Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 302 - Health Services Placement

15 Points

Semester 1 and 2



The placement with a health service organisation provides students with the opportunity for experiential learning and the development of competencies needed in the workplace. Theory and skills learned in previous courses are integrated and extended as students apply prior knowledge to a local health organisation and carry out tasks asked of them.


Prerequisite: HLTHPSYC 122, MAORIHTH 201, POPLHLTH 101, 102, 111, 202, 204, 210, STATS 101

Course outline

This course provides students with the opportunity of a placement in a contemporary health service setting.  

During the placement, students are expected to gain a critical understanding of the hosting organisation or service through day-to-day exposure of service provision. This will be achieved through such activities as observation, reviewing of service documents (of a non-confidential nature), shadowing staff members to gain an understanding of what they do, sitting in on meetings, asking questions and having discussions with staff members. The placement gives students the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills reflecting the graduate profile for the BHSc, in particular related to ‘General Intellectual Skills and Capacities’ and ‘Personal Qualities & Professional Integrity’. By reflecting and building on their experiences in the placement, students are supported in the transition from university to work and the development of lifelong learning attitudes and skills. 

Course requirements

Course requirements

Students are expected to participate in the host organisation and in the Induction and seminars (both at the School of Population Health). 

  1. Time spent in your community organisation: They are required to spend time regularly, throughout the semester, at the premises of your host organisation and in organisational activities where delivered. The dates and times will be negotiated between them and their host organisation, and must not be less than 60 hours distributed evenly across the semester (excluding the mid-semester break). While on placement, they are expected to behave ethically at all times and to sign an agreement to this effect.

  2. Induction: The course co-ordinator, tutors and all students will meet once in the first week of the semester. 

  3. Seminars: Smaller groups of students will meet with one of the co-ordinators or tutors on four occasions. 

  4. Presentations: All students will give a short presentation on their placement in the last week of the semester, to which representatives of the host organisations and services are invited to attend.

Learning in this course is assessed individually.   

Learning is assessed through a learning portfolio, two organisational reports, and a presentation. Your supervisor at the host organisation will be asked to submit comments on a

number of different aspects, including your strengths, your conduct and manner, the work performed by the student, satisfaction with the final report, and overall satisfaction with the placement. The course co-ordinators will consider these comments when assigning your final grade. However, the responsibility for assessing the final grade remains with the coordinators.

There will be four assessment points for this course. All must be submitted to pass the course. 

  1.  Placement & Learning journal (40%)         

           (Due by midnight on the Monday after the semester finishes)   

  2.  Organisational Report 1 (20%)          

           (Due by midnight on the Monday after the semester break)   

  3.  Organisational Report 2 (30%)                   

          (Due by midnight on the Monday after the semester finishes)   

  4.  Presentation (10%)                          

           (Last week of the semester, date to be confirmed)


Assignment 1: Learning Journal and Placement 

You should maintain a personal Learning Journal in which you document and reflect on your learning experiences in the placement, with reference to the BHSc graduate profile. You are encouraged to write a blog (dated) after each occasion spent working on your placement. You should think about what you are learning related to the placement experiences. In addition, think about your current knowledge and skills, and the areas you believe you will need to work on, in preparation for a career in the health sector. 

Assessment is based on submission of: 

  • 3 blogs about your experiences in the Placement
  • 3 personal development reflections
  • 4 seminar participation
  • supervisor feedback

Feedback will be provided on each blog and reflection. The final mark will not be available until after the end of the semester.   


Assignment 2: Report describing & analysing the organisation/service (1500 words) 

There are two main focuses for this report.  The first is to describe the organisation or service hosting your placement. The second is to analyse the organisation from a health systems perspective.  


Assignment 3: Report on assigned task or project (2000 words). Marks are allocated as per specified tasks. 


Assignment 4: Oral Presentation

The presentation is based on Assignment 3 (the 2nd report), and involves:

  • 10 minutes for the presentation itself and 5 minutes for questions
  • Supported by 5-7 slides 

Recommended readings

There are no assigned readings for the course, though the course coordinators may recommend useful literature. However, students will be expected to undertake a personal reading of the literature in relation to the placements and to demonstrate that reading in the reports and e-portfolio.

Course Director