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Field Experience: School of Health Sciences: Information for Students

Why a Practicum?

Making a difference in your field requires more than theoretical knowledge.  Completing a practicum gives you clearly defined, real-world field experience in your area of interest under the supervision of Walden faculty and an on-site supervisor (your preceptor).

                                

The practicum experience is designed to provide you with:

  • The opportunity to apply and integrate the knowledge acquired throughout your program.
  • A real-world experience of direct practice.
  • Mentoring from faculty and experts in your area of study.
  • The chance to make a difference in your field.
  • Proficiency with necessary skills for professional practice.

Getting Started

5 Steps toward completing a rewarding MPH practicum and graduating on time:                   

  • At the beginning of the MPH program, students should begin to familiarize themselves with the practicum requirements by reading and following the instructions provided in course announcements, practicum documents, and on this website. See below: MPH Practicum Application Deadlines, Process, and Documents.
  • Visit Career Services to view our MPH practicum webinar and for assistance with cover letters and resumes, outreach to sites (networking), and interviewing skills. Students who have viewed our MPH practicum webinar and worked with Career Services have had greater success staying on track for graduation! See: Career Center Website 
  • Start early!  At least half-way through the program, begin calling sites using best practices as shown in our webinar and as provided by Career Services.
  • Know and follow the application deadlines - these deadlines are firm!
  • Questions? Contact the field education coordinator: MPHfield@mail.waldenu.edu          

   

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

MPH Practicum Application Deadlines, Process & Documents

​Finding a site and preceptor is a student led process.  While students are responsible for finding their own site and preceptor, Walden offers much assistance and guidance.  Below are recommended procedures for finding a site and preceptor.

  • Pursue sites that reflect your own areas of passion and career interests
  • Contact city, county, and state health departments
  • Reach out to community health organizations and local hospitals
  • See the list of field sites on file in the Meditrek database - There is a link on the first page of each student's Meditrek application that allows the student to search for field sites already on file.  To receive access to Meditrek please contact MphField@mail.waldenu.edu.
  • Use this link to view older sites on file and do an internet search for information about the site and current contact information: https://alaureatena.sharepoint.com/sites/walden-university/student-documents/Pages/Field-Site-Lists.aspx
  • See  'How to obtain sample resumes and cover letters for practicum from Career Services' - use the tab at the top of this box: 'MPH Practicum Application Documents'
  • View the webinar 'Marketing Yourself for Public Health Practicum Opportunities' (see links below) Students who have viewed our MPH practicum webinar and worked with Career Services have had greater success staying on track for graduation!

 

The 200 total hours for the MPH practicum are to be spread out over the last two back-to-back courses of the MPH program: PUBH 6638 Practicum I and PUBH 6639 Practicum II.  The hours can only be logged when enrolled in the Practicum courses; and it is required that students begin logging hours the first week of PUBH 6638 Practicum I.  The required dates for the practicum application - due one full quarter in advance -  are shown in the table below. These deadlines are FIRM!

To be registered for Practicum I

and to begin logging hours this quarter

The Practicum Application is due

ON or BEFORE the first day of this quarter:  

Spring 2019 - Feb. 25, 2019 Winter 2018 - Nov. 26, 2018
Summer 2019 - May 28, 2019 Spring 2019 - Feb. 25, 2019
Fall 2019 - Aug. 26, 2019 Summer 2019 - May 28, 2019
Winter 2019 - Nov. 25, 2019 Fall 2019 - Aug. 26, 2019
Spring 2020 - Feb. 24, 2020 Winter 2019 - Nov. 25, 2019
Summer 2020 - June 1, 2020 Spring 2020 - Feb. 24, 2020

 

 

It is strongly recommended that students submit their application two quarters in advance of the quarter they are due for their first practicum course however Practicum Applications are always required one full quarter in advance - see dates above - on the first day of the course of the quarter that precedes the start of the practicum.  These deadlines are firm! Failure to submit the practicum by the due date will result in a delay to the next quarter and will result in a delay for graduation.  

IMPORTANT:  Meditrek is the database students will use to submit their application information and documents.  Students will receive their Meditrek login and password information prior to the practicum application due date. Students can start the application anytime but can only submit it for review once a preceptor has agreed to work with the student and has provided the student with the needed information and preceptor documentsFor assistance in finding a site and preceptor, click on the tab 'Finding a Site and Preceptor'. 

Application Process: Completing and Submitting the Practicum Application using Meditrek/Hsoft

Students should be aware of their program of study and anticipate when they will be ready to begin practicum. All previous coursework must be completed except students can take PUBH 6245 Applied Research with PUBH 6638 Practicum I. Students are encouraged to contact their Student Success Advisor with questions about their program of study and the due date for their practicum.

Students are to submit a one-time application for the back-to-back courses of Practicum I and Practicum II:  PUBH 6638 and 6639. 

IMPORTANT: If anything changes with the site and/or the preceptor at any time, students must contact the field education coordinator.

Meditrek

Meditrek will provide the student’s user name and password.

· Students will receive one user name and password, sent to the student's Walden email, from the field coordinator via Meditrek.  It is to be used for the entirety of their use with the Meditrek system.

