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Student Clinics Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Policy outlines Victoria University’s (VU) commitment to:

  1. The safety of students, staff and consumers in its Clinics; and
  2. To provide appropriate quality management systems and processes to achieve safe, client-centred and effective care consistent with the Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care and is to be read in conjunction with the Student Clinics Procedure
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Section 2 - Accountability

Accountable/Responsible Officer

Role

Accountable Officer Vice-President, Health, Sport and Active Living
Responsible Officer Head of Program Clinical Services (HE) and
Dean, College of Health, Community & Business (VU Polytechnic)
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Section 3 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF Standards: 1.3 Orientation and Progression; 1.4 Learning Outcomes and Assessment; 2.1 Facilities and Infrastructure; 2.3 Wellbeing and Safety; 2.4 Student Grievance and Complaints; 3.1 Course Design, 5.3 Monitoring, Review and Improvement, 5.4 Delivery with other parties.

(3) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) 2015: Clauses 1.7, 5.4 and 6.1 to 6.6 — Supporting and informing learners; managing complaints and appeals; Clauses 1.1 to 1.4 and 2.2 — Implementing, monitoring and evaluating training and assessment strategies and practices; Clauses 1.13 to 1.16 — Employ skilled trainers and assessors; Clauses 1.17 to 1.20 — Provide supervision of trainers where needed.

(4) National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code): Standards 6 Overseas Student Support Services and 10 Complaints and Appeal.

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Section 4 - Scope

(5) This Policy applies to:

  1. All VU Clinics;
  2. All healthcare staff, professional staff, students, supervisors, academic staff and volunteers in their activities at, with or on behalf of the Clinic; and
  3. All client care, educational, and management activities performed at, with or on behalf of the Clinic.

(6) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. Clinical placements where the placement of students with external healthcare providers (e.g. hospitals) not operated by VU; and
  2. The research operations of any Clinics.
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Section 5 - Definitions

(7) Clinics

(8) Contract Manager: The Person responsible for each particular stage of the Contract life-cycle. The Contract Manager maybe someone in the relevant business area or it may be someone in a specialised VU department with responsibility for a group of contracts.

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Section 6 - Policy Statement

(9) VU operates Clinics:

  1. As learning and teaching environments, supporting the practical education of future healthcare staff; and,
  2. To provide course requirements for students enrolled in clinic-related courses at VU and to undertake high-quality clinical experience in-house, with the approval of the Vice-President, Health, Sport and Active Living and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vocational Education and Pathways; 

(10) VU is committed to best practice in the clinical teaching and learning environment across Clinics; and will ensure clinics have business processes, effective systems and processes, course viability, business plans and course governance; reporting to the Head of Program Clinical Services (HE)and Dean, College of Health, Community & Business (VU Polytechnic) or delegate.

Risk Management

(11) VU is committed to the following key activities and strategies for risk management, in keeping with principles of consumer and community participation in healthcare:

  1. VU Clinics risk management system, which:
    1. will document policies, procedures, data collections and protocols;
    2. integrates the control of clinics occupational health and safety and risk minimisation; and,
    3. plans for and manages internal and external emergencies.
  2. The Head of Program Clinical Services (HE) and Dean, College of Health, Community & Business (VU Polytechnic)are responsible for monitoring risk;
  3. The Clinic fosters a culture of  clinical safety and continuous improvement in identifying and managing risk;
  4. A risk register is used and regularly monitored as per risk management protocols;
  5. The Clinical Governance Committee, (see roles and responsibilities - Student Clinics Procedure) follows client-care safety, reviews and acts to improve the effectiveness of regular reporting from the clinics via a standing agenda item; and
  6. Orientation, education and training of staff and students with appropriate information about the Clinics' risk management system.

Clinical Accountability

(12) The principal activities and strategies for clinical accountability (including monitoring and supervision of students, monitoring of clinic and staff performance and recruitment) to manage consumer and community participation in healthcare include:

  1. VU Clinics will set standards under the Clinical Governance Standard to have clinical governance processes and arrangements.
  2. VU Clinics will have an implementation plan as set out in the National Model Clinical Governance Framework, consistent with the Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care
  3. VU Clinics will have a reporting structure to support the implementation, development and improvement of the Student Clinics Policy and Procedure.
  4. The Head of Program Clinical Services (HE)and Dean, College of Health, Community & Business (VU Polytechnic) are responsible for clinical services.
  5. All Clinics will have resources and staff with required skills and experience to implement, review, evaluate and improve all components of the Student Clinics Policy and Procedure.
  6. The Vice-President, Health, Sport and Active Living and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vocational Education and Pathways are accountable for clinical services.

