ties when providing patient care;
  • Staff should not wear false nails or hand or wrist jewellery (other than a plain wedding ring or one other plain band) when providing patient care.
  • All appropriate health and safety requirements for staff should be met for example: Staff should not wear excessive jewellery, such as necklaces, visible piercings and multiple earrings. 

Be sensitive to the social, cultural and diversity and equality needs of staff and patients. For example: tattoos which could be deemed offensive should be covered where this does not compromise good clinical practice.

Uniform Laundering 

The QMU Nail surgery clinic has a laundering service for surgical scrubs worn in surgery however for students own uniform, home laundering is acceptable.

In these circumstances, uniforms should be:

  • Washed at the hottest temperature suitable for the fabric;
  • Cleaned in washing machines/tumble driers which are well-maintained and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • Washed separated from other clothes;
  • Where appropriate, freshly laundered at the start of each shift.


Hepatitis B Vaccination 

Students are strongly advised to receive immunisation protection for Hep B or any other inoculations, e.g. Hep C, they should contact the programme leader who will advise on the Occupational Health arrangements, which the School has put in place for all current students. The immunisation is in the form of 3 injections, the second one-month following the first and the third five months later than the first.

Travelling expenses for placement and accommodation

NHS placements will take place across Scotland and the rest of the UK.  Students will be expected to arrange their own travel to and from placement, and if accommodation is required students will be expected to arrange and pay for this themselves.

Scottish domiciled Allied Health Profession students who have their fees paid for by SAAS are eligible to claim certain expenses

Saas Website 

Full information is on the SAAS website and the form for those that can claim, can be found under the ‘Forms & Guides’ section of their website under ‘Full-time student’:

Completed forms should be submitted to the School office. They will be checked and countersigned by an appointed member of staff and forwarded to SAAS for payment.

EU students in receipt of SAAS tuition fee only support are not eligible.

RUK students are not eligible.

International students and self-funding students are not eligible to claim for expenses from SAAS.

The University Student Finance Service administers two discretionary funds provided by the Scottish Government. The Childcare Fund is aimed at students who incur childcare costs whilst studying and the Discretionary Fund when students find themselves facing exceptional financial problems. In addition the International Fund is provided by the University and students from outwith the UK must apply to this fund. An application form is completed and submitted with supporting evidence and is then considered at a confidential monthly meeting of the Hardship Committee. It is useful to make an appointment to see the Student Finance Adviser before submitting an application. Further information Student funding email

The roles of the NHS and lecturing staff involved in placement

Appendix 1

The Practice educator will be responsible for:

  • Acting as a professional role model for the student
  • Educating the student in the role and responsibilities of the podiatrist as pertinent to the host Trust
  • Providing any supplementary induction for the student in individual units
  • Providing feedback about student progress and contributing to the completion of the student placement assessment report
  • Making themselves aware of the students’ personal and specific objectives for the module and supporting the student in achieving these goals
  • Selection of appropriate patient case load with attention to relevance of range and taking account of the staged learning outcomes and student competence
  • Providing students with up to date knowledge of practice
  • Providing the student with advice and guidance (by demonstration and discussion as appropriate) in all aspects of the management of service users
  • Assisting and facilitating the student in identification of problems and compilation of appropriate treatment plans by discussions as appropriate
  • Monitoring and advising the student in the completion and storage of service user records and the collection of other data required by the podiatry department
  • Regularly monitoring the student’s written assessments (of service users) and provide feedback
  • Providing regular feedback to the student regarding the development of competence in practical skills and clinical problem solving skills
  • Regularly providing feedback to the student about their performance identifying areas of strengths, and or weakness and providing guidance for improvement
  • Participating in tutorials/case presentations to facilitate student’s learning (where appropriate)
  • Ensuring students maintain appropriate professional behaviour in the clinical setting
  • If the student(s) is felt to be failing or there are issues which could indicate a possible fail please contact the Placement Coordinator or Module leader as soon as issues are raised. The university will give guidance and may suggest a Cause for Concern pro forma should be completed to ensure the students is aware of the issues and that a support plan is agreed for the remainder of the placement.
  • Maintaining contact as appropriate with QMU staff
  • Participating in meetings between clinical sites and QMU as relevant.
  • Contacting relevant QMU staff within 48 hours of student’s planned or unplanned absence from placement.

