What are clinical placements?

Clinical placements are planned blocks of time in your medical degree where you go to a health or social care setting for educational purposes.

They’re an important opportunity to get practical experience in a variety of specialties and settings, and the chance to interact with a diverse range of patients.

They’re designed to help equip you with the knowledge, skills, and behaviours you’ll need as a newly qualified doctor, as set out in our Outcomes for graduates.

Starting a clinical placement as a medical student can be daunting but the experiences you gain are invaluable and often become a highlight of medical school.
Kike Solanke
Final year medical student

Where will your clinical placements take place?

Clinical placements can take place in primary, secondary, community, or other health and social care settings, with some aspects involving remote consultations. They’re not confined to environments that doctors work in but should include wider multidisciplinary teams.  

You can expect to gain experience across a variety of settings. This may include urban and rural locations, tertiary and district general hospitals, and community and third sector settings.

Your medical school should offer support for costs incurred for attending remote placement. For example, travel costs if a placement is an unreasonable distance from your term-time accommodation.

Medical students told us their best clinical placement experiences were when:

  • 'We were fully integrated and felt part of the team.'
  • 'There was a clear and comprehensive timetable of clinical and teaching activities.'
  • 'We were observed whilst carrying out clinical skills and given feedback.'
  • 'We were able to give feedback on how the placement was going.'
  • 'We knew who to go to for help.'