· Students should receive this information approximately 6 months prior to the start of the practicum. If students have not received their password 1 month before their application is due, they should contact: MPHfield@mail.waldenu.edu.

· Students can utilize Meditrek to monitor the status and progress of their applications each term.

· Students can access Meditrek at: https://edu.meditrek.com/

Click on the following link or copy/paste it into your browser to view a webinar showing how to use Meditrek to submit the application (No password is needed to view this webinar)https://youtu.be/fU_p_8CQFDo .

Required Information and Documents from Student and Preceptor

IMPORTANT: Students are responsible for uploading all information and documents in Meditrek to complete their application. Preceptors do not have access to the student's Meditrek application. Use of a Meditrek generated password is required.  This Log-in information and password differs from student's Walden Log-in and password.

Student

Students must provide:

· Their Walden student ID number and Walden e-mail address.

· Their résumé.

· Proof of student’s professional liability insurance (PLI); they must show coverage dates and coverage amounts (required minimum of $1 million per incident and $3 million per aggregate - typical cost is less than $40 per year). Students must submit a memorandum or certificate of insurance coverage for the active policy. The type of insurance coverage most often used by MPH students includes ‘student Health Educator’ or ‘student Community Health Intern’ from agencies such as HPSO, Marsh, MedPro, CPH & Associates, etc. For information on how to obtain liability insurance for international students please contact the field education coordinator.  Walden will work with students to resolve issues with their insurance if students provide early notification and a clear explanation. Students should contact the field education coordinator at: MphField@mail.waldenu.edu.

· The preceptor signature document, electronically (typed) signed by the preceptor; this document is sent directly to the preceptor via e-mail when students submit the preceptor information section in Meditrek. Students need to follow up with the preceptor to obtain the signed document and then upload it in Meditrek to complete their application.

For students applying to do their practicum at their place of employment:

Note the student's direct supervisor at their workplace cannot be the preceptor for their practicum.​

  • Supervisor signature document; this document is sent directly to the supervisor via e-mail when students submit the supervisor information section in Meditrek. Students need to follow up with the supervisor to obtain the signed document and then upload it in Meditrek to complete their application.  The required information includes the student’s current work location; the specific days and hours of current job; current job description; specific responsibilities and work assignments in detail; dates of current employment; if the student will continue working at the present position while completing the practicum; and what arrangements will be made to cover the student’s current duties or what arrangements will be made to separate the time requirements of the current job from the time requirements of the practicum.
  • Information is also required from the student’s proposed preceptor including a detailed description of the duties and responsibilities that would be performed by the student during the practicum; the location, including building and floor of the student’s desk/work area during the practicum; and a description of how clear boundaries will be assured between the student’s practicum experience and the student as an employee.

Information and documents for the student to enter concerning their Preceptor Nominees

· A current e-mail address; this is important because the preceptor signature document is sent via e-mail for nominees to sign, and preceptors will receive communication about evaluations via e-mail. Please double-check the validity of the e-mail address.

· Phone number.

· Degrees obtained and Credentials.

· Preceptor résumé or curricula vitae (CV). If no résumé or CV is available, a brief letter that includes the following will be accepted: degrees and years awardedcertifications heldcurrent place of employment, and job description as it relates to the practicum. A copy of the preceptor’s LinkedIn profile will also be accepted as long as it contains the necessary information. Note: If the preceptor has recently served as a preceptor with Walden, students can upload a letter from the preceptor to authorize the field education office to utilize his/her résumé on file.

· Preceptor Signature Document; the preceptor signature document is e-mailed to the preceptor nominee at the time students enter preceptor information on the Meditrek application. Preceptor nominees should review the document, complete it in its entirety and e-sign the document. Students must obtain this document from the preceptor to complete their upload of the Meditrek application. The signature document is an official form and requires the typed signature from the preceptor as well as the tasks the student will do at the site. This document is different from the affiliation agreement.

Information about the Practicum Site

· Students need to identify, with the help of the preceptor and/or practicum site contact, the appropriate individual at the practicum site that can speak to the affiliation agreement. This individual may be the CEO, dean, contracts manager, site director, human resources staff member, owner, or president. Large organizations may have an on-site legal department that reviews such agreements and may have an attorney who signs affiliation agreements.

· Once the proper contact has been identified, students need to record the person’s name, title, e-mail address, and phone number and let him or her know to expect an e-mail from Walden University regarding the affiliation agreement. Students need to ensure that the correct contact information is entered in Meditrek.  Incorrect contact information will delay processing.

Important:  If there are any changes in preceptors and/or practicum sites after the application has been submitted students are to contact the field education coordinator.

Affiliation agreements

An affiliation agreement, sometimes called a field site agreement or a Memo of Understanding (MOU), is a legal contract between Walden and a practicum site. Accreditation standards require that an affiliation agreement be in place before students start their practicum.

If a current affiliation agreement is on file or if a site administrator can sign our Walden University Affiliation Agreement (WUAA) as is with no changes, then this part of the application can be processed promptly.  If an agreement is not on file and if the site makes changes to our Walden agreement, then it can take considerable time, sometimes several weeks or even months to finalize the agreement. Once we know an agreement is undergoing a legal review, it is strongly recommended that students submit another application for a back up site. If there is enough time, Walden will work with students as they try to find a new preceptor and site, so they can still start their practicum on time.

