What to expect during your clinical placement

Learning and development

Learning and development in clinical placements

During your clinical placement, for your learning and development, you should:

  • be able to learn and develop a number of skills on placement, including carrying out physical examinations, taking patient histories, and communicating with patients
  • have scheduled teaching sessions focused on your learning and development
  • have adequate supervision during your clinical placement to make sure patients are safe
  • have a named clinical supervisor who oversees your clinical work throughout your placement and provides ongoing feedback
  • have a named educational supervisor who should meet with you regularly to help plan your training and review your progress against the learning outcomes for the clinical placement. 

Experience and integration

To gain experience during your clinical placement, you should:

  • be treated fairly and respectfully, regardless of your background or protected characteristics
  • not experience bullying or harassment, but it should be taken seriously if this does occur
  • be integrated within the clinical team and they should recognise that you play an important role in supporting patient care
  • be involved in all clinical activities and observations. This can range from participating, assisting or leading, depending on your previous experience and competency.

It’s important that medical schools and placement providers work together to create an inclusive learning environment. All students should have equal opportunities to be involved in clinical activities. Reasonable adjustments should be made available if required.

Feel safe and well supported

Clinical placements can be challenging, and exciting, with lots of new experiences, but you should feel safe and well supported at all times.

Your safety is paramount within the placement. You should be given the same protection as qualified doctors. For example, rest time after out-of-hours shifts, and access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Medical schools and placement providers should support your wellbeing. This may involve:

  • offering psychological support following challenging scenarios
  • providing facilities and time for you to observe your faith
  • offering reasonable adjustments for students with childcare or caring responsibilities.
Your safety is paramount within the placement

Feedback and evaluation  

Feedback enabled me to grow and develop as a medical student. It allowed me to appreciate my strengths, but to also work on my weaker areas.
Aqua Asif
Final year medical student

You should receive formal and informal feedback on your performance during your clinical placements. This can come from a variety of sources including your patients, clinical supervisor, educational supervisor, both clinical and non-clinical members of the multidisciplinary team, and fellow students. 

Feedback and evaluation should be an active and continuous process. Your medical school will ask you to provide feedback about your experience so they can adapt and deliver the best possible clinical placements for future students. 

Students and all members of the multidisciplinary team should proactively seek and give feedback.