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School of Health Sciences

Communities of Practice

What is a Community of Practice?

A Community of Practice is a group of health care practitioners who share specific professional interests such as Midwifery, Mental Health Nursing, Children's Nursing; Primary Care and Public Health Nursing or Adult Nursing.

These practitioners may be located within one geographical area such as Tower Hamlets; Hackney; Newham; Central London, North London; or they may be located across several of these geographical boundaries such as for Mental Health Nursing, Midwifery or Children's Nursing.

Practice Placements

Practice placement experiences in Communities of Practice make up 50% of pre-registration Nursing and 60% of Midwifery programmes. On behalf of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), the School is required to ensure that students undertake the prescribed amount of placement experience in order to become a registered practitioner. Over the course of the programme, placements will take place in a wide range of health and social care settings. All these placements are designed to prepare students to become fit for practice as a midwife or as a nurse and to become registered on the professional Register.

The aims of each Community of Practice are:

  • to provide a secure and familiar base for the student to develop their professional knowledge and prepare for professional registration
  • to foster a strong understanding of the health and social care provision within the student's Community of Practice
  • to foster effective working relationships with a range of health care practitioners working in one Community of Practice
  • to provide a career pathway from being a nursing/midwifery student to being a registered practitioner working within the Community of Practice.

Pre-registration Adult Nursing and Midwifery Students have the opportunity to select a preferred Community of Practice for their practice placements although their choice cannot be guaranteed as this will be reliant on the numbers of places being made available by our NHS partners. The Communities of Practice (CoP) are:

Adult Nursing - Barts Health NHS Trust

Adult Nursing - Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Adult Nursing - University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Adult Nursing - North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust

Children's Nursing

Students will gain a wide variety of experience by attending their placements in the above CoPs but will have an identified Home Trust.

These Communities of Practice are based on the communities within the London boroughs across City and East London:

Mental Health Nursing

East London NHS Foundation Trust

Midwifery

At City placements take place in London's prestigious health care settings working with a diverse and complex population. Midwifery placements take place within City's 'community of practice', a partnership of healthcare providers in Central and North East London including:

The 'community of practice' allows students to consistently build up their skills whilst working with experienced health and social care professionals. Placements take place in a range of maternity settings such as midwifery-led units, home births, birthing centres, delivery suites, antenatal and postnatal settings, maternal and fetal assessment specialist areas and special care baby units. Students work and learn alongside consultant midwives and specialist midwives.

Local Authorities

Each Community of Practice provides a wide range of professional practice experiences in the community, acute teaching hospitals, community health and social care services, independent hospitals and nursing homes as well as a range of clinics, health care practices and so on.

Students registering for Adult Nursing remain within their Community of Practice for the duration of their programme, as each offers the full range of health and social care experience necessary for the programme.

Students intending to become a Mental Health Nurse, Children's Nurse or a Midwife undertake their placements across more than one locality to reflect the distribution of these services. These students undertake placements wherever these specific services are provided. Wherever the practice placements, students have the same opportunities and are supported in the same way as those going to any one of the geographical Communities of Practice.

Choosing a preferred Community of Practice

In deciding on a preferred Community of Practice, students need to:

  • consider where they will be living throughout the programme
  • identify which geographical area will be the most accessible for social and travel arrangements and the needs of their children or other people they may be caring for.

When out on a placement, a morning shift normally starts at 7.30am, and an evening shift normally ends between 8pm and 9pm. Working night duty is another factor to consider. So students need to check:

  • travel arrangements
  • transport available
  • time it will take to travel (such as leaving work at the end of an evening shift, or to start a morning shift)
  • overall cost of travel.

Students may find Transport for London's Journey Planner website useful for checking this information.

To help students make this important decision, information about each of the acute hospital trusts is available using the Community of Practice links above.

Placements within each Community of Practice are limited and so students may not get their first choice. Allocations to a Community of Practice are made on the basis of when we receive preference choices and placements will be planned to reflect this. If preferences are returned late, students may be allocated to placements in their second or third choice Community of Practice.