Universities have been instructed to maintain academic and pastoral support.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has issued a statement alongside healthcare leaders to provide much-needed clarity to student nurses.
First-year undergraduate midwifery and nursing students should continue with their programme. Their clinical placements may be paused, and for the duration of the emergency they will pursue their academic work – this decision with fall to universities.
All other students who are not in the final six months of study will be invited to spend 80 percent of their time in clinical practice and 20 percent in academic study during this emergency period – this time would be remunerated and will count towards practice hours. During this placement, students will not be supernumerary but instead “work within an appropriate delegated framework”.
No specifics on the amount or type of remuneration was given.
Legislation for a potential temporary register of recently retired nurses and student nurses in the final six month of their course is still yet to be finalised.
The NMC also noted that volunteering or paid work outside programmes will not be counted towards the practice hours and experience required to complete their pre-registration course.
Incredibly difficult times.
The joint statement was signed by the NMC, chief nursing officers and healthcare unions.
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Nursing and Midwifery Council said, “Last week we agreed with UK nursing and midwifery leaders how we would work together to enable students in their final six months of training to support the health and social care response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve also heard from other students who have asked for clarity about what they can do to help and how these unprecedented circumstances will impact on their studies and their future.
“We’ve worked closely with our partners across health and social care to provide that clarity, making changes to our education requirements that will provide universities with more flexibility in how they run their courses. This will also enable those students who wish to be involved in supporting this emergency situation to have more choices in how they continue with their programmes.
“From today, we will be sharing these plans with universities to take forward at a local level, while focusing on the safety and wellbeing of their students.
“These are incredibly difficult times and I want to offer my sincerest thanks to all the hardworking nursing and midwifery professionals and students whose skill, expertise and compassion is needed now more than ever before.”