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 and Placement Educational Audit 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 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.

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.

During optional placement

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 options you may wish to consider

Practice Nursing - GP Practices

Nursing Homes

We have placements with a number of hospices in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall -Hospice UK website.

Rowcroft Hospice – Placement contact: Beverley Stevenson (Beverley.stevenson@rowcrofthospice.org.uk / 01803 210800).

St. Margaret's Hospice Taunton – Placement contact: Elly Howes (Elly.Howes@st-margarets-hospice.org.uk / 01823 346957).

North Devon Hospice - Placement contact: Chris Allbrook (chrisallbrook@northdevonhospice.org.uk / 01271 347237)

Private Hospitals/Treatment Centres including:

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

Nurse or Paramedic (HCP)

Mental health placements are hosted by the Devon Partnership Trust.
Adult field placements are hosted by Care UK - contact Isabel Carwithin (Isabel.Carwithen@careuk.com)