The College of Pharmacy and Nutrition aims to positively impact the health of individuals and communities by developing skilled and caring pharmacy and nutrition professionals and creating knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, outreach, and engagement. This handbook is intended to help guide students during their time at the College. It contains valuable information related to resources, policies, and procedures.
All readers and students are advised that the matters dealt with in the handbook are subject to continuing review and revision. This handbook does not supersede the College Academic Policies Document or the University Catalogue, which is the University’s major regulatory publication. The University Catalogue includes admission procedures and deadlines, academic regulations, programs of study, academic standards, degree requirements, and general University policies and codes.
There are two practicum courses in the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition program: NUTR 366.3 (Year 2) and NUTR 531.30 (Year 4). Accreditation Standards require a minimum of 1250 hours of supervised practice-based learning; these minimums are exceeded in the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition program with students receiving a minimum of 1440 hours of supervised practice-based learning between the two practicum courses.
The activities in the practicum courses, reflect the Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice [ICDEP]. The standard expressed by the Integrated Competencies is a minimum requirement, designed to ensure safe, effective and ethical entry‐level practice. As outlined in the ICDEP (v3.0, 2020),
A Practice Competency (PC) is the ability to perform a task to a specified standard, and in a way that is observable to others. Dietetic practice, then, results from the application of relevant PCs by registered dietitians. ICDEP identifies a total of 50 PCs, consistent with the needs of entry-level dietetic practice.
A Performance Indicator (PI) describes the ability that is intended to be demonstrated either within education programs or within the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination (CDRE). The PIs can be considered as actions that demonstrate achievement of competencies required prior to entering practice. They express the learning outcome expectations for pre-registration and assessment, but not the performance expectations of a registered dietitian in professional practice (even at entry-level); practice expectations are expressed by the PCs.
Required practicum activities allow students the opportunity to accomplish the practice competencies/performance indicators. Students must meet all Integrated Competencies to demonstrate entry-level proficiency in dietetics.
NUTR 366.3 – Food Service Management Practicum
This course provides the practicum opportunity for the student to apply the principles of food service operations in the field, while under the supervision of a practicing Food Service Supervisor/Manager. Each student will complete a minimum of 15 days, full time, within a food service operation working with staff, and learning about production and service of meals to clients. Practicums will be offered at various facilities within the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) as well as at other sites outside the SHA. Sites may include long-term care homes, educational institutions, and hospitals.
NUTR 531.30 – Professional Practice IV
This course provides a comprehensive thirty-three-week practicum located primarily within the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) with possible experiences in other organizations (e.g., government, federal agencies, Tribal Councils, and non-profit groups). The course provides students with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to meet the registration requirements of a dietitian, with an emphasis on transferable skills rather than on complete knowledge of all areas. All areas of entry-level practice will be experienced across the spectrum of dietetic practice through a variety of rotations. Student must demonstrate all the required competencies in the areas of:
Scheduling of all placements is the responsibility of the Practicum Coordinators and is influenced by the availability of sites and preceptors. Scheduling of experiences within placements is the responsibility of the preceptor. Changes to the placement schedule are made only by the Practicum Coordinator. Although the Practicum Coordinators will endeavor to accommodate the student’s preferences, there is absolutely no guarantee that a student will be placed in their community of choice. Students must not contact any site, organization, or institution to arrange their own placements or recruit preceptors or sites.
Although the majority of rotations occur in either Saskatoon or Regina, students will be assigned to complete a portion of their practicum (minimum 1 rotation) in a community outside of these two cities. The Practicum Coordinator will attempt, whenever possible, to arrange placements where students have declared they have accommodations or within commuting distance. Students are responsible for all accommodation and travel costs for these placements.
Students may be assigned to rotations/agencies outside Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). In this case, the required competencies/performance indicators, required activities, and evaluation forms will be provided to the outside agency. Preceptors in the outside agency will be responsible for assessing and confirming student demonstration of competencies/performance indicators.
