Benefits Of Hosting Health Promotion students
The Health Promotion Practicum is a compulsory unit that is undertaken in third year 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 120 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 a pre and post-placement seminar at the university.
The Health Promotion Practicum is offered in all 3 trimesters. 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 website/social media content; 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.
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 and supervision details. The student will be expected to document this information in the form of a Practicum Agreement. The details of this outline should be agreed on by the student and the supervisor, and endorsed by the Unit Chair/Fieldwork Officer, before the placement begins. The placement can start as soon as the agreement has been completed and signed by all parties.