What's happening now

The Student Placement System project team has progressed some of the urgent work to develop a new clinical placement system across Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes focusing on expanding nursing placements in 2024, planning for the development of a new digital tool, and consulting with Tertiary Education Providers on a new standard legal agreement. 

From February 2024, we’re holding workshops to codesign the digital tool with small groups of users to understand requirements. The tool will improve the visibility and coordination of placements. It is intended to show placements nationwide, across every day of the week, 24/7 throughout the year, and allow for all health settings to maximise placement opportunities. 

Keep an eye out for future opportunities to provide feedback or get involved as the design of the system progresses. 

We’re also collating and mapping out potential placements for 2024 and 2025 using information from many health providers. We can already see there is the potential to increase the capacity of placements. We’ll share the mapping work as it becomes more defined.  

Our work fits within four workstreams: 

  1. Investment in coordination infrastructuretechnology and national support for placements  
  2. Standardisation of forms, processes and contracts 
  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 

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. 

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. 

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@health.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 

Consultation out now

A consultation for a single national student placement legal agreement is currently with Tertiary Education Organisations we work with on placements. The due date for feedback has been extended to Thursday 29 February 2024. This agreement brings together multiple contracts and processes between Te Whatu Ora and Tertiary Education Organisations. It is critical to the successful implementation of the new student placement system.  

If you didn’t receive the consultation document, please email us at placementmodel@health.govt.nz.

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?

We’re supporting education providers to identity new opportunities for student placements across the whole health system and country.  

We have reached out to people who told us they could offer clinical placements in 2024. If you have capacity to take students for clinical placements, please email us placementmodel@health.govt.nz. We’ll connect you with an education provider. 

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. 

What’s happening next:

In this next phase in the first quarter of 2024:,  

  • We’ll reach out to stakeholders to get feedback on a refined design of the proposed new digital tool to manage placements – before build and testing in later phases.
  • We’re continuing engagement with students and Māori and Pacific providers. This will deepen our understanding of the current state of placements and help to shape what is needed to address inequities, culture and to improve retention. 
  • 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.  
  • We expect to incorporate feedback on the single placement agreement with Tertiary Education Organisations.

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.