Students may request a rotation outside SHA. The request is made to the Practicum Coordinator who assesses the request to decide if the agency is able to offer an appropriate learning experience and the placement is in the best interest of the student and the program. The Practicum Coordinator will also decide on the number of rotations that can be completed outside of SHA and will recommend the timing of these experiences.
For any experience outside of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Coordinator will ensure an Affiliation Agreement between the University of Saskatchewan and receiving agency is in place prior to sending a student.
Once the placement schedule is released to students, changes to the rotations will not be permitted unless there are extenuating circumstances. Rotation scheduling is not subject to appeal, and students are not allowed to switch, trade, or exchange rotation dates, times, or sites amongst themselves. If the student feels that they have an extenuating circumstance, any request to change the rotation must be made in writing, including the evidence necessitating the change in practice site or rotation, where applicable, and submitted to the Practicum Coordinator as soon as possible.
If a student requires a placement accommodation (e.g., a certain city, including Saskatoon) for a reason that falls under one of the Human Rights protected categories such as, but not limited to, family status, disability, or religion, the student must first register with USask Access and Equity (AES) with the appropriate documentation. If unsure, students can reach out to AES to discuss individual situations.
Rotation Time Scheduling (Dates and Hours)
The rotation will begin on the assigned dates and be completed during the assigned period. Students must request permission from the Practicum Coordinator, for any changes to the rotation start and end date. Shift changes within the rotation period are determined by and/or require approval by the preceptor.
The daily scheduling of hours should be completed by the preceptor (with student input if necessary) and should generally cover times when it is expected that the student could be exposed to pertinent learning experiences. Students are responsible for adhering to the rotation schedule agreed upon between the student and the preceptor at the beginning of the rotation (including lunch and coffee breaks). Nutrition & Food Services operates from 05:00 hours to 20:00 hours daily and work will normally be assigned during these times (exceptions may occur in some areas that require evening presentations). Weekend and/or statutory holiday assignments may occur. If a student is required to work on a weekend or holiday, an alternative day of rest will be provided.
Students are expected to be at the site 8 hours per day not including breaks. However, students are expected to stay at the practice site until they have finished their duties for the day, even if it is after regular work hours. Students are not permitted to work extra hours each day to bank time or days, in order to take a day off, or finish the rotation early.
Students should anticipate additional homework or studying outside of scheduled practicum time (e.g., evenings and weekends).
Conflict of Interest
A student will not be placed in a site where they are presently or previously employed, or have a family relation working at the practice site. At the discretion of the Practicum Coordinator, students who have been employed in a SHA facility or other organization may be considered for a placement at that facility or organization as long as the rotation differs from the student’s previous job description, and there is agreement by the preceptor.
Disclosure of conflict of interest is the responsibility of the student. Failure to disclose a potential conflict of interest may result in the student having to repeat the placement/rotation at an alternate site and delay progression in the program.
A student cannot be a learner and an employee in the same site at the same time. This applies to all placements for both courses. A student may be employed by the same organization as the placement site, so long as it is a different position and a different preceptor from the assigned placement site. Students may start employment with their site/preceptor, if offered, only after they have completed all course requirements for their assigned placement.
Students cannot receive any financial compensation or reimbursement from SHA or affiliated practicum training agencies for their participation in the practicums. The student will be expected to perform certain functions normally performed by a dietitian under the direct supervision of the preceptor, but this is done for a course learning experience rather than to accomplish a work task.
Expenses that may arise from lodging, food, transportation to and from sites, travel, parking, licensure, additional insurance, and other incidental costs, are the student's responsibility.
Assessment Concerns or Students at Risk of Not Completing the Rotation/Placement
When preceptor performance evaluations indicate significant or consistent performance concerns or misconduct, the Practicum Coordinator will meet with the student to discuss, and to develop an action/learning plan. Action/learning plans must include timelines, and no longer than one week extension of a rotation is allowed. If necessary, the Practicum Coordinator may also include the preceptor in the meeting or meet with them individually.
