Over 25,000 students were deployed to assist with the COVID-19 response.
Extended clinical placements for the majority of nursing students in England are to end earlier than previously expected.
In April, over 25,000 students were deployed to the front line on extended and paid clinical placements to assist with the COVID-19 response while simultaneously undertaking vital clinical practice hours.
Initially advertised as a 6 month paid extended clinical placement, universities have started to contact students informing them that the placement will instead end on 31 July.
One university told its student nurses; “We have now had final confirmation that the 31st of July 2020 will be the end date for all students on paid placements in all placement areas. They go to explain that this is to allow NHS services to restart routine services and allow students enough time to undertake assessments.
Speaking to NursingNotes a student nurse admitted to having turned down a part-job as a result of the arrangement and will now financially struggle as a direct result of the decision.
Arrangements are likely to vary between NHS Trusts and students are encouraged to speak with their universities.
NHS England confirmed the plans and offered reassurance that students would be paid for any hours undertaken on extended clinical placements.
An NHS England spokesperson said: “Every member of NHS staff, including those in training and returnees, have gone above and beyond during this pandemic, and all student nurses are required to complete placements during their training, and as part of the response to Covid-19 these hours have been paid for and will be until their placement ends.
“As the NHS begins to return to normal the focus is now on ensuring that these students complete their training, and nurses about to graduate that have been providing incredible care over the last few months will be prioritised for roles in their current trust.”
Nurses United UK has condemned the move, warning that students nurses will feel they were mis-sold the arrangement when opting in.
Anthony Johnson, Lead Organiser for the grass-roots group, said; “Our student nurses are the most valuable people in the UK right now. They gave up their financial security and risked their lives to fight a virus after 3 years of paying as much as £26 an hour to work.
“How can any of us be comfortable with living in a society that thinks it’s okay to say that students will be paid for the work they were doing and then take it back? We’ll be lucky if we keep half of these students, perhaps NHS England should have a think about why?