Information for students of BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions on Clinical Placements

Why do SLT students do clinical placements?

Clinical placements are an integral feature of the BSc (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy programme at QMU. They are designed to facilitate an approach to learning which fully integrates theory and practice. Our clinical placements aim to provide students with a balanced range of clinically supervised experience of speech and language therapy practice. The content and amount of clinical experience has been designed to fulfill professional requirements from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

How many clinical placements do students complete?

Students complete six clinical placements during the BSc (Hons) programme. Placements start in semester one of Year 2 and will then run throughout the programme, so that students are able to develop clinical skills and confidence incrementally throughout their period of study.

When do the clinical placements happen?

Students complete five Within Semester clinical placements (Year 2, semester 1; Year 3, semesters 1 and 2; Year 4, semesters 1 and 2). These typically take place one day a week for a 10 week period during the teaching semester. Students also complete one summer clinical placement, which takes place during the summer period between years 2 and 3. This is a 17 day placement which is typically completed within a 4-week period. Students are required to ensure they have full availability in the summer period between years 2 and 3 of the programme so that a placement can be arranged. Students will be able to have a break from their studies in this summer period, though the programme team cannot tell you when that break will occur until the placement is confirmed.

Where do students go on placement?

We are very fortunate to have the support of Speech and Language Therapists from a range of SLT services in the National Health Service (NHS) and some charitable organisations. Our Within Semester clinical placements take place within a geographical catchment area which can accommodate day placements. In the NHS, this involves Speech and Language Therapy Teams from NHS Lothian, NHS Borders, NHS Fife, NHS Tayside and NHS Forth Valley. Prospective students may find it useful to consult the map (overleaf) of Scottish National Health Service areas to become familiar with the location of our Within Semester placements (marked with *)

All students will be expected to travel throughout the catchment area for Within Semester clinical placements during the programme. The clinical placement team is responsible for ensuring that all students leave with a balanced range of experience. They also endeavour to reasonably balance the travel requirements students are required to do so that an individual student has a mixture of placements closer to and further from Edinburgh. The team’s ability to do this is dependent on the clinical placements that are available and the number of students we have. Our summer clinical placement offer students the opportunity to experience speech and language therapy practice across a wider geographical area. Most students are placed throughout Scotland. Some students may go on summer placement within the catchment area, especially if they have exceptional circumstances. It is rare for us to be able to place students in the rest of the UK and Republic of Ireland. For some students, by special arrangement, it is sometimes possible that the summer clinical placements can be organised overseas.

Who pays student expenses for placement?

All students are responsible for their own expenses incurred on clinical placement e.g. travel costs, accommodation (summer). Students are advised to check with the relevant student funding agencies if there is a way of reclaiming any of these expenses. You will be provided with a QMU uniform to wear on placement. Details on the charge for this, where applicable, will be made available at the beginning of the programme.

Who organises the clinical placements?

All clinical placements are organised by the Clinical Placement Team, consisting of a small number of academic and administrative staff.

Can students organise their own placements or pick a preferred placement?

At QMU, the clinical placement team are solely responsible for organising all clinical placements. We maintain strong professional links with our large group of SLT Practice Educators and keep a careful record of every student’s placement experiences. The clinical placement team’s priority is to ensure that each student has an appropriate amount and balance of experience to obtain a license to practice on leaving the programme. Students are invited to complete information forms to aid the placement allocation process. Our placements are allocated based on a range of factors and are dependent on SLT availability, so students are not involved in sourcing or choosing their individual placements.

What do students need to do in preparation for placement?

Students are expected to engage fully in all aspects of the programme, including all teaching and learning activities in preparation for clinical placement. All students studying health related subjects are required to have Professional Indemnity Insurance in place for all clinical placements. You will be given advice on the most affordable way/s to obtain this insurance