The Practicum Coordinator and preceptor(s) will monitor and document the student performance based on the approved action/learning plan. If the student fails to demonstrate sufficient improvement and/or is not able to achieve all required rotation competencies/performance indicators within the specified timelines, the student will receive a failing grade for the rotation and the case will be forwarded to the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee (UAAC) for review. Depending on the reason(s) for the failure, a student may be allowed to proceed to subsequent rotations; however, they may be required to suspend all remaining rotations until a review has been completed. Please note that failed rotations may delay progress in the program and/or graduation.
For information regarding failed courses, see the Academic Policies of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.
Student Requirements and Responsibilities for Practicums
Participation and Supervision
The benefit gained by the student in a practicum will depend to a great extent upon the attitude expressed towards the experience by each individual student. It is not possible to constantly observe the student; therefore, each student should utilize individual initiative to become involved in learning opportunities. Students must not expect the preceptor to be present to teach all of the time. The student, not the preceptor, is responsible for the student’s own learning.
Preceptors are prepared to provide guidance, assessment, assistance, and to supervise students, but they also have other responsibilities (to patients, colleagues, hospital/institution, organization or business) which take priority. Students should respect these situations and should choose an appropriate time to approach the preceptor, or act independently (where appropriate and within agreed upon limits) until the preceptor is available. Meetings with preceptors for the purpose of reviewing assignments, direction and feedback should be arranged in advance. It is unrealistic to expect preceptors to meet or provide feedback to the student without adequate notice. Students are also expected to be prepared for all scheduled activities (e.g., meetings, patient review sessions, patient counseling, etc.) and to participate to the fullest extent possible.
Students should take the initiative in communicating with physicians, clients, and other health professionals, but should not step beyond the realm of professional courtesy, scope of practice, and common sense, and should only do so under direct supervision of their preceptor. Students need to recognize and respect the fact that many preceptors will need time and exposure to the student before enough trust can be built to allow the student to make unmonitored communications to other health care practitioners and clients, and that this process will occur in each new learning environment.
Saskatchewan Health Authority Clinical Placement Requirements
Students are responsible to be in compliance with policies and procedures as outlined in the Saskatchewan Academic Health Sciences Network (SAHSN) Clinical Placement Agreement for all rotations being completed at Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) sites. Students are also expected to be in compliance with all organizational policies and procedures for sites outside of the SHA.
Attendance and Punctuality
Students are expected to be punctual in arriving at the practice site and to adhere to the schedule arranged with the preceptor for each practice experience. Students should not leave before the agreed-upon time without first requesting permission from the preceptor. Time scheduled in any particular area/placement should be used to focus on that area and to learn as much as possible. The student is not normally to do work on other projects or assignments during scheduled placement hours, except as related to the placement.
Students are expected to be on time for all meetings, discussion sessions, and appointments. If the student is unavoidably delayed, the student must speak with the preceptor as soon as it becomes apparent that the student will be late (email is not appropriate). If the student is unable to reach someone at the site, the student should notify their Practicum Coordinator.
Ongoing issues with attendance, lateness, and/or failure to notify the preceptor of impending lateness/absence can impact the student’s professionalism assessment and overall grade for the rotation.
Replacing Lost/Missed Practicum Time
Students must notify the Practicum Coordinator immediately of any time away from the site (for any reason), and when they return to the site. All time away from the rotation and missed time must be made up. Some sites and/or schedules may not have opportunity for the student to make up hours, therefore, the student should discuss with the preceptor and Practicum Coordinator options for making up missed time.
If the preceptor or student are unsure of whether options for making up missed time are appropriate, or a site is unable to accommodate the hours the student needs to make up, the preceptor and student should contact the Practicum Coordinator. Decisions about making up missed days or hours will be made on an individual basis and must be approved by the Practicum Coordinator. If too much time has been missed, the entire rotation may have to be repeated.
Students are expected to be present at the practice site according to the schedule arranged with the preceptor and must notify their preceptor and Practicum Coordinator as soon as possible if they will not be present at the site as expected. Students may not leave the practice site during scheduled hours without permission from the preceptor. If the student is unaccounted for during the rotation, it will be considered an unapproved absence. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the preceptor of their whereabouts at all times; failure to do so can impact a student’s professionalism assessment and overall completion of the rotation.
