Student Clinical Code of Conduct

Instructions for the Student Clinical Code of Conduct


  • Please read the following Clinical Code of Conduct and accompanying notes.
  • Sign the Code and make sure you PRINT your name on the form
  • Hand it in to reception.
  • They will copy it (if not immediately, on the same day)
  • You will receive the copy which should be filed in your clinical handbook


Accompanying Notes

You are about to sign a Code of Conduct for the Clinical phase of the course.  We want you to be absolutely clear about one of the conditions, that is that you do not treat patients outside the supervised Teaching clinic.

From past experience, we believe that is easy for some students to either forget or misinterpret this condition.  When you have had some success in the clinic and maybe your supervisor has said you are doing well, you may feel strongly that you want to help someone.  As a result, you may be tempted to treat this person.  For the following reasons, do not do so, even ‘just’ one point, ‘just’ the source points, ‘just’ clearing some Wind-Cold. 

The reasons for this are:

  • You are not qualified and have not yet reached the final pre-registration part of the clinical.
  • Treating a patient without being insured is highly irresponsible.
  • The College/Profession could be brought into disrepute if anything adverse happened to the patient.
  • The College is accredited by the BAAB and one of our conditions is that students do not treat patients except under supervision. Treating ‘outside the clinical’ could endanger the College’s accreditation and therefore the College’s validation with Kingston University.
  • By signing the Code of Conduct below (an essential precondition for starting the clinical) you are undertaking not to treat anyone outside the supervised Teaching Clinic.

During the clinical, you may meet someone you want to help with acupuncture treatment.  What can you do?

  • Bring them to the clinic.
  • Recommend a qualified practitioner.
  • Suggest that they wait until you are qualified.


Student Clinical Code of Conduct

Students must at all times behave in an honourable and responsible manner and observe the ethical standards of registered acupuncturists as laid down in the BAcC Code of Professional Conduct, both in their relations with patients they encounter in clinical practice and observation and in their relations with each other.

In treating patients or carrying out practical work in class with fellow students, they must act with all reasonable care and under the direction of a clinical supervisor or teacher.

Students must observe confidentiality with regard to information concerning patients and fellow students, which is available to them through practice or observation at the Teaching Clinic, observation in other clinics, or in class.  The duty of confidentiality covers information about a patient or student, and views formed about a patient or student.  Such information or views should not be discussed with other students, staff, relatives or friends of the patient or fellow student without the patient’s or student’s express consent.

In their dealings with patients, students must not denigrate practitioners of Chinese Medicine or any other system of medicine, fellow students, or staff members, or any styles of practice in Chinese Medicine or any other system of medicine.

If a supervisor feels it necessary to intervene in a student’s treatment, the student concerned and any observers present should not react in any way that might communicate unease to the patient.


Under no circumstance may a student either in the clinic, the College or outside the course environment, lead another person to suppose or allow another person to continue to suppose that he or she is a qualified acupuncturist.  No student may cause or allow another person to think that enrolment on this course is sufficient preparation to treat people without supervision.  This means that you must not under any circumstances treat someone, be they patient, family or friend, outside the supervised Teaching clinic, before you have fulfilled all the criteria to enter the final three-month pre-registration period of the course. (see accompanying notes)

Students who are practitioners in other fields and who may already have clients should take particular note of this rule.

Students are encouraged to practise diagnostic techniques and point location but must not under any circumstances practise needle insertion or manipulation without appropriate supervision provided by the College.  Undergraduate students may not give advice to patients or suggest patent herbal remedies without appropriate supervision.

In their relations with patients, staff and fellow students, students are expected to act with sensitivity towards and respect for their colleagues’ backgrounds and points of view.

Students practising and observing in the clinic are expected to treat patients, staff and fellow students without prejudice or discrimination of any sort.

In all situations in the clinic the student must adhere to instructions given by the supervisor or assistant supervisor on duty.

Failure to comply to these guidelines will initiate the College’s fitness to practise procedures.


Inappropriate Behaviour

Any student who is found to have treated someone outside the supervised Teaching clinic will be immediately suspended from the clinic.  This suspension will initiate the College’s fitness to practice procedures and may ultimately lead to permanent exclusion.

Any student who is under the influence of drink or drugs, who is violent physically or verbally abusive towards anyone (patient, staff or student) in the clinic, or who makes inappropriate advances towards a patient will be suspended from the clinic immediately.  Any such suspension and the reason for it will be logged in the student’s clinical file.  In deciding to suspend a student, the clinical supervisor should act in consultation with another supervisor, and with the receptionist, or any other witness to the behaviour.  The second supervisor and any witness should also sign the report in the student’s file.

For any student suspended, the College’s fitness to practise procedures will be initiated and re-admittance to the clinic will be on the basis of a satisfactory completion of these procedures.

Negative feedback on a student’s conduct in an external clinic is dealt with by a follow-up procedure.  The practitioner giving the negative feedback is contacted for further details and the student is made aware of the feedback.  The feedback is discussed at a meeting between the student, the Academic Director and the Dean or, in the case of students in their clinical year, between the student, his/her clinical supervisor and the Dean.  A summary of the discussion is signed by the student, the Dean, the Academic Director and/or the clinical supervisor and filed in the student’s academic file.  In the case of a serious incident, including treating outside the Teaching clinic, or three instances of negative feedback the fitness to practice procedure would be invoked.



Behaviour showing lack of ethical awareness

If in a supervisor’s judgement a student’s interaction with a patient or information concerning that patient, or with the supervisor or other colleagues, suggests a lack of appreciation of appropriate boundaries, the matter will be discussed with the student and entered as a concern in their clinical log as a matter for personal development.


Stage 1

Students are expected to record in their clinical journal constructive feedback from clinical supervisors concerning incidents that the supervisor considers bring into question the student’s understanding of what constitutes ethical behaviour and attributes.  The student will be expected to demonstrate how this feedback has been acted upon and this will form part of the assessment of student’s reflective clinical journal and of the assessment of their attitudes and behaviours.


Stage 2

Three instances of constructive feedback related to the student’s personal development of appropriate boundaries, recorded in the student’s clinical file or a serious incident likely to cause distress or compromise safety will normally result in the student’s immediate temporary exclusion from the clinic or from direct contact with patients, as is seen to be appropriate for safeguarding the patient’s interests.  In taking this decision the supervisor will work in consultation with another supervisor. 



Behaviour showing ill health

Where a student’s behaviour over a period of time displays symptoms of mental or physical ill-health to the extent that in the clinical supervisor’s judgement there is doubt as to whether the student is able to maintain appropriate boundaries between their own concerns and the patient’s needs, the supervisor will discuss their concerns with a second clinical supervisor.

If after this discussion the supervisor is still concerned about the student’s fitness for clinical responsibility, the matter will be referred to a fitness to practice review panel formed by the student’s clinical supervisor, one other supervisor, and a member of the College Executive Committee.  The supervisor will submit a written report of his/her concerns and the incidents which have given rise to it.  Following this meeting a decision will be made on whether to exclude the student pending a return to fitness.  A decision to exclude the student will specify how the student will demonstrate a return to fitness.  In these circumstances the student will be given full information about the support mechanisms available to him/her.

In the event of a student being excluded from the clinic, the clinical supervisor, Academic Director and Dean will meet to discuss the student’s future and be considered on a case by case basis. 

I have read and understood the Student Clinical Code of Conduct and agree to be bound by its provisions.  I undertake not to administer acupuncture to any person outside the supervised Teaching clinic before fulfilling the criteria for the final pre-registration period.