Capacity to Practise Safely – Students with
Disability Undertaking Healthcare Courses
Mike Spurr
FACULTY OF
HEALTH
Content
Introduction
Slide 3
Risk Management Hierarchy
Slide 4
Pertinent Legislation
Slide 5
Health Practitioner Regulation National Law
Slide 6
UTAS Policy and Procedures
Slide 8
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
Slide 9
Safety in Practice Risk and Needs Assessment
Slide 15
Student with Disability PEP Support Strategies
Slide 18
Letter of Introduction to PEP Supervisor
Slide 19
Discussion
Slide 20
2
Introduction
Students enrolled in most Faculty of Health courses at
the University of Tasmania undertake professional
experience placement (PEP), which is a form of Work
Integrated Learning. PEP enables students to practise
newly acquired skills, behaviours and knowledge in the
workplace environment.
Faculty of Health: Professional Experience Placements
www.utas.edu.au/health/professional-experience-placement/home
3
Risk Management Hierarchy
Legislation
UTAS Policy
Faculty Guidelines and Procedures
Risk and Needs Assessment
Implementation of Risk Management Strategies
KEY:
Driver
Safeguard/Defender
4
Pertinent Legislation
Disability Discrimination Act, 1992
The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act,
2009 mandates the compulsory registration with the
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
(AHPRA) of students intending to undertake higher
education courses which include PEP.
Work, Health and Safety Act, 2011
5
Health Practitioner Regulation National Law
AHPRA regulatory requirements dictate that students
with an impairment which will place the health and
safety of the public (including themselves) at risk
cannot undertake PEP.
In relation to a student, ‘impairment’ is defined under
section 5 of the National Law to mean:
‘physical or mental impairment, disability, condition
or disorder (including substance abuse or
dependence) that detrimentally affects or is likely to
detrimentally affect the student’s capacity to
undertake clinical training.’
6
Health Practitioner Regulation National Law
Education providers are also required, under section
143 of the National Law, to make:
‘mandatory notifications in relation to students, if the
provider reasonably believes a student enrolled with
the provider has an impairment that, in the course of
the student undertaking clinical training, may place
the public at substantial risk of harm.’
7
UTAS Policy and Procedures
University:
 Work Integrated Learning Policy
 Safe to Practise Policy
 Disability Policy
 Assessment Policy
 Learning Access Plan Procedure
Faculty of Health:
 Safety in Practice Compliance and Risk Assessment
Procedure
8
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
What
All students are required to establish and maintain
their medical, physical and psychological capacity
to safely participate in PEP.
Note: This has nothing to do with competent or
successful performance, which is assessed as
per Course and Unit learning objectives
Why
To meet the University’s legal, moral and ethical
obligations – with a focus on safety and duty of care
9
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
How A
Student completes a Faculty of Health Safety in
Practice Agreement Form, including answering the
question, ‘Do you have any permanent, episodic or
temporary health condition or impairment, including
visual or auditory processing (learning disability),
which may affect your capacity to safely undertake the
PEP Mandatory Functional Requirements of your
course?’
The Mandatory Functional Requirements are the Faculty
of Health’s not negotiable or ‘inherent’ requirements.
10
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
Mandatory Functional Requirements:
1. Capacity to read and write to enable the student to:
 read and understand patient/client records, charts
and/or medication labels and dosages; and
 accurately record patient/client notes.
2. Capacity to undertake critical thinking and reflective
analysis to:
 self‐evaluate and reflect upon one’s own practice,
feelings and beliefs and the consequences of these
for individuals and groups.
11
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
3. Capacity to communicate to enable the student to:
 interact with patients/clients and health practitioners
in a professional setting;
 accept instruction and professional criticism;
 question directions and decisions which are unclear;
and
 resolve conflict and negotiate with staff and
patients/clients.
12
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
4. Psychological capacity to:
 understand the importance of and demonstrate the
professional attributes of honesty, integrity, critical
judgement, insight and empathy;
 interact with patients/clients, carers and others in a
caring, respectful manner to provide emotional
support and health education; and
 maintain self-control in professional situations.
13
Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Compliance
5. Physical capacity to: (N/A for Counselling and Psychology)
 use technical equipment, which includes having the
dexterity to undertake clinical procedures and handle,
maintain and program equipment;
 apply clinical procedures (e.g. physical examination,
wound management), support patients/clients and
perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); and
 manage essential equipment and materials.
14
Safety in Practice Risk and Needs Assessment
How B
If the student makes a disclosure on the Safety in Practice
Agreement, they are required to have a Safe to Practice
Health Assessment Form completed by a Medical
Practitioner.
Note: Students are advised that, ‘Declaring a medical,
physical or psychological condition will not automatically
exclude you from undertaking PEP.’
The student’s Safety in Practice Agreement and Health
Assessment or Educational Psychological Assessment
Report are submitted to the Faculty of Health PEP Office
for risk assessment.
15
Safety in Practice Risk and Needs Assessment
The Faculty PEP Officer assesses risk and support
requirements via the following steps:
 Review of the student’s:
 Safety in Practice Agreement; and
 Safe to Practice Health Assessment or Educational
Psychological Assessment; and
 Disability Learning Access Plan (where one exists).
 Interview with the student as required.
 Consultation with Medical Practitioner as required.
16
Safety in Practice Risk and Needs Assessment
The Faculty PEP Officer identifies and advises the student and
Course PEP Administrator of the risk assessment outcome:
1. Clear to attend PEP
2. Clear to attend PEP - Conditional, including (examples):
 Specified PEP environment
 Shift start times
 Articulation of support requirements to PEP Supervisor
3. Ineligible to attend PEP:
 Counsels student on course implications
 Refers student to Faculty to discuss course options
17
Student with Disability PEP Support Strategies
The Faculty PEP Officer assists the student to develop the
following support mechanisms:
1. Identify and practise the compensatory strategies you
intend to employ whilst undertaking PEP.
2. Meet with your Unit Coordinator prior to PEP to discuss
the PEP learning objectives, clarify any concerns and
receive a Letter of Introduction to PEP Supervisor. (slide 19)
3. Develop a plan to meet with your PEP Supervisor to:
 articulate your individual requirements and the
compensatory strategies you will employ; and
 identify support strategies specific to the environment.
18
Letter of Introduction to PEP Supervisor
Dear Supervisor,
Ned Kelly ID 123456 has disclosed a health condition
through the Faculty of Health Safety in Practice Agreement
process, which will not affect his capacity to safely undertake
the mandatory functional requirements of the professional
experience placement, but does require reasonable
adjustments. Ned is meeting with you to discuss possible
strategies to alleviate the implications of his condition.
This letter is valid for the duration of 2014.
If you require clarification, please contact Mike Spurr at the
Faculty of Health.
19
Discussion
The challenge is to balance all persons’ rights under the
requirements of health regulatory, public health and
safety and disability legislation.
Does the UTAS Faculty of Health process equitably
assess the capacity of a student with a disability to
practise safely, in accordance with the National Law,
whilst adhering to the DDA and ensuring the
identification and application of support for the student?
Issues and Suggested Improvements????
20
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