Student placement reference guide for destination coordinators.

A destination coordinator is a health authority employee designated to coordinate student placements for a unit/location, department or specified discipline on HSPnet.

Getting started

Step 1. Set-up your Health Science Placement Network (HSPnet) profile with the student practice team at

Step 2. Complete HSPnet Mandatory New User Orientation online training. Student placement team will provide additional information to complete.

Step 3. Connect with Student Practice for further education details.

Step 4.  Review student-related policies

Be familiar with the roles and responsibilities

There are three named roles for facilitating student practice education: placing coordinator (educational institution), receiving coordinator (clinical education coordinator), and destination coordinator (site/location specific designate for a given department/practice area).

The destination coordinator (or designate) is responsible to:

  • Complete HSPnet Mandatory New User Orientation and the Orientation to the HSPnet Destination Coordinator Role.
  • Ensure that there is an affiliation agreement (and listed program) in place prior to considering any student request.
  • Provide destination profile and capacity updates for HSPnet assigned practice areas a minimum of three times per year to the student practice team at who changes the profile.
  • Accept or decline student practice education requests within 14 days of submission in HSPnet.
  • Inform receiving coordinators and backup destination coordinator of any absences greater than 14 days.
  • Enter name and contact information of health authority staff that will support a 1:1 student practice experience (e.g., preceptor, 1:1 or field guide) in HSPnet for the educational institution at least two weeks prior to the start date.
  • Consider all requests for student practice education using the decision making process in 1.1 HSPnet Placement Process guideline.
  • Support educational institution instructors and faculty in specific orientation to the practice setting.
  • Inform Professional Practice of unresolved student practice issues or educational institution concerns.
  • Inquire with educational institution faculty and instructor regarding completion of orientation pre-requisites.
  • Ensure that students, faculty and instructors have access to all safety equipment (i.e., panic alarms and respirator mask types). 

Reviewing student placement requests in HSPnet

  • Make sure an affiliation agreement is in place with the school before accepting a request.
  • Contact the school for clarification or additional information if required (direct e-mail links provided in HSPnet).
  • Assess the overall unit/location/program capacity for students.
  • Respond in a timely manner to student placement requests (accept or decline) by the reply by dates provided.
    • Placing agencies cannot seek alternate placements until you respond on HSPnet to their original request.
    • Never permit an educational institution to enter acceptance of a request on your behalf in HSPnet. Your acceptance in HSPnet is logged and provides confirmation you have reviewed the request as entered in HSPnet. This is the legal agreement that goes with the affiliation agreement.
  • For non-group requests, identify available, qualified staff to mentor student.
    • Enter staff preceptor name and Fraser Health contact information into HSPnet database (if not already there). Save name to specific placement request so students can connect with their preceptor to discuss their schedule.
    • Encourage mentors to take Level 1 Foundational Mentorship and Level 1 Advanced Mentorship workshops.
    • Optional: upload preceptor schedule into HSPnet.
  • Enter data and notes into HSPnet as needed.

Preparing students and faculty for the placement

  • Review policies  
    • Student Practice Policy
    • Documentation
    • Hand Hygiene
    • Confidentiality and Security of Personal Information
    • Electronic Communications
    • Professional Image
    • Conflict of Interest
    • Respectful Workplace
    • Safe Handling of Patients, Residents, and clients
    • Respiratory Protection
    • Scented products
    • Influenza Policy
    • Research – Intellectual Property
    • Patient and Family Gifts
    • Media Relations
  • Review orientation requirements and arrange for unit/practice setting specific orientation
  • Review the British Columbia Student Practice Education Guidelines
  • Set-up Windows user and email accounts. Destination coordinators will receive an email for each student in each placement accepted. See sample email. Unit-based preceptor or educators will provide access to local shared network drive.

Providing ongoing support

  • Be the point of contact for all placement requests at your location for your assigned disciplines (e.g., arrange faculty orientation, answer questions regarding the work area, clarify concerns, discuss student concerns, or discuss staff issues with students). Refer to our Student Practice Issues guideline should an issue arise.
  • Review destination profile every four months and notify of any significant changes in the practice area and the student placement team will update the destination profile for you.
  • Identify and e-mail the name of your back up or alternative destination coordinator for extended absences (greater than 2 weeks), or if you are leaving your position please notify the student practice team at HSPnet user IDs may not be shared. A new account for your back up/replacement will be created in a timely manner.

