Information for students of MSLT Speech and Language Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Placements

Why do SLT students do clinical placements?

Clinical placements are an integral feature of the MSLT 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 fulfil professional requirements from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT).

What placements do students undertake?

Students have a range of pre-clinical placements in nursery and primary schools and in adult care settings during their first year of the programme. They then undertake clinical placements in both paediatric and adult settings throughout the remaining three years of the programme. This enables students to develop clinical skills and confidence incrementally throughout their period of study.

When do clinical placements happen?

From years two-four, students undertake a placement(s) in semester time, typically for 1-2 days per week. 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 4-5 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 semester placements take place within a catchment area that allows for daily travel. In the NHS, this involves Speech and Language Therapy Teams from NHS Lothian, NHS Borders, NHS Fife, NHS Tayside and NHS Forth Valley.

All students will be expected to travel throughout the catchment area for 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 of students 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 offers students the opportunity to experience speech and language therapy practice across a wider geographical area. Most students are placed further afield throughout Scotland. A few 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 placements?

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.

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 be eligible to register as an SLT with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and to practice in the UK. 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 a PVG, Health Check and Professional Indemnity Insurance in place for all clinical placements. Advice regarding arrangements and costs for these is provided by the pre-placement support office at the start of the programme.