Third-year students in England may have the chance to undertake paid clinical placements.
Scotland has no plans to deploy its student nurses to assist with the pandemic response, according to the region’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).
Fiona McQueen, CNO for Scotland, wrote to all nursing and midwifery students following an announcement by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) that emergency educational standards were being introduced.
The emergency educational standards allowed third-year student nurses to opt-in to a paid extended clinical placement in order to bolster staffing numbers on the frontline of the UK’s pandemic response. Opt-ing means student nurses sacrifice their supernumerary status and effectively become part of the workforce. Under the plans, first-year student nurses would also move to primarily academic or online learning.
The letter sent to students on Friday, explains that Scotland is “not in the same position as England” and instead wants to focus on ensuring student nurses and other healthcare professions can qualify on-time.
It reads; “In Scotland, the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic is not currently at the same stage as in England, and we do not believe it is appropriate to disrupt your programmes through authorising full-time student deployment at this time.
“Our top priority is the timely graduation of final year students, and we want students to retain their supernumerary status and their position in the clinical area as learners.
“This position is under constant review, but it is important that as many students as possible complete as many practice hours as possible at present.”
Instead, Scotland plans to develop guidance allowing student healthcare professionals to undertake part-time paid employment that does not “interfere” with programmes.
The letter continues; “We will be writing to you shortly with guidance which will enable all health care students (nursing, midwifery, allied health, medicine and dentistry) to take up part time paid employment in such a way that it does not directly interfere with your programmes of study, or your placement experience.
“I know many of you are already undertake bank work and would like to maximise this for Boards in greatest need at this time.
“We want to allow those of you who are able to contribute by providing an additional, flexible workforce to be used where it is most needed within health care in Scotland, while at the same time ensuring that when you are on placement you are still able to be supervised, supported, and placed where there are appropriate learning opportunities.
Ms McQueen goes on to thank students for their ongoing hard work during a difficult time.