Image showing student on placement working at a desk: Virtual student placements

Great Placement Solutions for Your Students

Welcome to ‘Virtual Student Placements’ by Health Academy. Health Academy supports a range of Universities in the UK by delivering practice placements for Undergraduate and Postgraduate healthcare students. We are able to deliver placements for students of nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, pharmacy and other allied health professions.

What is a Virtual Placement?

A virtual practice placement is a learning experience for undergraduate or postgraduate healthcare students that takes place online instead of in a physical healthcare setting. It allows students to gain practical skills and knowledge through simulated scenarios, virtual patient interactions, and online workshops.

Students can engage in activities such as virtual consultations, case studies, development of digital tools and discussions with peers and clinical professionals. This virtual format provides a safe and controlled environment for students to practice and develop their clinical skills, critical thinking abilities, and professional competencies. It also offers flexibility in terms of time and location, making it accessible to a wider range of students.

Quality Standards

Does a virtual placement meet the professional standards?

At the outset of any placement development, Health Academy maps learning outcomes, proficiencies and learning domains to the professional documentation such as PAD & CPAF to ensure that the virtual student placement meets the relevant professional standards.

In addition we work with the University or local Training Hub to ensure that the placement is delivered in line with the relevant professional body and commissioning body requirements. The regulators and commissioning bodies have aknowledged both the need for innovative and alternative placement offerings as well as the benefits for students.

Evidence-based virtual placements present the healthcare education sector with an opportunity to provide practice learning capacity alongside the learning outcomes it sets out to achieve- for the learner, practice learning teams and the wider health and social care sector.

NHS England

We recognise that simulated practice learning methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated, helping students to build their confidence and skills in a range of situations, including some they may not encounter frequently in practice. Simulated practice learning can also offer students a safe and supported environment to practise and develop the skills required to meet our standards of proficiency for pre-registration nursing programmes.”

Nursing & Midwifery Council

The HCPC are supportive of practice-based learning innovation in the area of technology-enabled care services, the use of simulation and opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Education providers should feel encouraged and empowered to explore opportunities in this area, knowing the regulator is supportive of these efforts, where our standards can continue to be met.

Health & Care Professionals Council

Examples of placements

Image showing virtual student placement programme: Nursing 
Primary Care
Year 2 - 4 to 8 weeks
Image showing virtual student placement programme for Physiotherapy
Year 1 & 2 - 5 to 6 weeks
Image showing virtual student placement programme: Multi-professional
Year 1 to 3 - 3 to 4 weeks
Image showing virtual student placement programme: Occupational Therapy
Active Hospitals
Year 2 & 3 - 10 to 11 weeks

These are just a handful of the placement models we currently offer. We design each placement to the needs of the university. We have even developed hybrid models such as the placement below:

Who do we Deliver Placements for?

Image showing logos of universities that Health Academy deliver placements to


 What Our Students Say

Great Learning Opportunity

“I think it should be a learning opportunity offered to all healthcare students.”


Really Interactive

“Virtual learning offers flexibility making education accessible to a broader audience. Students from different regions can participate in courses which bring new ideas and experiences to a learning experience. The online platform incorporated adaptive learning technologies, which enabled me to focus on areas where I needed more help. The course was highly interactive, including real-time discussions, video lectures, and group projects; this fostered a collaborative and engaging learning experience.”



“Virtual learning empowers students like me to take more ownership of their learning journey. I have improved valuable skills like time management, self-discipline, and self-motivation, which are essential for lifelong professional success.”


Great Support

“I actually really enjoyed this placement and I could only really say positive things about it. Plus Tanya was absolutely lovely, so thumbs up from me!”


New Ways to Learn

“Although I was a bit weary at first at the thought of an online placement, I have learnt new things and a different way of learning”


Frequently Asked Questions

Will there be any costs for using Health Academy to deliver these placements?

No, there are no costs for the HEI. A Health Academy Virtual Placement is treated as any other placement would be. The HEI report the clinical placement hours to NHS England as would be done for any other placement and Health Academy are reimbursed via the Clinical Placement Tariff. In some cases we may look to work with the HEI by utilising facilities at the HEI, but any plan for this will be agreed during the planning phase.

Are there restrictions on how many clinical placement hours can be attributed to a virtual placement?

Each regulatory body has different guidance on this. For example the current NMC guidance limits this to 8 weeks over the course of undergraduate course. The NMC is currently undertaking a consultation and it is widely expected that alternative placement provisions will be extended. HCPC approach is more flexible on the use dependent on need.

Do the students have the opportunity to meet all their practice requirements during a virtual placement?

We work closely with the HEI at the outset to ensure that the placement structure is able to link directly to the learning outcomes and domains that the healthcare student is required to meet.

Is Health Academy compliant with the 'Standards for student supervision and assessment' (SSSA) NMC?

Yes, Health Academy strongly believes in the delivery of high quality learning, support and supervision throughout our placements. We embed the principles in the NMC guidance throughout our placements and are fully compliant with all standards. All team members are supervisor and/or assessor trained.

What measures are in place to monitor progress, attendance and support those students that may be struggling?

Although the placements are virtual, we have mechanisms to monitor students progress with the project, including regular group and individual meetings with the named clinical practice assessor. We also have a digital student diary for every placement which each student is required to complete daily to log their hours and briefly summarise their placement activity that day.

How long from initial contact does it take for Health Academy to develop a placement? Ie how quickly could a placement be set up?

The longer lead in time we have, the better prepared we can be for a placement and it also allows us to really ensure that all stakeholders are fully briefed. Our preferred timeframe would be 3 months or longer. However, we have been asked at short notice to provide placements within a couple of weeks, which we have been able to faciliate using the tried and tested placement models that we already have built.

If we needed a 'Virtual Placement' for this academic year, would Health Academy be able to facilitate this?

We have permanent team members that work on the ‘Virtual Student Placements’ throughout the year, therefore we are able to facilitate placements this academic year if required.

Download our Brochure

Download a copy of our Student Placement Brochure to read through at your leisure, or send on to your interested stakeholders

Image showing health academy virtual student placements brochure

Request a Call

More information or arrange a call with us

We are able to offer a wide range of solutions to meet your student placement needs. Why not arrange a call to see how we can help you?

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Email Address

(+44) 0330 133 2104