Clinical skills training for nursing students
An optional placement is an exciting opportunity for you as a University of Plymouth student to plan and organise a short period of learning in an area you may not access during your course.
This opportunity will enable you to broaden and enhance your knowledge and understanding of a particular service or organisation within the context of pre-registration learning. It is important to remember that you will also be an ambassador of the University and reflect the high standard of professional care you have been prepared for.
You can select from a diversity of current placements or seek an optional placement outside of the University placement range.
Where can I go? 
Suggestions can be found by referring to: 
  • Programme DLE
  • Personal Tutor and Programme Leads 
  • Student Representatives and other students 
  • Erasmus programme
  • European Network of Nursing in Higher Education (ENNE)

Some placement options you may wish to consider

GP practices

General practice is amongst one of the largest branches/specialities within healthcare, with this service being the first point of care for the majority of the population. Being allocated to a general practice placement will give the student an opportunity to be involved and participate in the fundamentals of patient centred care, alongside fostering an understanding of patient perceptions of living with long term conditions, illness and minor ailments.

Nursing homes

Placement opportunities within the private and independent sector can involve caring for patients/residents in a nursing home environment. This will mean that effectively you will be helping to care for people in their own ‘home’. This will require skill and diplomacy in care planning, the use of a variety of assessment tools, excellent interpersonal skills and the employment of the six c’s on a daily basis. Caring for people who are resident in a nursing home often requires patience and empathy; these are as vital a nursing intervention as any clinical procedure. Treating people as individuals, ensuring that basic needs are met in a timely manner, but also the emotional and spiritual needs, contributing to person centred care in a truly holistic way.


We have placements with a number of hospices in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall – see the Hospice UK website for details about this sector.

Private hospitals/treatment centres

We have a number of placements within this sector, across the region.


We are in the process of establishing placements with Devon prisons.

How to apply

1. Identify the proposed placement and contact person.
2. Make your Personal Tutor aware of your wish to apply for an optional placement, including your rationale for this. 
3. If the student is an apprentice, they must receive written confirmation from their employer (e.g. via email) that they can go on an optional placement. 
4. Submit the application form via our optional placement application form before the deadline; late applications will not be considered.