The module team is responsible for:

  • Assessment of student’s clinical performance during their clinical practice at IKH and the QMU podiatry clinic.
  • Communicating with NHS colleagues, placement co-ordinators and the clinical lead is required in the support and development of placements
  • In collaboration with the sites, securing sufficient placements to supply the student number for the forthcoming range of external placements
  • To allocate the external placements to the students ensuring as rounded and fair allocation as possible
  • Ensuring Practice educators are kept up to date with any proposed changes
  • Ensuring the annual review of practice based learning takes account of the issues raised through feedback from Personal academic tutors students and clinical sites
  • To communicate allocation of placements to students and to clinical sites
  • To respond to issues raised by students
  • To raise issues causing concern from student feedback to the sites as appropriate
  • To collaborate with other partners e.g. NHS Education for Scotland (NES) in the development of practice-based learning
  • To support Personal Academic Tutors as they act as first point of contact for both students and practice educators on placement.
  • As placement module leaders to validate and supply assessment data for examination boards
  •  To update all placement related materials where applicable

The placement administrator (admin in the school office) is responsible for:

  • Distributing the placement rotas onto the Hub in a timely manner
  • Liaising with the clinical coordinators with regard to external placements
  • Fielding any enquiries around the administrative aspects of practice based learning
  • Being a point of contact for students on placement to report absences from placement
  • Collating the placement checklists and placement information from each clinical site

The Pre-Placement Support Officer (administrator from the school office)

is responsible for: Checking and countersigning Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme record membership applications (ensuring that all have been received prior to placement).

  • Organising and coordinating Health Clearance Appointments prior to students commencing placement
  • Ensuring that students have appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance prior to placement – this is most usually obtained via a College of Podiatry Student membership.
  • Organising provision of name badges and NHS Scotland student uniforms to students
  • Providing secretarial support to the Health Sciences Practice placement Committee

Raising and Escalating Concerns about a service user

Whilst we do not anticipate any problems, should this situation arise, any problems should initially be discussed with your Practice Educator.  Problems may occur due to misunderstandings and faulty communications, which can be addressed directly if approached sensitively.  Problems are often easily solved.  Problems raised at the end of the placement generally cannot be satisfactorily resolved and it is therefore essential that you highlight any concerns as they arise.  However if after highlighting your concerns you do not feel they have been satisfactorily resolved you should contact your Personal Academic Tutor or Programme Leader to discuss this further.

Equally if you have any concerns about the safety or well-being of the people in your care or the care environment you are working in then you should follow the flowchart overleaf (adapted from QMU BSc Nursing Guidance).

Students should be reassured that they will not be penalised in any way for raising concerns on a placement.

[flow chat]


Staff Contacts

Head of Division

Professor Jacqueline Waterfield Email Address  

0131 474 0000

Programme Leader MPod

Dr Carla McArdle Email Address 

 0131 474 0000   

Programme leader BSc (Hons), Podiatry Academic Disabled Student Coordinator  

Ms Evelyn Weir Email Address 

 0131 474 0000   

Level 4 Tutor

Mr John Veto Email Address

0131 474 0000

Level 3 Tutor, Admissions tutor, MSc Pre-reg Assistant Programme Lead

Mr Neil Pomfret email address

0131 474 0000

Podiatry Subject Coordinator, Level 2 Tutor

Dr Derek Santos  email address

0131 474 0000

Clinical Lead & Level 1 Tutor, MSc Pre-reg Programme Lead

Mr Joseph McIntyre email address

0131 474 0000

Dr Mairghread Ellis email address 

0131 474 0000

Practice Educators

Mrs Sara Hendersonemail address 

0131 537 4551

Ms Sharon McMurray email address 

Clinic Administrator 

Ms Ruth Cooper email address 

0131 474 0000

Appendix 1 – Level 3 and 4 NHS Block Placements (Related processes and timeline)