Students are entitled to all statutory and USask observed holidays; however, students are required to follow the holiday schedule of their preceptor/site. If the student is scheduled to work on a statutory or USask observed holiday, they are entitled to take another day off in lieu. However, if an observed or statutory holiday occurs during the rotation, the student may also consider the day as part of their rotation and work the day and continue to take advantage of their experience, provided the preceptor is agreeable.
If a student is absent due to illness or special circumstances, they must contact their preceptor and Practicum Coordinator as soon as possible. Where appropriate, a medical certificate should be submitted to the Practicum Coordinator within two (2) days of the return to the placement. Students must arrange to make up the missed time with their preceptor. The Practicum Coordinator will assist in scheduling this time. Routine medical appointments are expected to occur on personal time.
In the event of the death of a family member, or family emergency, students should notify their preceptor and the Practicum Coordinator to determine a course of action. Where appropriate, a death certificate, funeral program, or other related documentation may be requested by the Practicum Coordinator within two (2) days of the return to the practice site. Students must arrange to make up the missed time with their preceptor. The Practicum Coordinator will assist in scheduling this time.
Adverse Weather Conditions
In the event of adverse weather where travel may be inadvisable, the student should call their preceptor and discuss the best course of action. If there is concern about the preceptor’s instructions, the student should contact the Practicum Coordinator immediately. If a student does not feel that it is safe to travel, the preceptor should allow the student to make up the missed time at a mutually agreed upon day prior to the conclusion of the rotation.
Students are not permitted to be on vacation during the scheduled rotation period during the blocks and dates set out by the College. It is not permitted for preceptors to accommodate a student’s personal schedule.
Fall and winter reading week breaks are not observed within the NUTR 531 course.
If an absence is feasible within the placement schedule, and if the preceptor approves and is agreeable, and the time away from the placement is reasonable (does not exceed one day per placement), the student may be granted absence from the rotation for attendance at College-endorsed activities (e.g., attendance at an educational course, conference or workshop related to nutrition and dietetics).
Requests for time off will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will be denied should the standard of care to patients or practice site be negatively affected by the absence of the student, or it is anticipated that the time missed will impact the student’s ability to complete the placement successfully.
Activities ineligible for absence approval include convocation (for others), graduations, weddings, employment, and travel.
Time Off for Athletic Events
Students who are Huskie athletes who wish to commit to a heavy training schedule and high-level competition may be required to request adjustments in one or more rotations to accommodate this. Students are supported, where good rationale exists, to pursue opportunities that may not occur again in their athletic careers. However, the College has an obligation to ensure that the time and energy required for a rotation is not compromised by a strong focus in other areas.
Participation in extracurricular activities such as sporting events, including those associated with the University, will not be considered legitimate reasons for excusing a student from the rotation or course expectations in year four of the program.
Employment conflicts will not be considered legitimate reasons for excusing a student from the site or course expectations and if necessary, work schedules must be adjusted to accommodate the practicum course requirements. If the preceptor or Practicum Coordinator deems the student’s concurrent employment to adversely affect the student’s quality of work, ability to meet assignment deadlines, and/or adversely affect patient care, the student will be removed from the practice site and may be unsuccessful in timely completion of the course. Similarly, this also applies to other courses students may wish to take during the practicum rotation period.
In the event of a strike or job action, student placements may be on hold until job action is resolved. Decisions regarding placements will be determined based upon the nature of strike action and the impact on the employer. Students will still be required to complete the minimum time periods for the practicum training. Depending on the length of job action, students may have their convocation or progression in program delayed.
Personal Health Information and Personal Information obtained in the workplace by a student must remain confidential and secure both in and out of the organization or institution. The maintenance of confidentiality extends beyond the period of the placement and confidential information must not be shared with others at any time.
There is zero tolerance of breach of patient confidentiality. Breach of confidentiality can result in immediate dismissal from the practice site, failure of the rotation, and dismissal from the program.
- Will sign the governing confidentiality agreement before their practicum placement. Placement sites may require additional site-specific forms/agreements to be signed by the student during a student placement at the discretion of the placement site.
