Q&A: Nursing Students & LTC Placement Opportunities (Jan. 31, 2022)

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Q&A: Nursing Students & LTC Placement Opportunities

Posted by School of Nursing Staff on January 31, 2022 in Students

This webpage aims to answer some of the common questions received from students.

1: There has been a lot of information and discussion about this situation. Where can I find the latest and most accurate information?
Official information from the School of Nursing/Faculty of Health is the most accurate and up-to-date information on this initiative. For updates, please check your inbox for messages directly from Dr. Ruth Martin-Misener, Director of the School of Nursing and Dr. Brenda Merritt, Dean of the Faculty of Health.

2: There was ample time during the planning of this initiative to inform students, but students were not consulted. The process has not been transparent.
Government first approached Dalhousie on Friday, January 21. Over the last week we have worked with government partners to understand the ask and how we may be able to respond. On Friday we brought a high-level proposal to government. Over the weekend we worked on the details that were shared with students today, Monday, January 31.

3: Are classes being suspended February 7?
No. Starting February 7 we will effectively run two cohorts for students in semesters 4 and 5. Students who are able to move up their clinical placements to February 7 will have their classes and all course requirements paused until their clinical is completed.

Students who are not able to move their clinical to February will continue with their classes and course requirements as outlined in their course syllabi.

4: Is this placement mandatory?
Clinical placements are a required component of your nursing degree. Students are required to complete a two (semester 4) or four (semester 5) week clinical this term. The question being posed to students is whether they would be willing to complete their clinical in February instead of in March.

5: Are students being forced to choose LTC placements instead of acute care placements?
On January 7, Nova Scotia Health cancelled all group clinical placements in acute care. There are no group clinical placements taking place in acute care this semester. As a result, all clinical placements for semester 4 and 5 students this term will take place in long term care settings.

Placements in LTC will ensure that students continue to progress in their program, while meeting course learning objectives. If competencies cannot be met during the clinical placement in LTC, we will address this in subsequent semesters of the program.

The placements in LTC will be group placements lead by a clinical instructor, as originally planned.

6: What happens if I choose not to do this LTC placement?
Not completing a clinical placement this term will delay student progression. Omicron is having an impact on our health care system and our current clinical placements, and we can’t confirm how those clinical placements may be impacted in the future.

7: If optional: does the lack of a semester 4 placement affect our program and graduation requirements?
Clinical placements are not optional. This clinical placement in LTC will support progression and timely graduation, as it is part of course requirements and student learning.

8: If participating, when will we receive an outline of date/locations etc.?
We have asked students to indicate by noon on February 1 whether they can move their clinical to February 7. Once we have that information, we will work with clinical instructors to confirm placements and relay these to students before the end of the week.

9: If student so chose to participate, can they participate in half capacity for those who cannot complete 40/h per week?
This group placement will take the form and hours of a typical placement and requires students to participate full time, as they would during any other clinical.

10: Is the $1,000 taxable income and if so, how would that affect people on a student loan?
We have asked government to clarify this and will get back to students.

11: Is it true these placements will not count towards my academic degree or requirements?
No. These clinical placements will be supervised and evaluated by Dalhousie faculty and clinical instructors, just as those in hospital are. These clinical hours will be applied to course completion requirements.

12: Why is the rate of payment so low? Our time is valuable.
The honoraria is not a wage or payment. While group clinical placements are traditionally unpaid, government is offering a $1,000 honorarium in recognition of students’ participation in this unprecedented request and willingness to adapt to flexible educational program delivery.

13: This is a large time commitment for students that will interrupt/delay their education (ie, tuition must be refunded)?
This is a 2-or-4-week commitment which will serve as a student’s clinical placements, and will not interrupt or delay program progression. All course work will still be delivered, but within an altered schedule that allows us to respond to the pressing and urgent needs of our healthcare community and our vulnerable residents in LTC. Skills required in acute care are important and students will get these valuable learning experiences within their programs.