Live virtual placements: an alternative to traditional ‘in person’ placements

Ward, Richard ORCID logo ORCID: , Freeman, Antony, Davidson, Tom ORCID logo ORCID: , Brown, David, Everard, Charles, Martin-Verdinos, Alex and O’Leary, Catherine (2023) Live virtual placements: an alternative to traditional ‘in person’ placements. International Journal of Healthcare Simulation, 3 (S1). A60-A61.

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Background and aim: The role of the paramedic is diversifying, and universities need to respond by developing curriculums that support paramedic graduates to meet future workforce needs. Placements are key to our students developing the necessary competencies to become qualified paramedics and the pressure is on universities to offer a wide range of placements to reflect professional diversification. In addition, Health and Care Professions Council’s new standards of proficiency acknowledge that paramedics of the future are likely to consult patients in the virtual world [1]. As universities strive to meet this demand, they are often faced with placement capacity issues. Rising student numbers, staff retention issues and competition for placements from other healthcare students can make it extremely challenging to secure placements, especially in desirable areas such as primary care.

Activity: The author, with the support from colleagues, was successful in obtaining funding from Health Education England to pilot a series of live virtual placement experiences, the first of which was successfully delivered on 20th April. On this date, 30 learners from our paramedic degree apprenticeship programme, in a classroom on our Lancaster campus, virtually attended a live clinic in a primary care setting in the south of England. The clinic was rigged with various cameras and microphones, with real patients consenting to being filmed. The experience comprised of 5 patients, with the lead clinician providing a brief to the learners before each patient arrived for their consultation. Afterwards, the clinician would complete their clinical documentation before engaging in a two-way conversation with our learners and academic staff via Microsoft teams. Following the clinic, our apprentices had the opportunity to consolidate their learning via case study driven seminars which linked to the mornings experience.

Findings: Overall, student feedback was supportive, with the majority stating they found the experience enjoyable and engaging. The video stream of the placement was recorded for reuse in the programme’s curriculum, and we hope that future live virtual placements will see other professions, such as physiotherapy and nursing, take part. Eventually, we want to develop the model for other disciplines and placement settings

Conclusion: The academic team are looking forward to the second of three experiences, in May, with the view to contributing to the growing evidence base in this area, to reflect the value that we believe ‘Live Virtual Placement’ experiences have in the development of our future workforce.

Ethics statement: Authors confirm that all relevant ethical standards for research conduct and dissemination have been met. The submitting author confirms that relevant ethical approval was granted, if applicable.

References: 1. Health and Care Professions Council [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Apr 29]. Available from:

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
Publisher: Adi Health + Wellness
ISSN: 2754-4524
Departments: Institute of Health > Centre for Excellence in Paramedic Practice
Additional Information: Published abstract of e-poster presented at the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare Annual Conference (ASPiH Conference 2023), 6-8 November 2023, Brighton, UK.
Depositing User: Richard Ward
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2023 15:34
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 11:40


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