Practice Learning Support Team

Practice learning advisors (PLA)

Laura Greenshields is the practice learning advisor at our Highland campus site. Tamsin Smith carries out this role on our Western Isles campus site.

The role of these advisors is to advise and support clinical practice allocations and learning experiences in line with the regulation set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), and the NMC regulated undergraduate nursing programme.

Email addresses for the two advisors are:

Nursing Student Support

There are 2 nursing student support teams, one based at Highland campus and one at Western Isles campus.


Three nursing student support officers work alongside the PLA to support and guide with regard to practice planning, expenses, travel and accommodation (practice learning only).

Western Isles

Two nursing administration officers work alongside the PLA to support and guide with regard to practice planning, expenses; travel and accommodation (practice learning only).

Mentorship from clinical experts

You will be allocated a named mentor, who is usually a nurse or midwife who has had particular preparation to undertake the role.

However, in some areas of practice you may be mentored by a team of mentors, and it will be the practice area what will determine this.

Your named mentor will hold the responsibility for your whole practice learning experience within your prescribed area; they may facilitate and support you to undertake practice experience with other professionals or within other areas, however they are accountable for assessing, in collaboration with others, your clinical competence.

This assessment will include assessment of your motivation to learn, theoretical knowledge and understanding, and application to practice situations and care, and your professional presentation and attitude.

Practice Education and Care Home Facilitators

Working between practice and education settings, the role of the Practice Education Facilitator (PEF), and Care Home Facilitator (CHEF), is to provide support to those who will mentor pre-registration nursing and midwifery students.

They also support, and aim to enhance the wider clinical learning environments. Their role provides support to the mentors to ensure that they provide effective supervision and assessment, and offer written evidence to support their decision making with regard to nurse and midwife learners, and their clinical competencies.

The PEFs and CHEFs also input into the preparation of nurses and midwives with regard to mentorship preparation, and annual updates in line with Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulations.

The PEFs and CHEFs are:

PEF/CHEFArea covered
Lorraine Murphy Raigmore Hospital, Osprey House and the RNI Community Hospital – wards and community teams.
Trisha Kelly Midwifery PAN Highland, SCBU and Children’s ward.
Elaine Dibden New Craigs Hospital Inverness, including inpatient and community units within hospital.
Lorna Morrison Inverness, South and Mid Highland CHP – NHS, Highland Council teams and Care Homes.
Dorah Fraser  Care Homes – North, Mid and West CHP” or “across Highland and the Western Isles.
Rachel Fuller Easter Ross and East Sutherland (to Brora) – NHS and Highland Council Teams.
Vacant at present North West Sutherland and Caithness- NHS/Highland Council Care Facilities.
Fiona Smithies Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross- NHS/Highland Council Care Facilities.
Aileen MacLean Lochaber NHS/Highland Council Care Facilities, and Oban Hospital.
Anna Nicolson NHS Western Isles (Bord SSN nan Eilean Siar)/Council Care Facilities.

Peer support

At times, you may be allocated to a practice experience alongside other undergraduate nursing students. We would encourage you to utilise the peer support that this may offer; sharing learning experiences or learning, or it may be that you can teach other students and offer support.

Personal Academic Tutor (PAT)

As a student of the University of the Highlands and Islands you will allocated a PAT. Your PAT can be contacted by e-mail or telephone during the time you are in a practice learning allocation, if required.

Disability Support in Clinical Practice

As part of the support structures within the Department of Nursing, University of the Highlands and Islands, we aim to ensure that we offer support to all students, including students who may declare that they have a disability. These disabilities may include a wide range of medical and physical conditions, mental health conditions or conditions that may impact on cognitive learning and processing of information e.g. dyslexia.  This support might include the need to support our students by developing reasonable adjustments plans that will advise and support the student within clinical practice environments.

A structured approach is applied to support students who may require reasonable adjustments in clinical practice. However, all students need to be aware that these adjustments cannot alter the required NMC competencies, but support adjustments that may allow the student to meet these competencies.  Equally, it is not always possible to apply adjustments that support the student to meet competencies. An example of this is that all nurse and midwives need to be able to undertake record keeping in a timely manner (this may be handwritten or electronically produced), and will dependent on required record keeping method utilised in each practice area.

The structured approach used to document student adaptions for practice is carried out using an initial assessment process, which will include student self-assessment, discussion with the University disability support team and assessors and a disability contact. The outcomes from this assessment may be used to produce a Disability Disclosure and Agreement of Reasonable Adjustments in Practice (DDARAP) plan. This plan details  learning needs  that the student can share,  in  confidence,  with  their  clinical  mentor  at  the  beginning  of  each  practice learning  experience.  At times, the suggested adaptions may be discussed with clinical partners to ensure they can be legally and feasibly applied.

There are 2 disability contacts within the Department of Nursing, one based at our Highland campus, and one at our Western Isles campus. Both of these on campus disability contacts are nurses who have a broad understanding and experience of developing reasonable adjustments in clinical practice, for undergraduate nursing students.

The disability contacts are: