Optional placements for pre-registration nursing students

Optional placements can only be arranged during the final three weeks of the second year.

you are required to demonstrate that you have been in care settings that enable exposure to patients across all age ranges, in all fields of nursing including Learning Disabilities. To enhance your knowledge and understanding you may choose to undertake your optional placement in one of these specific areas

Degree nurse apprentices, and students who commence their programme in year two, must undertake a cross-field placement experience, this may be arranged under the optional placement scheme.

Apprentices must also seek the permission of their employer.


  • Students will have successfully completed or have provisionally passed all practice assessments for year two.
  • Students will have provisionally passed all theory components, or have been referred in one module only.

Organising your optional placement

If you wish you may discuss your plans with your personal tutor for ideas and suggestions.
  • Optional placements can only be arranged during the final three weeks of the second year.
  • The optional placement is organised and wholly funded by the student. When calculating costs students must consider accommodation, travel and all daily living costs. Students who are eligible for Learning Support Funding may be eligible for NHS financial support for travel and accommodation during their optional placement. Further information is available on the NHS Business Services Authority website.
  • Students should make the initial contact with the placement area with whom they wish to undertake their optional placement, then complete the application form by the deadline detailed on the form.

Administrative requirements for your placement

There are processes that programme administration undertake with the prospective placement before approval of the optional placement. Students may be asked to expedite this process.
Activity Rationale
Check CQC report is up to date Is conducive to student placements
Arrange for a workplace agreement to be put in place This is a contract between the University and placement provider and forms part of compliance arrangements. Without this agreement you cannot start placement
That there is Practice Supervisor (who is recorded on the placement host’s POPPI register) to support the student To ensure that NMC standards are met
Record placement on POW To ensure funding arrangements are maintained and timesheet hours are recorded.

Students must complete a development plan via EPAD which is agreed by their optional placement Practice Supervisor. An end of placement report is also required. 

Students may be able to be assessed for nursing proficiencies relevant to the placement.

For further information and advice please discuss with your personal tutor.

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 – Hospice UK website.

Private hospitals/treatment centres

Police custody

Charles Cross Police Custody Unit: This placement area is subject to enhanced security checks that can take up to 12 weeks to complete. Initial interest in this placement needs to be discussed with your personal tutor. An initial interview for suitability has to be carried out before an application can progress.

There are six police custody units within the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, with Charles Cross, Plymouth, a 40 cell unit, being one of the busiest.

Within the unit, clinically qualified persons, working within the scope of their professional body, but also trained and specialised for work within the police service, are medical doctors (referred to as police surgeons) and custody nurses. They are available to provide assessment, care, medication and treatment as appropriate.

Duties undertaken by the custody nurse involve holistic assessments, triage and treatment of a very diverse demographic, involving people of all ages, and gender. People in custody have varying health needs, from asthma / diabetes / epilepsy etc, people with acute mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuses, people requiring emergency treatment, forensic sampling, signposting to other agencies and potentially immediate life support situations.

On arrival and during the period in police custody, staff will arrange appropriate medical attention if the person:

  • appears to be suffering from an injury
  • believed to be suffering from a physical or mental illness
  • requires clinical attention
  • needs medication
  • requests to see a medical professional.

This applies even if the person makes no request for medical attention, and even if they have already received clinical attention elsewhere. Reasonable adjustments are also made to meet the additional needs of a person with physical difficulties or disabilities.

“G4S Health Services has been one of the leading providers to all justice health environments since 2005. Working across Secure, Custody and Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) across the UK, we provide primary care and forensic healthcare to a wide range of patients

Working in custody requires you to be comfortable working on your own medically and be able to collaborate with various departments, all of whom will rely on your skills and experience to create the best outcome for detainees, officers and victims of crime.”

As a nurse or paramedic (HCP), you will:

  • attend police custody to assess, document and treat detainees and determine fitness to remain in custody
  • carry out medical and forensic examinations
  • be available for court attendance when requested.

Placement contact: Mark Hardie (mark.hardie@uk.g4s.com)


Mental health placements are hosted by the Devon Partnership Trust.

How to apply

Complete the electronic the application form

The application form must be completed by the deadline detailed on the form.

Students will receive provisional notification via the Programme Administrator, within four weeks of receipt of their application that they may proceed with their optional placement, subject to final confirmation from the respective Award Assessment Board.

If a student is unable, for any reason, to undertake their pre-arranged optional placement they must, at the earliest opportunity, contact their Personal Tutor/ Programme Administrator.

Justice Works