Clinical Education in Speech-Language Pathology

Throughout the MSc(SLP) program, students will complete 29 full-time clinical practicum weeks. Clinical placements will follow each academic unit and vary in length from 2 weeks following Unit I to 10 weeks following Unit 5. Clinical education courses take place in a variety of facilities, including teaching hospitals, community hospitals, health care agencies, specialized centres, private clinics, home care, schools, and other community facilities. During clinical placements, students practice under the supervision of clinical instructors, who are primarily registered SLPs, but may also include other health care providers.

General Placement Information

Over the course of the program, students will participate in five clinical placements:

  • Year 1, December: 2 weeks, observation only
  • Year 1, March-April: 5 weeks
  • Year 2, September-October: 6 weeks
  • Year 2, January-February: 6 weeks
  • Year 2, May-July: 10 weeks

Most placement sites have been specifically chosen by the program. If a site is interested in supervising students, they can request being added to our approved list, by contacting the Director of Clinical Education, Justine Hamilton at hamilj13@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 x27803.

Students may express interest in particular, approved placement sites and they may end up getting a placement in a preferred site, but they may not. Placements are assigned using a complex algorithm that primarily balances the need to ensure that all students obtain the full range of hours required in order to be licensed to practice in Ontario.

Students are expected to travel outside of Hamilton, Ontario for clinical placements. Common clinical placement regions outside of Hamilton include, but are not limited to Niagara, Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, Waterloo, Wellington, and Halton. Some clinical placements may be located in rural, under-serviced, and remote areas. Many placements, rural and urban, require travel throughout the work day (e.g., traveling to schools, seeing clients in their homes, workplaces, and other locations in the community). Sometimes students may travel with their Clinical Instructors but often they must drive separately. Students are responsible for their own transportation, medical and auto insurance coverage, accommodation, and associated costs in order to complete program requirements – there is no funding from the SLP program to assist students with these costs. Students must prepare for costs such as relocation, transportation, rent (in addition to rent for Hamilton residence), commuting, parking, additional medical and auto coverage, and food.

All SLP placements are full-time (typically an average of 35-40 hours per week, recognizing that there will be week-to-week variations based on client and facility need). The particular days and times of day worked will vary according to each individual site, and may include evenings and weekends.

Additional part-time placements are scheduled to assist students in obtaining their Audiology hours. These will typically be scheduled on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout academic units 2-4.

Over the course of the program, students will gain clinical experience across a wide variety of organizations, including but not limited to hospitals, schools, preschool programs, children’s treatment centres, home care programs, day programs, and private practices. Students will typically have one or two primary placement supervisors (called Clinical Instructors), but may be given opportunities to participate with other personnel at the facility, including both Speech-Language Pathologists and Communicative Disorders Assistants.

Experiences while on placement are vital to the development of effective practicing clinicians. Students have the opportunity to transfer knowledge gained during in-class and self-directed learning into real world environments under the guidance of their Clinical Instructors.

Over the course of the 29 weeks of clinical placement experience, students are required to obtain a minimum number of specified practice hours in order to apply for registration or licensing in the chosen jurisdiction. Only hours obtained in placements where a passing grade was obtained are counted toward registration/licensing requirements. Students who fail a placement must complete an additional placement of the same duration, which may extend the length of their program.

Students will find all placement-related information, including the Clinical Education Handbook, in Avenue to Learn under the Clinical Education course folder.

Non-Academic Requirements

Students are required to maintain current non-academic requirements for the duration of their registration in the MSc(SLP) program. Failure to maintain current requirements may result in the student being withdrawn from the program and/or clinical placement.  Non-academic requirements can be found here:

Year 1 students: http://srs-mcmaster.ca/slp-year-one-requirements/

Year 2 students: https://srs-mcmaster.ca/slp-year-two/

Students must be prepared to supply confirmation of meeting the Health Screen, Vulnerable Sector Screen, CPR Training, Mask Fit, and Health & Safety Training requirements either prior to or on the first day of each placement.

Some placement sites have additional requirements (e.g., site-specific health and safety training, more frequent police checks, additional paperwork, etc.) and these should be identified in the in the initial placement offer. It is the student’s responsibility to inquire about additional requirements and then ensure they have met the additional requirements prior to the start of placement.

General Information

Mailing Address:

School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7

Contact:

Contact Us


Directions:

Directions to IAHS