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Reasonable Accommodations on Placement

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Reasonable accommodations that can be provided by the placement and the professional course on behalf of a student are requested in a Professional Placement report. These recommended reasonable accommodations are generally agreed in consultation/agreement with the Placement Co-ordinator and the Placement Educator. The Professional Placement process outlines the process taken.
For more information please download the Professional Placement Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities booklet. Please note, this document also includes illustrative examples of scenarios where reasonable accommodations might be required.
The following are examples of Reasonable Accommodations that may be required by a student on placement:

Maintain confidentiality/do not disclose to other students, staff, or clients of the service

Students are assured that information about their disability is provided to staff on placement on a need-to-know basis.

Disclosure of disability

Students who disclose their disability on placement will have indicated the level of disclosure that they would prefer– i.e. what will be disclosed, to whom on placement, when, and how. Information disclosed by the student under the Data Protection Act is, by law, to remain confidential and be respected at all times. Any discrimination toward a student who discloses a disability on placement is illegal; in Ireland both the Equal Status Act and the Disability Act prohibit discrimination on the grounds of disability.
Students who disclose a disability.
Students who disclose a disability to staff on placement and who are seeking guidance and support, should be informed in writing, preferably via their TCD email account, that they are advised to register with the Disability Service (DS) as soon as possible.
Students who disclose a disability but are reluctant to register with the Disability Service.
Students who do not disclose a disability cannot avail of reasonable accommodations; furthermore, they cannot claim that they have being discriminated against (on grounds of disability). Therefore, after discussion with their Tutor, students should be informed in writing, preferably via their TCD email address, that they are advised to register with the DS as soon as possible.
Disclosure of a disability to a client or patient
It is the student's right not to disclose their disability to patients: students cannot be compelled to disclose, even if a practice-based educator believes that this would be advisable.

Allow student to choose placement option

Some students may have disability related reasons why they may need to select their placement venue. For example, some students will have difficulty travelling significant distances due to a physical or medical disability.

Provide accessible placement locations

Students with physical, mobility or fatigue issues may find the placement environment difficult to manage and this should be taken in to account when organising placement locations.

Pre-placement visit

The following provides suggestions as to why a pre-placement visit might be useful:

  • Allows for familiarisation with the route to the placement site
  • Allows for familiarisation with the local environment and identification of any potential barriers
  • A discussion between the student and the practice educator can take place which allows for the identification of any specific placement accommodations
  • Identification of reasonable accommodations allows both parties to determine who is responsible for organising/implementing any reasonable accommodations; i.e. the placement provider, the College, the student, or a combination of these

Allow an assistant to attend placement with student

Some students may require a personal assistant or an Irish Language Interpreter to attend their placement to assist them with a physical task or communication.

Flexibility of scheduling of attendance as appropriate

Due to the nature of a student's disability, it is possible that some hours of placement may be missed due to ill-health or medical appointments. Students who have a Placement Planning Report/LENS report have submitted medical evidence from a consultant or specialist of a disability or significant ongoing illness. While a Placement Planning Report/LENS report cannot act as an open ended medical certificate it should alert staff to the fact that regular absences may be necessary and that agreement should be sought as to what level of absence can be reasonably accommodated.

Flexibility on placement deadlines as appropriate

Providing deadlines well in advance enables a student to structure their placement demands so that they divide their time appropriately between tasks required.

Allow or provide time and space for the student to take rest breaks, self-administer medication or monitor blood sugar levels as required

A student that is affected by fatigue, sensory processing difficulties, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), insomnia or anxiety as well as many other conditions may need more frequent breaks than other students.

Avoid or minimise tasks that are not essential to core competencies but which may present the student with an additional burden

Example: A student nurse with a physical disability developed knee pain during placement. The student attended a consultant who recommended that the type of placement be considered in future scheduling to take account of her knee pain. In addition, the Disability Service recommended flexibility in the reduction of lifting duties while on general placement. Specifically, staff was asked to encourage appropriate patient handling techniques and the use of hoists when necessary. The CPC agreed to the recommendations.

As required, modify or provide alternative methods for meeting core competencies that do not compromise professional or health and safety standards

Example: A student with a visual impairment studying Radiotherapy experienced difficulties in the set - up of patients for radiation treatment. The Disability Officer and the student visited the site to review tasks required to give advice on what could be modified to allow the student to be competent. The placement report recommended that the student be permitted additional time to use assistive technology – magnifier and small torch to adjust the tabletop height and distance from tattoos. Also, to allow to set the table top height and to double-check that the intersection of lasers is on tattoo with the use of a magnifier and additional light source. The accommodations worked and the student passed the competencies being measured.

Allow additional time to develop practical placement skills

For any student on placement with reduced fine motor skills, processing speed difficulties or a disability which can cause pain, fatigue or reduced mobility, even the average speed may be too fast. Wherever possible, students should be given additional time to develop alternative techniques or practice specific practical skills to reach an appropriate level of competence in the skill.

Allow student to record notes and alternative administrative management strategies on placement

In agreement with the Placement Educator, students may request that they record reminders and notes on a Dictaphone or other assistive technology devise (LiveScribe and tablet device). The student will sign a Code of Practice with the College Disability Service that states that the recordings made are for their own personal use and will not be shared.

Managing Handovers

Allow extra time to prepare for clinical handover. Receive verbal patient handover with peers, and additional one-to-one handover to review patient notes and ask questions. Some students with disabilities who have difficulties processing information verbally (the most common handover mechanism used) would benefit from a number of strategies.

  • Assist in discerning key points at or before handover by going over the student's notes before or after handover.
  • Consistent approach to handover sessions is encouraged as it allows the student to develop confidence in this approach.
  • Allow students to used tick lists, handover sheets and takes notes if required.
  • If possible, use other methods of noting information e.g. allow handover to be taped (keep on the ward and wipe clean once the student has taken action or made notes from this).

Provide relevant placement procedures and information in alternative formats or as enlarged copies if required

Some students, particularly those with visual impairments and students with dyslexia, have difficulty accessing information. Assistance should be given to allow students to receive information in an alternative format either by using assistive reading technology that converts text to speech or allowing students to convert materials such as placement procedures, templates etc.

Provide daily/regular feedback on progress on placement

Placement feedback meetings are a good opportunity to discuss issues arising and to help a student to understand why they got the mark they got and how they could have done better.

Adaptation of placement working hours and/or days

Adaptation of typical placement daily working hours or days attended per week may be necessary, based on a student's given disability need, to enable successful placement completion.

Avoid or reduce manual/patient handling tasks

Students impacted by some disabilities such as a Significant Ongoing Illness, dwarfism, hypotonia, hypertonia, etc may not be able to lift or carry objects in the same way as others.

Allow student to use assistive technology such as a digital recorder, laptop etc

Practice-based educators should be supportive of students' use of assistive technology to enhance their learning and practice strategies.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

Personal emergency evacuation plans are advisable for students with a physical, medical or sensory disability were mobility is affected in navigating the many buildings students have to navigate in any placement situation in which a student is placed.

Management of Risk for Students with Disabilities

Guidelines for the Management of Risk for Students and Staff with Disabilities have been developed by the Disability Service within Trinity College Dublin with the aim of facilitating the participation of students with disabilities within the practical elements of their chosen courses and college life. The process outlined within these guidelines is proposed to take place as part of the placement planning process with students registered with the Disability Service

Last updated 20 June 2017 andrew.costello@tcd.ie (Email).