In levels 3&4 of the MPod/BSc (Hons) podiatry programmes, students will have the opportunity to attend block placements of (approx. 4 weeks – subject to change and will be reviewed each year). These placements will take place within the NHS boards throughout Scotland, and are an opportunity for you to refine your clinical skills, theoretical knowledge, and to experience what it will be like to work in the ‘real world’ as a podiatrist/health care professional.

Below is a timeline which reflects how these placements will be organised between you, the university and the respective NHS boards. (again dates/months are a guide only and may be subject to change). You will be asked to provide us with your top 3 choices/preferences on where you wish to attend your placement. Where possible we will try to accommodate your request. However, this is not guaranteed and you are required to attend your placement wherever you are allocated. Failure to attend will be seen as unprofessional behaviour and may ultimately impact on your progression through the programme.

Below table 1, we have also included information on the NHS boards we work with to secure your block placement(s). You will have the opportunity to request your placement in many of the boards throughout Scotland. Please see the below information with respect to placement sites.

Should you miss your block placement, or should you not attend for a proportion of your allocated block placement, then please see the previous section within the handbook entitled ‘Failing a placement’, with respect to how this would be made up.



Table 1: Summary of block placement organisation/processes

What will be an acceptable distance for placement?

  • Students may be asked to travel across Scotland for practice placements
  • The following will be the Zones considered for placements:

[map image]


  • Where possible, we will keep students in zones 1 &2 if preferred, and based on personal commitments (childcare and other caring responsibilities).
  • However, it may be the case that students will be allocated in zones 3 or 4 dependant on availability and fairness in allocation (however, if you are allocated further afield in year 3, against personal preference, we will try not to do this in year 4)
  • If a student has a preference for zones 3-5, then we will look to accommodate this so that others can be allocated closer to base (NHS Lothian)
  • We cannot and will not guarantee 1st Students will be able to state 3 preferred choices and we will do our best to allocate within these, although again, this is dependent on the cohort and placement availability.

Appendix 2 QMU/NHS Lothian Practice Placement – Code of Conduct

I agree to uphold/follow the HCPC standards, fitness to practice standards by QMU and NHS Lothian vision/values and policies and procedures relevant to our practice. For info, see:


  • I agree to be:
    • Polite
    • Respectful
    • Professional
    • Approachable
    • and Lead by example
  • I agree to be punctual/on time. For IKH clinics the hours of operation are 8:30-16:30 (Mon-Thurs) and 8:00-16:00 (Fri). Students should be in 15-30 minutes PRIOR to the start time of the clinics in order to be set up for the clinic starting.
  •  I agree to follow attendance rules. If you are going to be absent (or late), please contact the appropriate placement provider at least 30 minutes prior to the clinic starting.
  • I agree to uphold our duty of care by adhering to the following:
    • Students do not leave practice placements until clinical staff indicate it is ok to do so
    • Staff ensure they are visible and present in clinics B or C for supervision and teaching
  • Students (and staff) should be mindful of:
    • Do not use your mobile phones for personal use. Use is only permitted for academic/clinical purpose(s)
    • If there is a quiet period then this should be used for professional development (teaching, explore ‘question of the week’ on the white board, or self-directed learning).
  • QMU (or NHS staff) will endeavour to provide a brief and de-brief, prior to and following each clinic, respectively. This should be an opportunity to answer any queries students have
  • Students and staff should work together as a team to deliver: safe, effective and person centred care


Appendix 3 - Cause for concern profroma

[ form ]

Appendix 4 – Statement of Consent

[ form ]