Creating supportive learning environments

It is important to foster a learning environment in which students feel safe, relaxed, and willing to take risks. Here are some ways to create a supportive learning environment for your students:

Build a strong community in the workplace

The practice setting can play an important role in helping students build knowledge, apply skills, develop caring attitudes, be socialized into the profession, and create contacts for future employment. 

  • Start out by working together to provide care and orient the student to the practice setting.
  • Make them feel welcomed and a part of the team. Help students get acquainted with all members of the health care team.
  • Provide students with opportunities to share about their backgrounds and cultures.
  • Seek to connect students with a variety of learning opportunities to foster their preparation to move from the student to professional role. Provide a range of experiences provided, relevant to the students skills and level of learning.

Build self-esteem and self-efficacy

Students’ determination and belief that they can achieve their goals are important factors in their persistence in ongoing learning and transition to the professional role. 

  • Ensure that students experience success on their first day of the practicum so the first experience is a positive one. Ensure the students are respected and feel they are valued and part of the team.
  • Be patient. Patience is an extremely important characteristic for any preceptor/mentor. Individuals can often take a longer time in the learning process because of various learning styles, but this does not mean they aren’t motivated to learn.
  • Accept your student as he/she is and respect his/her values even if they differ from yours.
  • Believe in your student and he/she will begin to believe in him/herself.
  • Know your student's name and use it frequently. Introduce them to patients and members of the health care team.
  • Provide ongoing feedback to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement or shortcomings.
  • Support students to identify their learning needs and experiences that are appropriate to their level of learning.
  • To meet defined learning needs, use a range of learning experiences, involving patients, clients, health care providers and members of the inter-professional team,.
  • Identify aspects of the learning environment which could be enhanced, negotiating with others to make appropriate changes.
  • Act as a resource to facilitate the personal and professional development of others. 

Use positive non-verbal communication

Non-verbal messages are an essential component of communication in the learning process. It is not only what you say to your student that is important but also how you say it. An awareness of non-verbal behaviour will allow you to become a better receiver of students’ messages and a better sender of signals that reinforce learning. 

Some areas of non-verbal behaviours to explore include:

  • Eye contact: Those who make eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern, warmth and credibility.
  • Facial expressions: Smiling is a great way to communicate friendliness and warmth to students.
  • Gestures: A lively and animated teaching style captures students’ attention, makes the material more interesting, and facilitates learning. Head nods also communicate positive reinforcement to students and indicate that you are listening.
  • Posture and body orientation: Standing erect, but not rigid, and leaning slightly forward communicates to students that you are approachable, receptive and friendly. Speaking with your back turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided, as it communicates disinterest.
  • Proximity: Cultural norms dictate a comfortable distance for interaction with students. Look for signals of discomfort caused by invading students’ space, which include rocking, leg swinging, crossed arms, tapping and gaze aversion.
  • Paralinguistics: Tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness and inflection in the way you speak should be varied for maximum effectiveness. Students report that they learn less and lose interest more quickly when listening to teachers who have not learned to modulate their voices.
  • Humour: Develop the ability to laugh at yourself and encourage students to do the same. Humour is often overlooked as a teaching tool.  It can release stress and tension for both health care provider and student and foster a friendly classroom environment that facilitates learning.

Motivate students

Motivation is a key factor in student success.

  • Involve students as active participants in learning. Students learn by doing, making, planning, creating and solving. Pose questions. Don’t tell students something when you can ask them.
  • Be enthusiastic about what you are teaching. An individual’s enthusiasm is a crucial factor in student motivation. If you become bored or apathetic, students will too.
  • Work from students’ strengths and interests.
  • When possible, let students have some say in choosing component of their assignment during the placement.
  • Vary your teaching methods (e.g., debates, brainstorming, discussion, demonstrations, case studies, online courses). Variety reawakens students’ involvement and motivation.
  • Relate new tasks to those students already know.

Questions or concerns?

Contact the student practice team at

For assistance with HSPnet and troubleshooting, contact HSPnet Support directly at

Website feedback

Let us know your feedback and how we can improve our webpages. Take our 3-minute website survey.