Standard 6: practice placements

The following is the standard for practice placements required by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) for approval of Higher Level Institutions (HEIs), associated health care providers (AHCPs) and educational programmes leading to registration by NMBI.


The HEI and its AHCP(s) Awork in partnership to select, develop and provide appropriate practice placements for students. Learning opportunities are provided to ensure the student gains the breadth of experience supporting the curriculum aims developing the competencies the required for registration.


Practice placement experience is selected by the HEI in partnership with its AHCP(s) supporting the curriculum aims, in accordance with European Union Directives and NMBI standards and requirements.


  1. HEIs and AHCP(s) are committed to monitor and support the quality of the learning environment in all practice placements in order to ensure an optimum learning environment for students. This commitment is outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
  2. The MoU details the system for academic liaison and engagement with practice sites to support undergraduate practice based learning.
  3. Practice placements provide students with the appropriate learning environments to support the development and achievement of their competencies; placement selection must be subject to ongoing review and monitoring by the HEI and AHCP(s) given the dynamic nature of health services provision.
  4. All practice placements are audited in order to assess and ensure their suitability as quality learning environments, in accordance with the NMBI standards and requirements for programme approval.
  5. Practice placements are selected to reflect the breadth and diversity of the educational program and the division of the register, encompassing the scope of settings in which the specified division of nursing normally operates.
  6. Where learning opportunities occur under the supervision of other members of the multi-disciplinary team, allied health, educational and social care professionals, such experiences are monitored by a registered nurse and the placement’s final assessment process allows for the involvement of a registered nurse.
  7. HEIs have a framework in place for students to raise concerns about the perceived safety of the practice learning environment. The HEI’s have a formal structure in place, in agreement with their AHCPs, to follow up such reports with clinical sites concerned.
  8. Systems for allocation of students are transparent and fair.
  9. HEIs and AHCPs have dedicated allocations personnel in post including 0.5 whole time equivalent (WTE) of an allocations liaison post for up to 50 students (Department of Health 2004, 41).
  10. Prior to using new practice placement sites, verification of the completed audit as endorsed by the HEI is submitted to the NMBI.
  11. A maximum of 13 weeks of NMBI clinical instruction time may be provided for students to experience practice placements in either an EU state or in an international health care system.
  12. EU / international practice placements are governed by a formal learning agreement between the students’ own HEI and the HEI of the hosting country detailing the agreed criteria and mechanisms for such placements. These should include, inter alia, specified criteria for preparation, travel arrangements, accommodation, supervision, orientation to cultural differences and to professional standards for practice in the host site(s), practice learning opportunities, mechanisms for undergraduate support, health and safety arrangements, monitoring and evaluation reporting processes.
  13. EU / international practice placements are based only in health care institutions which have been approved by either the competent authority of the host state or by the hosting HEI with whom the HCP is associated.
  14. As with all practice placement sites, the HEI must notify the NMBI of the agreed criteria and mechanisms utilised for evaluating an International / EU practice placements as being an appropriate learning environment for the development of students’ competences.

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