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Clinical Placements During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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-March 30, 2020-

Clinical Placements During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As you are all aware, the current pandemic has affected access to most clinical education sites. This is an occurrence that is not unique to the Institute; all institutions, across the country, are affected by a lack of placements. Our highest priority at the Institute is to assure that students needing clinical placements are afforded those opportunities at the earliest point possible, while also assuring that risk is mitigated for students, faculty, and patients.

For students enrolled in IHP programs, some new opportunities are emerging for participation in supervised practicum assignments. In many cases, these clinical assignments are necessary for students to complete licensure and/or certification requirements as part of their planned curricula. The School or Department will make students aware of such placements as they become available. While some of these experiences can be completed through telepractice, others require direct (physical) interaction with a patient for completion of credit requirements.

In placements requiring patient contact, it is important for students to assess health risks associated with the clinical assignments. We recognize that in some cases, students will choose not to participate in a given practice experience because of personal risk. Students may make this choice freely, and they are not required to provide the faculty or staff with their reason for choosing not to participate in these clinical assignments. However, if a student chooses not to participate in a given assignment, the student will be advised that the decision may affect their expected program completion date. Again, the graduation requirements for our various programs are aligned with the various state board and accrediting body requirements. In cases when state agencies and accreditation and licensure bodies provide leeway for completion of requirements, the IHP will work to assure that such changes are immediately implemented.

The IHP will continue to do everything possible to partner with students to achieve timely completion of program requirements and graduation. As clinical placement opportunities are provided to students, if the student decides not to participate, they will need to notify the Department in writing within 24 hours of receiving the assignment. For students moving forward with a given placement, the Department or School will provide the student with appropriate contact information.

It is important to note that this opportunity for voluntary declination of participation in clinical assignments is limited to the current pandemic. As such time as governmental and health authorities notify the IHP that risk is reduced, the pre-pandemic clinical assignment process will be resumed.

Approved: March 30, 2020

MGH Institute of Health Professions, COVID-19 Academic Response Team: 

Alex Johnson, PhD, CCC-SLP
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Peter Cahn, PhD
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs 

Jim Dupont
Dean, Enrollment Services 

Heather Easter
Academic Administration Manager 

Jack Gormley, EdD
Dean, Student and Alumni Services 

Michael Iwama, PhD, MSc, BScOT, BScHP
Dean, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Mary Knab, PhD, DPT
Associate Provost for Interprofessional Education and Practice

Denis Stratford
Associate Vice President for Information Technology, Campus Services, and Compliance

 Elaine Tagliareni, EdD, RN, CNE, FAAN
Dean, School of Nursing