Workforce Planning and Development

(13) The activities and strategies for workforce development (including qualifications, professional development and accreditation for clinical supervisors with professional associations) in consumer participation include:

  1. Staff have adequate skills, training and experience within their discipline; 
  2. Continuing professional development includes ongoing regular education and research related activities; and
  3. Healthcare staff delivering services are both appropriately qualified and accredited with their professional association or accrediting body.

Clinic Performance Standards

(14) The key activities and strategies for clinical performance standards under the Clinical Governance Standard in consumer participation include:

  1. To provide clients are provided with information about their rights and responsibilities;
  2. To invite clients to have a family member or significant another present during their decision-making, care and treatment; and 
  3. To operate the Clinic in an environment that is welcoming, friendly and personalised.

Customer Satisfaction Standards

(15) The key activities and strategies for capturing customer satisfaction standards under the Clinical Governance Standard and community participation include:

  1. Consumer/client satisfaction surveys;
  2. Complaints management process, under the Health Complaints Act 2016; and
  3. Client-centred Care.

Learning and Teaching in Clinics

(16) Clinics are learning and teaching environments, supporting the practical education of future healthcare staff for the following purposes:

  1. To have single or group student consultations;
  2. Live-stream or record some consultations for assessment and to promote better teaching and learning (with student and patients consent); and,
  3. To focus on the continuous improvement of techniques for client treatment, communication and service.

(17) Clinics are a vital part of the educational experience offered to VU students in health and allied health disciplines and social assistance. Practical experience opportunities will:

  1. have clearly defined learning outcomes for each unit of study involving Clinic experience;
  2. support students' learning through their Clinic experiences;
  3. allow students to work collaboratively with other areas with the Clinic to maximise opportunities for students to practice and learn approaches to healthcare delivery; and
  4. enable students to complete their practical experience in a real workplace setting, complete work placement, and practice their skills in a supervised environment integrated into the course requirements.

(18) The key activities and strategies for student learning, development and support include:

  1. Clinical supervision which supports the work of students; and
  2. Existing academic and Student Clinics Policy and Procedures which support the student learning environment and professional development.

Scope of Practice

(19) All staff and students will: 

  1. operate strictly within the scope of practice of the discipline in which they are working and, where appropriate;
  2. be registered at the level relevant to the professional body under the National Model Clinical Governance Framework;
  3. maintain strict confidentiality, privacy and accurate records;
  4. abide by the client’s right to personal privacy and modesty; 
  5. create and maintain a safe, healthy environment for the practice; and
  6. comply with the Health Records Act (Vic) 2001.

Clinical Responsibility

(20) Clinical responsibility includes a range of participants who are involved in ensuring the safe and effective delivery of healthcare services, including:

  1. Clients and carers
  2. Healthcare staff and students
  3. Non-clinical workforce
  4. Managers
  5. Senior Executives

Clinical Performance and Effectiveness

(21) VU ensures Clinical performance and effectiveness by: 

  1. assessing that healthcare staff have the right qualifications, skills and supervision to provide safe, high-quality healthcare to client-care; and
  2. ensuring proper care and advice is offered to client-care at the appropriate time by a clinic supervisor who has the skills, experience and knowledge. 

Clinical Safety

(22) VU promotes a safe environment and high-quality healthcare for clients by continually monitoring and improving the safety of its operations, including facilities and equipment, to prevent and reduce hazards and ensure client-care safety.

Partnering with Consumers

(23) VU provides client-centred health care with high-quality care that is easy to obtain when needed with clients/carers reporting positive experiences.  Healthcare staff respect and respond to clients’ needs, choices and values and form partnerships with clients and families/carers during the delivery of care.

Professional Behaviour

(24) All students and healthcare staff have a professional and ethical obligation to protect and promote public health and safe healthcare and to behave professionally at all times.

(25) All healthcare staff and students practising at VU Clinics are expected to abide by the relevant discipline’s codes of practice.

