What's happening now

‘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 now using this current state analysis to inform a design and consultation process with the sector for the new system.

What’s happening next

The next stage of consultation will consider the details of what a future joined-up system for clinical placements will look like. We will engage across the sector to get feedback on proposals for the future direction, including people and groups we have yet to engage with.


As we develop and undertake the consultation, we’ll also refine the scope of the project and system user requirements. The new system will be designed with the people who will use it and are impacted by it. 

Fun facts

How you can help

At this stage we're focusing on pre-registration nursing, midwifery, and Allied Health, Scientific & Technical students, but we're happy to hear from anyone involved in coordinating clinical placements. 

Please note, we are not currently engaging with Medical students – this will be a later phase.

Stay in touch

To stay in the loop on what’s happening in the Student Placement System project, email us at placementmodel@health.govt.nz and we’ll email when we have any news or announcements.


Alternatively, you can keep an eye on this webpage for updates.

Background – why are we doing this?

The challenges

  • We need to increase the number of health professionals we are training in New Zealand. 
  • In many cases, tertiary education organisations could enrol more health students if they knew they could find clinical placements for the students.  
  • The current approach to organising clinical placements is often highly disjointed variable, burdensome and inequitable and many opportunities for quality placements are missed. 
  • Student placements systems around New Zealand are not connected, and may inadvertently prioritise those who have fewer commitments (such as whānau or employment obligations) or pre-existing health sector networks.
  • Te Whatu Ora cannot currently see and forecast numbers of students, how well they are distributed, or the related incoming workforce.

The proposed approach

We are looking to develop a nationally designed, regionally coordinated student placement tool that supports those who work in the placement system. This tool will help us grow the skilled, sustainable, diverse, and responsive health workforce Aotearoa needs.  


A better placement system will allow more students to enrol in health-related courses, which will provide more trained professionals to health sector every year.  

We propose phasing the design and implementation of the new system, as this will allow us to: 

  • identify opportunities for immediate improvements  
  • co-design a ‘launch, learn, and build’ approach that tests a new digital system and service infrastructure, starting smaller and expanding as we learn 
  • roll out the new system in stages across student groups, starting with pre-registration/undergraduate students. Medical students already have a system so that will continue for now, but at a later date we may include medical students and employed people under clinical supervision.  


Any new system will be developed in conjunction with those currently doing this work to ensure it best meets our collective needs. 

Possible features

The new tool may: 

  • have the capacity to match students to preferences – such as a region they whakapapa to  
  • feature modelling and reporting to support planning 
  • allow coordination support delivered by service hubs that streamline relationships between health and education providers, reduce manual and duplicated administration, and provide dedicated education resources and guidance for stretched services 


Subject to change based on feedback, we intend that the new system will eventually cover: 

  • all health professions that require student placements in their training to achieve professional registration (Nursing, Midwifery, Allied Health, Scientific and Technical Health, and Medical) 
  • all relevant health service settings and expand the settings where placements can take place 
  • all times (24 hours a day) and the whole calendar year, not just the academic timetable (if appropriate).