- Must maintain the security and confidentiality of, and not disclose to any third party, confidential or personal information, including personal health information of patients and personal information of students, instructors, and site employees. Information that sites consider confidential includes but is not limited to:
- Personal health information or information related to the personal affairs or medical conditions and treatment of patients including social information, etc.
- Personal Information about employees or labour relations issues
- Business and operational information of the site including contracts, fee systems/pricing, professional policies, etc.
- Shall only collect, use, and disclose personal health information, personal information, and information considered confidential by the placement site on a need- to-know basis for purposes authorized by the Saskatchewan Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) and the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection Act (LAFOIP).
- Will report suspected or confirmed privacy breaches in a timely manner to the Practicum Coordinator and to the site Privacy Officer in accordance with site policies and procedures.
- Will cooperate with any investigation of non-compliance with privacy legislation including an investigation led by the site and/or the Privacy Commissioner.
- Will seek clarification as necessary on confidentiality and privacy issues/policies.
- Will comply with HIPA, LAFOIP and relevant Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA)/ Saskatchewan Cancer Agency (SCA) policies as well as College of Pharmacy and Nutrition program policies.
- Must follow the governing protocol(s) for collecting information for research purposes.
All communication (written, oral, electronic) must follow the SHA Confidentiality Agreement for External Parties.
Students will be set up with an SHA email address; the address will be cancelled at the end of the program. Students are responsible for collecting all their e-mails by the end of the program. SHA or USask e-mail, telephone or pager can be used to communicate with your supervisors/preceptors and the Practicum Coordinator. Do not expect that your preceptors, advisors, or Practicum Coordinator will check their work e-mails outside of work hours or on weekends, nor that they will be able to respond to you right away. Please discuss with your immediate preceptor when a pager or cell phone should be used to contact them.
There is a telephone in the Students’ Offices to be used for local calls only. Please ensure voicemail on student phones are checked regularly and messages communicated to the appropriate person(s).
Students are expected to respond to all communication from supervisors/preceptors and the Practicum Coordinator within 24 hours.
Acceptable usage of mobile personal device will depend on the area. Permission must be obtained from the preceptor prior to using a personal mobile device for functions when on rotations (i.e., calculator, internet, appropriate apps, etc.). Students can use personal mobile devices during rotations to research health information when appropriate. Use of mobile devices should never interfere with patient care or negatively impact the perception of services being offered. Cell phones should not be used for personal use in the patient areas of the hospitals. Students will not take photos or recordings of patients, confidential documents, patient records, or staff. Personal mobile devices must be properly and regularly disinfected and must be disinfected after use at point of care or near care.
Students wishing to initiate contact with other departments within the SHA shall discuss their plans with the preceptor or Coordinator before proceeding. All contacts (both verbal and written) made by students with persons, agencies or institutions outside the SHA shall be approved by the supervising preceptor or Coordinator. All written correspondence shall be checked by the supervising preceptor or Coordinator prior to release or publication.
Access to computers within the Nutrition and Food Services offices is limited to ensure security of information. Do not use preceptors’ computers unless permission is granted. At the end of the practicum, students are required to remove all their personal files from the SHA computers.
The University of Saskatchewan requires that all students attending a Health Sciences College provide documented proof of immunization prior to any contact with patients. Completion of this requirement is mandatory and is not subject to accommodations for philosophical reasons.
Influenza and COVID-19 Vaccine
During practicum placements students may be in frequent contact with individuals who are at high risk of complications if they contract influenza and/or COVID-19. It is strongly recommended that students are up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.
Please note that some placements may require COVID-19 and/or influenza vaccination; students who are not vaccinated may not be able to participate, which may result in a delay in program progress and graduation. Students who are not vaccinated must meet with the Associate Dean Academic to sign a waiver acknowledging this and submit a copy of the acknowledgement to their Practicum Coordinator.
Respirator Fit Testing
Prior to hospital or institutional placements, students must complete respirator fit testing; the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition will arrange to have the respirator fit testing completed. Students are responsible for any costs incurred for the testing.Students must ensure that their respirator fit test information is readily accessible if needed or requested. Students must be refitted every two years or earlier if changes to face shape, size or features occur.