(26) Staff and students will:

  1. Act in the best interests of the client;
  2. Act by following the principles of client rights and engagement; and
  3. Remove themselves from providing care if there is:
    1. a conflict of interest;
    2. any factor, whether temporary or ongoing, affecting their capacity to deliver appropriate care; or 
    3. any issue that is outside of the scope of practice.

Evidenced-base Care

(27) All VU Clinics will provide healthcare staff with access to guidelines, care and clinical pathways relevant to their clinical practice, professional knowledge and experience, and skills under the Clinical Care Standards.

Health and Safety

(28) VU recognises the importance of providing a safe and healthy environment for healthcare staff, professional staff, students, supervisors, contractors and visitors during their participation in work and training activities.

(29) VU aspires for excellence in workplace health and safety and is committed to providing an environment which is free from risks and conducive to the productivity and efficiency needs of its staff, students and others.

(30) All VU Clinics will maintain a healthy and safe working environment and modify the Clinic to fit the healthcare staff, professional staff, students, supervisors, academic staff and volunteers. Clinics will identify and remove any risk of injury in the clinical setting.

(31) All VU Clinics will have an Infection Control Manual, including protocols and processes for infection prevention and control that are appropriate for their specific situation of client care by the Australian Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care.

(32) Work Health and Safety is part of the VU OHS system, supported by the Health and Safety Policy, which is integrated into the management of the clinics, occupational health and safety and risk minimisation processes.

Privacy and Access to Information

(33) VU’s Privacy Policy commits the University to the responsible collection and handling of personal information. The Privacy Statement for collection of student information and collection of staff information provides information on VU uses the information that it collects, is responsible for the processing of information relating to professional staff, healthcare staff, students, supervisors, academic staff and volunteers in their activities. 

Public Liability and Professional Indemnity

(34) VU’s public liability and professional indemnity insurance extend to cover students undertaking a practical placement, work experience, community placement and other activities, part of or relevant to students course. The public liability policy applies to claims for bodily injury or property damage to third parties. Professional indemnity provides cover for claims for breach of professional duty if VU is legally liable.

Insurance

(35) The Head of Program Clinical Services (HE)and Dean, College of Health, Community & Business (VU Polytechnic), appointed Contract Manager or delegate for Clinics will comply, understand and address insurance implications and requirements. The Contract Manager should request copies of the Insurance Certificates of Currency from the other contracting party, and determine whether the insurance is adequate in the circumstances. These Certificates disclose the type and level of insurance cover held by the other party. 

(36) VU's insurance, managed by the finance department provides advice on insurance certificates. VU’s contract templates and insurance rules set out the minimum level of protection required of contracting parties. The Contract Manager will ensure there is evidence of its insurance and of any renewal of its certificate, and keep informed of any changes to insurance levels or insurance provider.

Records

(37) All Clinics will maintain records of workplace hazards, workplace injuries, activities, including records of client-care and comply with VU’s Records Management Policy and the Health Records Act (Vic) 2001

Governance

(38) The internal student health clinics committee will report quarterly on the operations of all clinics to the Clinical Governance Committee chaired by the Vice-President, Health, Sport and Active Living. The Clinical Governance Committee will report to the Learning and Teaching Quality Committee on governance-related matters.

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Section 7 - Procedures

(39) See Student Clinics Procedure.

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Section 8 - Supporting Documents and Information

(40) The following documents support this Policy and comply with applicable federal, state and University regulations, legislation, rules and policies, code of conduct and standards by the related discipline's professional bodies: 

  1. Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic);
  2. Health Records Act 2001;
  3. Health Complaints Act 2016;
  4. Privacy Policy and Procedure;
  5. Professional Development and Performance Planning Policy;
  6. Records Management Policy and Procedures;
  7. Risk Management Policy;
  8. Critical Incident, Emergency Planning and Business Continuity Policy and Procedure;
  9. Recruitment and Selection Policy;
  10. Staff Induction Policy;
  11. Student Misconduct Regulations 2019;
  12. Student Misconduct Procedure;
  13. Health and Safety Policy;
  14. Information Security Policy; and
  15. Clinical Governance Standard
  16. Clinical Care Standards
  17. National Model Clinical Governance Framework
  18. National Safety and Quality Framework for Health Care