What's happening now

  • The Student Placement System project team held collaborative workshops in February and March 2024 to design a proposed digital tool with future users, including under-graduate students. Read about the tool and what we’ve heard so far in the collaborative design document. Any ideas or comments are welcome and may be used in later iterations of the learn, build and test approach. Email us at placementmodel@tewhatuora.govt.nz.
  • We’re reviewing feedback from education providers about the unified national legal agreement for student placements at Health NZ – with existing local schedules incorporated. The consultation closed on Thursday 29 February 2024.
  • We’re engaging with community health providers to understand the capacity for student placements and increase placement opportunities. These include Hauroa Māori and Pacific providers, Nurse Leads in primary care, Lead Maternity Carers, and other non-government organisations and private providers. Providers will be able to enter this information into the new digital tool when it is live, removing the need for manual collection.
  • A recently completed stocktake of nursing placement opportunities across Health NZ shows we have the potential to increase placement numbers. This information will support work on the Dedicated Education Units.
  • We’re developing a national and consistent approach for supporting nursing placements at Health NZ. It will leverage off the nursing Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) model already in use in some locations and is expected to improve student experiences, completion rates and increase placement numbers. We’re in the initial stages of planning.

This initiative supports actions in our Health Workforce Plan 23/24 – to drive local-led innovation in training with strengthened and visible student placements and improved national coordination.

Our work fits within four workstreams:

  1. Investment in coordination infrastructure – technology and national support for placements (the digital tool and Student Placement Hub)
  2. Standardisation of forms, processes and contracts (a unified approach to quality and administration)
  3. Expansion of placements by increasing the quality, range and number of placements across health settings
  4. Equity and retention of students through improved accessibility, culture and better experiences

At this stage we’re focusing on pre-registration nursing, midwifery, and Allied Health, Scientific and Technical students. Medical students currently have a well-operating system that will run alongside this new system for health clinical placements.  

What’s happening next

In the second quarter of the 2024 calendar year: 

  • We’ll share the feedback from the collaborative design of the proposed digital tool. The design components of the tool will be ready for building and testing. Please email us at placementmodel@tewhatuora.govt.nz.  If you're interested in being involved in the user testing process.
  • We’ll shape what actions are needed to address inequities, culture and to improve retention. We'll use feedback from engagement with students and Hauora Māori and Pacific providers to inform the actions.
  • We’ll get a clearer picture of where there is a greater capacity to increase clinical placements for health students in 2024 and 2025 – both in location and health setting.  
  • The unified national placement agreement with education providers for placements at Health New Zealand will be further refined and ready for cross sector agreement.
  • There will be a framework and actions outlined and underway in our initiative to expand and develop a national approach to Dedicated Education Units for nursing students at Health New Zealand.

Stakeholder updates

Throughout the project we’re keeping stakeholders informed. Connecting and moving together is important for the success of the new student placement system.  

You can read the stakeholder updates here. Contact us at placementmodel@tewhatuora.govt.nz if you’d like to receive updates. 

What we want to achieve

We have some important goals for this initiative. 

  • To grow student and placement numbers, particularly for Māori and Pacific health providers, and primary and community settings. 
  • Provide more diverse and better placement experiences for students in culturally safe environments. 

This means we train more students locally and keep those already in study. It’s a sustainable way to increase our health workforce with people from our communities.  

Specially, this includes: 

  • 10% more clinical placements across the whole health sector over the next three to five years – enabling over 2,000 more nursing, midwifery and allied health students to enrol each year 
  • 8% increase in student completion rates over the next five years (especially for Māori and Pacific students) – resulting in about 1,500 more graduates per year 

Existing clinical learning contracts and agreements continue

Please continue to manage clinical student placements using existing arrangements until the new Student Clinical Placement and Access Agreement with Te Whatu Ora is signed and in place. We expect to finalise it in the coming months following consultation with Tertiary Education Organisations. 

The new agreement will cover nursing, midwifery and allied health, scientific and technical students. 

Can you offer clinical placements in 2024 and 2025?

Are you a community health provider? We’re helping education providers to find new opportunities for student placements across the whole health system and country.  

We have reached out to community health providers who told us they could offer clinical placements in 2024. If you have capacity to take students for clinical placements, please email us placementmodel@tewhatuora.govt.nz. 

This work is to expand placement opportunities across all health settings and increase the health workforce. We anticipate a new nationwide digital system will support this process in the future. 

How student placements are currently managed

‘Finding a place to learn in health’, our analysis of the current state of the student placement system is now available. 

This is the analysis and findings of how we manage our existing student clinical placements informed by intensive sector engagement activity, data and other research. We’re using this current state analysis to inform a design and consultation process with the sector for the new system. 

How you can help

Email us at placementmodel@health.govt.nz and we’ll let you know how you can help grow our health workforce.

Background – why are we doing this?

Scale of clinical student placements in Aotearoa New Zealand  

The challenges and opportunities

  • We urgently need to increase the number of health professionals in New Zealand, and one way to do this is to train more students. 
  • In many cases, tertiary education organisations could enrol more health students if they know clinical placements will be available.
  • The Student Placement System initiative is key to unlocking a pipeline of undergraduate students by improving processes, the coordination of placements, and students’ experiences. 
  • It can quickly support growth in our locally trained workforce. 
  • Outside of medical students, there is no national system to coordinate clinical placements. The current manual approach is not sustainable and is unable to support an increase in placements.
  • To facilitate rapid growth without a national digital system will be challenging for education and health providers. 
  • Placement opportunities are being missed across all health settings and throughout the country.  
  • Experiences on placement contribute to students leaving study early, particularly Māori, Pacific and older students. This results from unsafe cultures, cultural inequities, financial pressures and whānau or work commitments.

The proposed system

We are looking to develop a nationally designed, regionally coordinated student placement system. This includes a digital tool to coordinate placements efficiently, helping to grow a locally trained and sustainable workforce. 

The new digital tool may:  

  • match available placements to health students 
  • have the capacity to match students to preferences – such as a region they whakapapa to or account for work or whānau responsibilities
  • introduce a 24/7, 365 day of the year placement model across a wider range of health settings 
  • feature modelling and reporting to support planning  
  • allow for coordination support to streamline relationships between health and education providers and, reduce manual and duplicated administration

It could be supported by initiatives that improve student experiences on placement through cultural safety and more inclusive and empowering environments.