Hello, my name is Dr. Tablet, but you can call me Tab. In this video I’ll be giving you a crash course on the practicum placement process. I’m happy to answer all of your questions like: Where will I be placed? How does the preference process work? What if I have an ongoing disability or special consideration? Can I make changes to my practicum? Am I going to be paid? There’s so much to think about so let’s dive right in.Based on your current year level and corresponding practicum course, you’ll get a chance to learn and practice in a number of settings including: community pharmacies, hospitals, primary care settings, long term care facilities, government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations and more.
The only sites you won’t be placed at are community pharmacies where you’ve completed previous practicums or sites where there is a conflict of interest. For example, you won’t be placed at a site owned or managed by a relative or friend. Also, you won’t be placed at a pharmacy where you have been employed in the past, are currently employed, or have an arrangement for future employment. This is to avoid any potential bias during the assessment of your practicum activities and to ensure that the student-practice educator relationship is upheld. It is your responsibility to disclose any possible conflict of interest to the Office of Experiential Education, also known as the OEE.Now that we’ve discussed conflict of interest, the first thing most students want to know is where they can be placed. The short answer is ANYWHERE IN B.C. This is your chance to explore different areas of practice across the province so I would encourage all of you to embrace these opportunities and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Here’s a handy toolbox with some resources that might be helpful. You can also enter your preferences for your placement and Evalue will take them into consideration.That brings us to the question that students are always asking me. How does the preference process work? With hundreds of sites across B.C. and almost a thousand students to place, the goal is to take your preferences into consideration while also making the matching process as fair as possible. This can be complicated as the OEE is accountable to their stakeholders and must support the needs of practice educators. They volunteer their time to enrich the educational experience for students. Placements are subject to site and practice educator availability so, unfortunately, placement preferences cannot be guaranteed. A placement software, called E*Value, is used to match students with practicum sites. Depending on your practicum course, E*Value will give you the option to input your preferences for things such as time block, geographic location, practice setting, or community partner.Here’s the secret to our software’s algorithm works. It is a common misconception that your preferences are entered into a lottery system, where each student is randomly assigned a number and the one with the first selection gets their first choice. Then the next randomly selected student receives their highest choice so long as it is still available. This lottery system yields some very happy students and some very unhappy ones. Our software does not use this system as it only allows a few students receive their top choices. Instead, we analyze all student preferences simultaneously to optimize the match for everyone. This way, every student’s preference is taken into account, every student is treated equally and there really is no “luck of the draw”.In case you were wondering. Roughly 75-80% of each class gets placed within their top 5 geographic zones! That’s pretty good if you ask me.Now for some important tips about entering your preferences:1. Make sure that each of your preferences is unique, if you duplicate a choice, the system will ignore it!2. You can change your preferences as many times as you like before the deadline. No preferences can be entered once the deadline has passed
3. You are not at any advantage if you enter preferences before other students.
4. Entering preferences is NOT REQUIRED. If you leave the form blank, the system will assume you don’t have any preference and place you accordingly. That being said if you only enter 5 preferences and leave the rest of the form blank, E*value will treat it as if you have no preferences in the remaining blank spots and if it is not able to match you with any of your top 5 choices, you’ll be placed anywhere there is an available site.
5. Finally, once you have saved your preferences, you will see a “preferences saved” message. Make sure to save a screen shot of this as proof.
Does anyone have any questions?
Student: “Umm… Dr. Tablet? What if I have a situation that requires me to be in a specific area?”
Dr. Tab: “That’s a great question!”
If you have a situation like an ongoing medical condition or disability that impacts your learning, please register with UBC Centre for Accessibility as soon as possible so that the OEE can make appropriate arrangements. If you have a special consideration such as caring for a young child, please let us know. Students registered with UBC Centre for Accessibility and those who have applied for special consideration SHOULD also enter their preferences on E*value.
After entering your preferences, you’ll have to wait patiently for the results to be released. You may be wondering why it takes so long to release the schedule. As I mentioned before, placements depend on the availability of sites, practice educators, and community partners. I just want to take a moment to emphasize the sheer volume of practice sites and practicums we’re talking about here. The OEE needs to enter the availability of over 800 practice sites, ensure there are no conflicting schedules for each and every required practicum course, optimize placements based on all students’ preferences and manage special cases as needed. To be fair to all students, placement schedules are not released until every student has been placed.
Student: “Can I make changes to my practicum?”
Unfortunately, once you’ve received your practicum schedule, you won’t be able to request any changes due to the sheer complexity of the placement process. While changes to your practicum site cannot be requested, unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, and changes in site or practice educator availability may require some practicums to be changed. In these circumstances, the OEE will contact you directly with more information.
To avoid conflicts, please wait to receive your schedule before making travel plans.
Student: “Am I going to get paid?”
The short answer to this popular question is no. I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be the one to give you this news. In accordance with the Practice Education Guidelines for BC Remuneration and Reimbursement…
Students shall not receive any remuneration for their practicum experiences. Students are responsible for all transportation, housing, food, and any other personal expenses associated with their practicums. For me, I try to think of it as an investment in our futures.
You might feel better knowing we’re not the only ones. Your practicum is like a rite of passage in the healthcare field. Completion of an unpaid experiential practicum is a requirement for many health disciplines including medicine, nursing, and dentistry. Although travelling for practicum is a great adventure, I understand that traversing the province brings about its own set of challenges. Some of you have already started thinking about the logistics: money, transportation, housing, being apart from friends and family. I know it can be challenging at times but you’re not alone. The rest of team from the office of experiential education, or the OEE are here to support you.
I hope you found this video helpful.
Thanks for watching. I’m Dr. Tablet and I hope you have a fanTABulous practicum!
We would like to thank Alyssa Low (Undergraduate Student) for helping to create this video and Garrett Tang (Undergraduate Student) for designing original images (e.g. Dr. Tablet).