Council pass motion to establish representative committee for students on clinical placement

The committee aims to address high costs and pressures faced by students on off-campus placements

A motion to establish an Off-Campus Clinical Placement Committee has been passed at this evening’s meeting of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council.

The aims of the committee include guaranteeing subsidised accommodation for students participating in Dublin-based summer placements, reducing costs incurred by placements, increasing the availability of counselling services for students on placements.

The committee will include the TCDSU Off-Campus Officer, who shall act as chair, as well as the President, who shall act as secretary, the Welfare & Equality Officer, the Education Officer, and the Health Sciences Convenor.

Five representatives shall be elected at the committee’s first meeting of the year, for therapies, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and midwifery. Membership will be open to all off-campus Trinity students who participate in mandatory clinical placements.

Speaking to Trinity News before Council, TCDSU Off-Campus Officer Hannah McAuley, who proposed the motion, noted that, “due to the nature of many courses, students of the health sciences often simply do not have the time to become highly engaged with the SU”.

McAuley said that this committee would “place power in the hands of students who, for too long, have been unheard, underfunded, and forgotten.”

Speaking at Council, McAuley spoke of the pressure put on students on placement: “There are students in our college working 46 hours a week and not getting paid… I know because i was one of them”

“They need the support of the whole student body and l believe this is the first step.”

The motion noted the “extreme mental, physical and financial strain” mandatory clinical placements impose on students pursuing health science degrees. Sophister students on placement often assume the responsibility of “filling the gaps” in hospitals and health centres, roles traditionally taken on by paid health providers.

The motion criticised current measures in place to support students on placement, such as the SU Placement Grant. The motion asserted that the fund, which was created in 2017, is insufficient for students attempting to find accommodation in Dublin to attend summer placements.