Case Summaries

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Placement - CS032405

A nursing student was studying on a programme delivered in partnership between provider A and provider B. Provider B was responsible for organising placement opportunities and provider A was responsible for considering any complaints.

The student withdrew from their first placement after one shift and asked provider B for an alternative placement opportunity. A few weeks later the student decided to withdraw from the programme entirely.

The student submitted a formal complaint to provider A asking for a full fee refund on the basis that they would have continued with their studies if they’d been allocated a more suitable first placement. The student said the placement was not suitable for a student with no prior clinical experience, and that they had not been properly supported. They also raised concerns that some of the practices they had seen at the placement organisation did not align with the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) guidance. Provider A did not uphold the complaint and the student complained to us.

We did not uphold the student’s complaint (we decided it was Not Justified).

It hadn’t been possible for provider B to find a new placement within the short period between the student requesting a new placement and deciding to withdraw from their studies. We didn’t think that was unreasonable because arranging an alternative placement for a student after a placement block has started can be a complex task and may be influenced by factors beyond the provider’s control, such as the capacity of placement organisations. Both provider A and provider B were actively exploring alternative arrangements for the student at the time they withdrew from the programme.

Decisions about whether a particular placement opportunity is appropriate for the level a student is expected to be working at normally involve professional judgment. Provider A gave a clear and evidenced explanation of the steps that had been taken to ensure the placement opportunity was suitable for students and met both NMC and programme requirements. We therefore thought it was reasonable for the provider not to uphold the student’s complaint about the suitability of the placement.

The actions of staff employed by the placement organisation were outside of both provider A and provider B’s remit. But we were satisfied that both providers had taken the student’s concerns seriously. Provider B had promptly escalated the student’s concerns to the placement organisation for investigation and liaised with the organisation about the steps that had been taken to address the issues.

While provider A did not uphold the student’s complaint, it did acknowledge that there were some aspects of the student’s first day on placement that could have gone better, and which may have impacted how the student felt about their placement experience. It therefore offered the student £250 in recognition of any distress and inconvenience caused by those issues, and we thought that was a reasonable remedy. However, those issues did not mean the placement itself was unsuitable and there was evidence that provider B had been timely and responsive in supporting the student on placement.