Benefits Of Hosting Health Promotion students

The Health Promotion Practicum is a core level three unit that is undertaken as part of the Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion degree, the combined Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion/Bachelor of Commerce degree and the combined Bachelor of Nursing /Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion degree. Students enrolled in this unit are required to complete 100 hours (minimum) work placement in an organisation that aims to protect and promote health. Students can complete their placements individually or in pairs. In addition to the practicum itself, students are also required to attend 3 workshop sessions at the university.

Practicum structure

The Health Promotion Practicum is offered in all 3 trimesters. Host organisations are encouraged to ensure that placements are completed within each trimester. While on placement, the student's time can be spread over the full trimester 2-3 days per week, or condensed into a 3-4 week full-time block, or a combination of these two formats. The structure of the placements will depend to a large extent on the requirements of the host organisation, the availability of supervising staff and the student's own time commitments.

Types of tasks/projects undertaken by health promotion students

The types of tasks that students can undertake while on work placement vary significantly. Tasks may include: conducting literature searches; planning and undertaking needs assessments; collating and analysing survey data; assisting in the delivery of educational workshops; designing flyers and posters; evaluating programs and services and researching & drafting policies. Just as the tasks that students undertake cover a broad spectrum of activities, so too do the issues that are addressed. The following is a sample of some tasks undertaken by students illustrating the diverse range of issues that students have taken on as part of their practicum:

  • planned and implemented an anti-bullying program for a large secondary school
  • identified the barriers to food outlets complying with food safety regulations (local government);
  • reviewed local and state-wide health data, undertook a literature review and wrote a summary report re physical activity and tobacco use for an inner-city community health service;
  • assisted with organising and evaluating a young people's art exhibition;
  • planned and implemented a hearing conservation program for a large manufacturing firm;
  • developed brochures and other promotional material for a corporate health expo;
  • compiled a resource directory for a drug education agency;
  • researched and authored a men's health report for a hospital health promotion unit.

Student Pay

Students do not need to be paid for work undertaken while on work placements. However, the School of Health and Social Development expects that if any costs are incurred in undertaking assigned work, then students would be appropriately reimbursed.

Getting the placement started

Once you have decided to offer student/s a placement, the agency-based supervisor and the student need to document the terms of the placement, including the goals, the tasks that will be undertaken, dates and times the student is required to work (if known) and supervision details. The student will be expected to draw up this document and include it in a Placement Agreement. The details of this outline should be agreed on by the student and the supervisor, and endorsed by the Unit Coordinator, before the placement begins. The placement can start as soon as the agreement has been completed.

Offering placements

If you are interested in offering a field placement opportunity, please contact Michelle Howard on 9251 7748 or email (m.howard@deakin.edu.au)

Supervisor support

Supervisors who take part in the work placement program will receive a set of guidelines outlining:

  • the aims and objectives of the health promotion practicum
  • the expectations of students, supervisors, and the university; guidelines for developing work placement agreements assessment requirements and
  • general guidelines on managing student placements.

In addition, university staff will contact supervisors during the placement to review student progress and address any concerns. Needless to say, field supervisors are encouraged to contact university staff if the need arises.

Student selection

At the beginning of each trimester, students express interest in three agencies offering placements. Students are required to state why they would like to undertake the placement and describe the knowledge and skills that would enable them to complete the required task/s to a high standard. The Fieldwork Officer and Unit Chair then allocate the students to the most appropriate placement that matches their skills/interests.

Host agencies can take this selection process a step further by interviewing the recommended students and making sure they have the attributes necessary to complete the task/s. This interview will also give the student/s an opportunity to find out more about the placement.

Insurance coverage

Deakin University has public liability and personal accident insurance that covers students while they are on work placements. Copies of the policies relating to this coverage are provided in the guidelines for supervisors and are also available by clicking here (Deakin University student insurance coverage). Please note that host organisations are not required to include work placement students in their WorkCover schemes.

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