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Health and social care placements

We're delighted that you're considering studying a healthcare degree at ARU. As a healthcare profession student, you'll spend a significant amount of time on clinical placement. It's an integral part of your course – and an exciting, enjoyable aspect of studying at ARU.

Here you can find information about your placement, so that you can understand what's expected and the benefits it brings.

If you're joining us at ARU to study a healthcare professional course, you'll be undertaking education and training to prepare yourself for your chosen career.

Your course will have to meet the professional body as well as academic standards. For operating department practitioners and paramedics, these professional standards are governed by the statutory professional body, The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Nursing and midwifery are governed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), social workers are regulated by Social Work England, and medical students are governed by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Once you've successfully completed your course, you'll be eligible for membership and registration with the relevant Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB).

PSRBs also monitor the quality of professional courses and supervision in practice. There is an expectation that all students are supervised by registered healthcare professionals who are positive role models, promote the values of the NHS Constitution and deliver a high-quality service to the public.

NHS values

  • Working together for patients
  • Respect and dignity
  • Commitment to quality of care
  • Compassion
  • Improving lives
  • Everyone counts

You'll need to complete the following checks before you start your clinical placement.

Disclosure Barring Service (DBS)

All students are required to complete a DBS check. One of our admissions team will send you the necessary paperwork; after a successful interview.

The University's Criminal Records Officer carry out the DBS checking process. This can take on average four to six weeks and any student who hasn’t completed their DBS check can’t go on placement. This could result in your start date being put back to the next available intake so it’s important you complete it in time. See our university’s DBS page for further support.

Occupational health

The main purpose of occupational health assessment is to make sure that you're fit to meet the course requirements effectively and without risk to yourself or others. Course places are offered subject to satisfactory health screening. 

A member of our admissions team will send you the necessary paperwork to complete and you’ll be assessed individually. If you don't have a completed occupational health check this could delay you starting the course. If you don't start the course for health reasons then you'll need occupational health clearance before returning to practice.

Mandatory training

It is a requirement that all healthcare professional course students complete a series of mandatory training elements annually, such as safeguarding, moving and handling, basic life support, etc. This training must be completed before you attend placement.

Who will support you in practice?

During your practice placement you'll be supported by a named registered professional, your personal tutor, alongside University placement staff.

You’ll be supported by a registered healthcare professionals who has met the professional body standards for learning and assessing in practice. They will support you during your training and sign off your learning outcomes as you achieve them.

You'll also be guided by a number of other health professionals, giving you the opportunity to gain an understanding of how professionals work as part of a wider team.

We're committed to supporting you during your practice experience. We've worked in partnership with our placement providers to invest in a number of strategies to ensure the quality of the learning experience.

Student responsibilities in practice

We expect you to:

  • arrive in good time
  • maintain and respect confidentiality at all times, particularly in relation to the use of social media sites
  • act in a professional manner at all times
  • turn off mobile phones in the practice area
  • inform your clinical area if you’re unwell and not able to attend your placement, as well as the University
  • raise any issues regarding your placement with your clinical supervisor and your personal tutor.

Dress code

You may need to wear a uniform on some placements. Whether wearing a uniform or not, all healthcare organisations have a mandatory dress code policy and students will be advised of this.

Placement areas include Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), Essex and for some courses, London.

It is important you are aware of the following:

  • Some placement areas and shift patterns may not be accessible by public transport
  • We aim to tell you about your placement area as far in advance as possible
  • The nature of healthcare provision does mean that circumstances may change at very short notice. On these occasions:
    • Some students may only receive two weeks’ notice or less of a placement.
    • It may be necessary to change a placement at short notice.
    • A start date for placement may also be delayed.

Travel to your practice placement

ARU is fortunate enough to work with many different clinical placement providers covering a substantial geographical area, which includes Essex, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, as well as for some courses, London. This offers our students exposure to all types of clinical learning experiences.

  • Our placements are throughout the East of England, in both rural and urban areas.
  • You may find that you have to travel a distance to your placement.
  • You’ll have to bear the cost of the travel to your placement.
  • It’s not possible to give every student a placement that involves limited travel.
  • While we make every effort to minimise the travelling distance involved, it is important that you are prepared to travel and that you have considered the implications of this.
  • When planning your travel, you should allow extra time for any personal/domestic issues that might make you late. It is a professional requirement that you are punctual and reliable.
  • It would be advantageous to have your own transport, or access to a car to help with travel to placements, as it’s not always possible to rely on public transport.

Shift patterns

During your placement, you'll experience different shift patterns, including weekends, bank holidays and night shifts (including early mornings). Personal/domestic issues should be planned well in advance to accommodate all shift patterns.


You'll be allocated annual leave throughout your course and this is clearly labelled on the course timetable. Only in very exceptional circumstances can this be changed and only by prior agreement with your Course Leader.


Paramedic Science

Operating Department Practice



Social Work

Occupational Therapy

Physician Associate