Skip to main content

Clinical placements are a vital and influential aspect of a student’s journey to internship, and Medical Deans works to support members and other stakeholders in ensuring these placements are possible and beneficial to the student, the health service and, most importantly, the patient.

“If you use them well, it can improve the efficiency of the clinic”

“They get told things by patients that nobody else has heard”

“I’m quite glad that they’ve been there because it does make you question what you’re doing”

“Makes my clinical performance better, because it’s better for the patient that I’m explaining this to the student, I’m also explaining to the patient.”

If you would like to discuss any aspect of clinical placements in your organisation, please contact the Medical Deans’ office on

Research providing a better understanding of the benefits to health services

Undertaking clinical placements has been long-established as a vital element of a medical student’s final years helping them apply and extend their learning, experience the real-life clinical environment, and prepare for their next stage as a junior doctor. However, the bidirectional benefits to the health service and the patient looking at the contribution of the medical students has been less widely studied.

Led by Professor Elizabeth Molloy, a team at Melbourne University recently undertook research to add to our understanding of the benefits clinical placements provide from the “learner as contributor” perspective.

Their findings supported the evidence that:

  • Students taking on ‘low risk’ jobs frees up experienced clinicians to do more complex work
  • Final year student contribute like junior members of the team
  • Patients respond positively to medical students being part of the healthcare team
  • Their presence can amplify the quality of care by encouraging more reflexive practice by senior clinicians
  • Students are able to spend more time with patients, developing a connection and enhancing the humanistic aspect of care
  • Communities are proud to have a teaching centre in their midst

The full report can be accessed here