What's happening now

We are currently conducting a detailed analysis of existing student placement systems, using information gathered through a survey (which closed March 10), limited engagement, and other research. 


We need to understand the current end-to-end processes for different professions, localities, tertiary education organisations, and student scenarios in order to envision what a joined-up, nationwide system needs to achieve. 


We expect this analysis to be completed by April 2023 and inform the development of several proposed solutions (in the form of digital tools), which we plan to consult on widely. Once we have a preferred option, likely sometime around mid-2023, we will develop a detailed business case for approval from leadership.


Following approval of the business case and confirmation of the project scope and requirements, the new digital tool will be designed alongside the people who work within it.

Fun facts

How you can help

At this stage we're focusing on pre-registration nursing, midwifery, and Allied Health students, including those studying in technical and scientific fields, but we're happy to hear from anyone involved in the placement system in coordinating clinical placements. 


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


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 reply 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 solution

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).

View a proposed logic map that features the outputs and anticipated impacts of the proposed system.