No plan to reintroduce emergency standards for student nurses, says NMC

Earlier this year third year student nurses were offered the chance to suspend their supernumerary status and help in the UK’s pandemic response in return for a salary. 

Matt Bodell
24 November 2020
Student nurse in hallway

Student nurses have asked for clarity on how the current government guidance affects them.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has today confirmed it has no plans to return to the previous emergency standards for student nurses.

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It comes after student nurses and higher education institutions (HEIs) sought more clarity on how the current government guidance affects them.

Rumours have also been widely circulated within student nurse communities on social media that the regulator has suspended the required minimum hours to qualify.

Earlier this year third year student nurses were offered the chance to suspend their supernumerary status and help in the UK’s pandemic response in return for a salary.

A joint statement from the NMC and Chief Nursing Officers for the UK reads; “As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses to a second wave across the UK, students have been asking for clarity on how government guidance impacts them.

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“We want to continue to support students to successfully complete their programmes on time.

“We appreciate that practice placements will be under increased pressure. A number of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) standards for education and training have already been amended to provide greater flexibility for education and healthcare providers. This has allowed them to adopt innovative ways of providing practice placements in these challenging times.

“At the current time it is not planned to return to the previous emergency standards, so we are maintaining the supernumerary status for all students.

“This means that students are not being deployed into paid placements as was the case earlier in the year. Each of the four countries will be reviewing how we can support final year students who have completed their programme hours and course requirements to become employed as fully registered nurses and midwives as quickly as possible.

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“We will continue to monitor the situation to determine whether the implementation of further changes may be necessary. Any such changes will be developed in collaboration with key partners, and our priority will be to keep students fully informed about these.

“We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our thanks to all of you for your continuing commitment during this time. We will all continue to work collaboratively in order to find the best possible solutions that support students, nursing and midwifery professionals, and the public.”

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