Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Support and supervision in practice: who's who

A number of professionals are involved in supporting students in practice. You'll find a description of their roles below.

Practice supervisors

Practice supervisors must be registered with a professional regulator like the NMC, GMC or HCPC. Health and social care professionals who are not registered with a professional regulator cannot be practice supervisors.

Giving feedback is a fundamental part of the practice supervisor role and can include:

  • providing direct feedback to students on their conduct and achievement of proficiencies and skills, including where they don’t think the achievement has been met, or could be improved on
  • providing constructive feedback to improve overall student performance
  • putting action plans in place to improve student performance.

A key part of giving feedback is adding relevant observations on the student’s conduct, proficiency and achievement to the student’s record(s) of achievement. These may include the observations of anyone else who has taken part in the student’s education, depending on the way in which practice supervision has been organised.

Practice supervisors also contribute to recommendations for student progression such as direct communication with practice assessors, to share their views on student achievement, underachievement or areas to continue to work on.

Practice assessors

As a practice assessor, you are an operating department practitioner (ODP) who holds a current registration and have undergone preparation for the role of practice assessor either in your own organisation, online or attended a workshop/course at your local university.

Practice assessors are responsible for the summative assessment of achievement of proficiencies for the ODP students they are assigned to. A good assessment is evidence based, objective and fair and will take into account a variety of views and inputs, and student diversity, such as different learning styles, cultural backgrounds and communication styles. The practice assessor should take into account the student’s history of achievement and their achievement across theory and practice.

As a practice assessor you must be able to show that the evidence you have gathered comes from a variety of relevant sources and that it has informed their assessment decisions. Sources of evidence can include the following:

  • direct observation of the student
  • communication with practice supervisors
  • student documentation, such as a practice assessment document or ongoing record of achievement
  • communication with any other practice assessors
  • student self-reflection
  • communication and an ongoing relationship with the student.

Assessment should be continuous throughout the time in which a practice assessor is assigned to a student. The practice assessor should be up to date on the progress of the student they are assigned to; collation of information on a student’s performance should be managed in a way that enables this.

Feedback to the student about their achievement, and collaborating with them to review possible areas for improvement also forms a fundamental part of the assessment process. Practice assessors should have the protected time to carry out their role, including time for completing any student records. The support is proportionate and will depend on the individual practice assessor and what is needed for them to perform their role, to enable them to carry out an evidenced based and reliable assessment, and uphold public protection. This can take a number of different forms, such as access to student documentation, knowing what the student is expected to achieve, protected time to attend training, and support for raising concerns.

ODP practice assessors, registered with the HCPC, can support students undertaking NMC pre registration programmes, but cannot undertake any element of summative assessment.

Practice educators

The role of the practice educator is to manage and co-ordinate student placements for Anglia Ruskin University. They work in partnership with practice supervisors and assessors, clinical managers, education champions, link lecturers and the healthcare organisation education lead promoting and enhancing the learning environment. They play a vital role which includes:

  • overall responsibility for students in placements
  • organising workplace teaching sessions
  • placement organisation and practice supervisor/assessor allocation
  • attending ODP education meetings
  • disseminating student ODPs allocation information to a designated member of staff within the clinical areas
  • collating ward returns and monitoring student attendance including sickness and absence.

ODP practice educators, registered with the HCPC, can support students undertaking NMC pre registration programmes, but cannot undertake any element of summative assessment.

Education champions and the link team

Education champions are Anglia Ruskin University academics who play a key role in establishing and maintaining effective communication links between the University and practice partners. They're supported in their role by a link team who are Academic Assessors/Senior Lecturers from the University supporting the pre-registration nursing course.

Each Trust/Organisation has an Education Champion who is the key point of contact between that Trust/Organisation and the University to ensure the quality of the student practice learning experience. In addition, with support from the link team, they co-ordinate the educational audit process and chair the Practice Education Committees (PECs) every two months with the key education leads from your organisation. These meetings follow a standard agenda and include a review of student evaluations as well as external reviews such as the CQC.

Find education champion contact details.