In most cases, Walden is able to reach a mutual agreement with students’ practicum sites. There are times, however, when an agreement is unable to be reached. If this happens, and there is no application for a back up site that can be approved, students are delayed a term while they find a new site. Students are allowed a limited extension to apply for the next term so that they can prepare a new application. Walden is not able to predict or control delays, but they are avoided if at all possible.

Students can monitor the progress of the affiliation agreement process on their application checklist in Meditrek.

Application Approval

· The MPH field education coordinator and the MPH practicum director will process students’ practicum application documents.  Students will be notified if changes are needed. Incomplete applications may be delayed until a later term. Late applications will be delayed until a later term.

·  If an application is denied, students will be notified and, in most cases, they will be given an opportunity to revise their application within a short amount of time.

· When the application is approved, a Practicum Approval Notice will be sent  from the Field Education Coordinator via Meditrek to the preceptor and to the students.

Practicum Course Registration

Registration begins approximately 4 weeks prior to term start.  Students will be registered by the field education coordinator upon full approval of all application materials and when all other requirements have been met.  This includes a minimum GPA of 3.00 and satisfactory completion of all pre-requisite courses.

If students have received an approval notice for starting their practicum but do not see the course registration on their myWalden page, they should contact the MPH field education coordinator at MPHfield@mail.waldenu.edu.

FAQs

Who at my practicum site should I designate in Meditrek as the practicum site affiliation agreement contact? The affiliation agreement contact must be a site administrator who has the authority to sign legal agreements. Often, this person is the CEO, dean, contracts manager, site director, human resources staff member, owner, or president. Large organizations may have an on-site legal department that reviews such agreements and may have an attorney who signs affiliation agreements.

What will happen after I submit my practicum application?

1. When you successfully submit your application, you will receive an automatic e-mail stating it was submitted.

2. The application and the affiliation agreement are two separate entities and are worked on simultaneously.

3. You will receive an e-mail with one of the following responses regarding your application:

§ Your application has been returned for further work: The e-mail will identify what students need to correct. You will need to log back into Meditrek, select the application, correct the error, and then re-submit it. You will then get another e-mail that the application has been re-submitted.

§ Your application has been returned for further review: The e-mail will identify what needs further review by the practicum director and/or field education coordinator. You will then get another e-mail once the review has been completed.

§ Closed: The application was permanently closed for one of several reasons: an inappropriate practicum site, an inappropriate preceptor, the student is no longer using the practicum site, etc.

§ Incomplete: You have started the application but haven’t submitted it.  Note your application cannot be reviewed until it has been completed and submitted.

§ Submitted: The application has been submitted to Walden and is ready for review by the practicum director and the field education coordinator.

§ Returned: The application was submitted and reviewed by the practicum director and/or field education coordinator and has been returned to you for further work.

§ On Hold: All aspects of the application have been reviewed and approved except for the affiliation agreement.

§ Approved: Everything is approved, including the affiliation agreement. Student is all set. 

Note: Students can log in to Meditrek at any time to see the status of their application.

 

Registration Requirements for the MPH Practicum

For Students:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required - no exceptions.
  • All pre-requisite course work must be completed except students may take PUBH 6245 (Applied Research) with the first practicum course, PUBH 6638.  Otherwise 6638 will need to be taken on its own.
  • The two (2) practicum courses, 6638 and 6639, cannot be taken together - no exceptions.
  • Students will then finish the MPH program with the second practicum course, PUBH 6639, and the final Seminar:  PUBH 6640 - note these two courses are taken together.
  • Students can only be registered for each of the practicum courses by the field education coordinator once the practicum application has been approved by the practicum director.  
  • Students will be notified of the approval of their practicum by the field education coordinator.
  • Students will need to be sure there are no holds preventing the registration.  

Participation Requirements for the MPH Practicum

For Students:

  • Practicum hours must only occur during registration of the practicum courses.
  • Students must begin logging hours during the first week of the course.  
  • No hours can be logged outside of the practicum registration. This includes the off weeks between enrollment in the two practicum courses.
  • Students are allowed to finish all practicum hours while enrolled in the first practicum course, however, enrollment in the second practicum course the following quarter is required.

For Preceptors:

  • Holds an advanced degree - master's degree or higher (MPH preferred but not required).
  • Has at least 2 years of public health experience.
  • Works currently in public health in the student's area of interest.
  • Has the time and desire to guide and support the practicum.
  • If the practicum is at the student's place of employment, the student's direct supervisor cannot be the preceptor.

Learning Agreement - Once the practicum application has been approved, students will receive a Learning Agreement form from the field education coordinator.  Students are to work on this document with their preceptor and then the student is to send it to the field office for a preview.  If it meets criteria the field coordinator will send it to the MPH Practicum Director who will review it and provide feedback and/or approval.  The field education coordinator will notify the student of the approval or a need for revision.  The Learning Agreement draft is due in the field office two weeks after it is received - and before the first day of the course.

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