Improving Student Support in Professional Placement Learning: Findings from the South West Peninsula Pilot of a New English National Placement Quality Assurance and Enhancement Process

Graham R. Williamson*, Val Heath, Liz Ballantyne, Lynne Callaghan, Daniel Webster, Claire Hunter
1 Lecturer, Adult Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth, Devon, UK

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2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth, Devon, UK; E-mail:


English stakeholder collaboration has resulted in a new quality assurance process for non-medical health and social care placement providers and higher education institutions. This study aimed to discover the impact on student support that taking part in a pilot had on participating placement areas. Using a questionnaire survey with longitudinal follow-up one year later, we found that placement staff valued the opportunity to review and improve student support practices. This was still in evidence a year later where the pilot was described as giving the opportunity to provide evidence of aspects of student support practice; communicating and changing or developing aspects of that practice. Benefits accrued from interdisciplinary working in sharing and collaborating with other professions and organisations. Such activity could enhance clinical support staff activities and facilitate strategic partnerships between placement providers and higher education institutions.

Keywords: Quality assurance, healthcare education, placement learning, student support.