Expectations for professionalism are outlined in the document Procedures for Concerns with Pharmacy and Nutrition Student Professional Behaviour. In instances where unprofessional behaviour is suspected or identified, the outlined procedures will be followed.
Students are expected to behave professionally at all times with mutual respect and courtesy toward all organization or facility staff, clients, patients, and their families, other health care professionals, faculty, and fellow students.
Students are expected to be professional in all their communications with others. Show respect for others by addressing them using their appropriate titles. When speaking to patients, clients, or coordinators, address them by their formal name and title if so desired (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Mx., Dr., etc.), unless instructed otherwise.
Students with concerns or grievances may only share these concerns with the individual involved, with their preceptor, or with the Practicum Coordinator, but not with any other students, staff, or other health care personnel.
The practice experience serves as a bridge between students’ academic training and actual practice and may also provide networking opportunities for future employment. Students should observe and respect the practice at their site and learn from it as they compare it to previous experiences. The sharing of experiences from previous learning environments in great detail is generally not conducive to a positive learning environment.
Any student who presents at a rotation site under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed illegal drugs will be immediately removed from the placement and procedures for concerns with student professional behaviour will be followed.
Students must wear attire deemed to meet the professional expectations and safety requirements of their site. The SHA Dress Code must be followed for all SHA placements, and ID tags must be worn at all time. The Nutrition and Food Services Dress Code for Food Handlers will also need to be followed for food provision (including NUTR 366) placements.
Some placements may require a different dress code. Students should discuss dress code with their preceptor prior to starting a placement.
Student Support Services
If you have any questions regarding registering in NUTR 366 or NUTR 531, please contact the Undergraduate Affairs Administrative Officer, Diane Favreau at 306-966-6335 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Loan Information
Any questions regarding student loans, can be directed to Student Central at 306-966-1212 or the Student Service Centre in Regina at 1-800-597-8278, or can contact a student loans officer at Student Central for further information at email@example.com .
If a student must commute to their practicum site, they should complete the Practicum/Internship Information form. By completing this form, students may be eligible for additional financial assistance. The form must be submitted at least 45 calendar days prior to the period of study end date.
Student Wellness Centre
The USask Student Wellness Centre offers urgent and non-urgent physical and mental health care to USask students and their spouses and children. The Student Wellness Centre offers urgent assistance as well as a variety of clinical services, educational programs, and mental health counselling. Students are encouraged to contact Student Wellness Centre for more information.
Student Affairs and Outreach
USask Student Affairs and Outreach is a team of social workers who support students. Services include immediate support to students, crisis response, and consultation with faculty, staff, and students who are concerned about a student.
- Empower Me
- Telephone, video-counselling, or e-counselling accessible 24 hours/ 7 days a week
- HealthLine - Dial 811
- 24 hours/ 7 days a week, confidential, free
- Translation available in over 100 languages
- Protective Services- (306)-966-5555
- 24 hours/ 7 days a week
- Suicide Crisis Hotlines
- Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566
- Crisis text line: text TALK to 686868
- Trans Lifeline- 1-877-330-6366
- Five Hills Health Region (FHHR) Mental Health & Addictions Services
- Crisis 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri: 1-877-564-0543
- Crisis 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri: (306) 691-6464
- Hudson Bay & District Crisis Centre
- Crisis 24 hours: 1-866-865-7274
- Crisis 24 hours: (306) 865-3064
- Mobile Crisis Service (Saskatoon)
- (Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service Inc.) Crisis 24 hours: (306) 933-6200
- North East Crisis Intervention Centre
- Crisis 24 hours: 1-800-611-6349
- Crisis 24 hours: (306) 752-9455
- Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit
- Crisis 24 hours: (306) 764-1011
- Regina Mobile Crisis Services
- Crisis 24 hours: (306) 525-5333
- Crisis after hours: (306) 569-2724
- Southwest Crisis Services
- Swift Current: (306) 778-3386
- West Central Crisis & Family Support Centre
- Crisis Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm: (306) 463-6655