Nursing students are being used to plug gaps in the nursing workforce.
Student nurses are being “used and abused” on placements, with some saying they are denied supernumerary status entirely.
A resolution approved by members at the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) annual Congress last week called for RCN Council to lobby for the protection of supernumerary status for nursing students.
Newly qualified nurse and RCN Students Committee chair Lucy Hayes told Congress how it was common for students to be used to fill gaps in rotas, meaning they missed out on essential learning opportunities.
“The students’ committee frequently hears from students that they are not truly getting their supernumerary time and that they are used as a pair of hands to help support the operational need of placement areas,” Ms Hayes explained.
However, a poll of students undertaken by the committee found that just 5% of student nurses were granted supernumerary status at all times when on placement. Worryingly a massive 28% said they were rarely granted supernumerary status.
Nurse and practice educator Jean Rogers explained she believed that students are being “used and abused” on placements.
Ms Rogers said she believed the pandemic has only worsened conditions for student nurses.
Student nurses took to social media following the event to echo the statements made during the debate.