We would like to thank all those students who have been able to come forward to support our services over this challenging time.
Your valuable contribution supporting patients and clinical teams is hugely appreciated.
At the outset of the pandemic, we committed to ensure that we would support students to complete their studies and to be ready to join the NMC register. We are now looking at the transition back to supernumerary placements. This will enable students to progress with their education programmes or complete their programme and join the NMC register.
Alongside the NMC, the Council of Deans of Health, NHS Employers and our union partners, we have produced an FAQs document to support this work.
Free COVID-19 e-learning for nurses, midwives and AHPs
Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare team have added additional learning paths for nurses, midwives and AHPs to a special e-learning programme designed to help the health and care workforce respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme entitled ‘Resources for Nurses, Midwives and AHPs Returning to work, being Redeployed or Up-Skilled’ now has a dedicated link and includes specific learning paths for the following groups:
- Support for supervisors
- Registered nurses and AHPs deployed from a different clinical specialty
- Returning nurses and AHPs
- Newly registered nurses and AHPs, or students opting into a revised programme structure
- Internationally trained nurses and AHPs awaiting UK registration
- Independent sector nurses supporting the NHS
- Returning midwives
- Physical skills for nurses and AHPs working in mental health, learning disability and autism
- Nurses deployed into primary and community care settings
- Health and care staff in care home settings
- Student nurses in general practice
The COVID-19 programme is free to access for the UK health and care workforce, without the need to register. However, if you would like your learning activity recorded against your user account, please log in or register here
FAQ for those who are on existing Return to Practice (RTP) programmes
These FAQs are for those on RTP programmes that may have been impacted by Covid-19
Joselito Marinas, Head of Professional & Practice Development at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explains how the trust has deployed student nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is our professional responsibility as nurses to support our future nurses…Our task now is to make sure that the students feel part of the workforce and receive a quality learning experience, as our aim is to produce excellent nurses.”
Samantha Stratton was supported to start her 18-week management placement in January 2020 at Abbey Medical Practice in Lincoln, organised through Lincoln University and Lincolnshire Training Hub.
"I was relieved that I could be of assistance to the practice and our patients in continuing my placement during the COVID-19 situation. I think I feared the COVID-19 situation less, due to being involved in the surgery and getting all the communications from our CCG, practice manager and nurse lead in practice. I felt really well informed."
Charles Tick, 3rd year student nurse, University of Portsmouth/Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
“I’ve been on placement for two and a half weeks now on the haematology and oncology ward at Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth. I’m responsible for my own patients but am lucky enough to be in a supportive team who understands I am still a student.
It’s quite daunting but I’m well supported. They reassured us that there was lots of PPE and there is; I’ve never run out. This means I can help while protecting my partner.
I cried last Thursday when they did the clapping because it was like reality setting in – that I’m frontline and I’m contributing. I feel fulfilled now.
At the end of the day I’m exhausted but I’m happy because I’m doing something that I love doing. I feel so lucky that I get to spend time with patients – that’s an amazing feeling.”
Temi Banjo, 3rd year student nurse, Manchester Metropolitan University:
"I decided to opt out for two reasons: I’m a single mother with three children and my dad was very ill with cancer and recently passed away.
I feel it’s important to take care of your own health before you can take care of others. After my dad passed away, I needed to care for my own mental health to make sure I am well enough to care for others when the time comes.
Some aspects of my course are running to the same plan. I’m been completing my dissertation and I have another assignment to submit later this month. I’m still focusing on my assignments so I can meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s requirements.
I’m due to go back on 1 June for my final placement. I feel a lot better and much more prepared and ready to go now than before."
Hollie Shepley, 2nd year student nurse, Keele University/North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust:
“Everything I had been taught as a student nurse had to change. I didn’t realise how hard it would be wearing personal protective equipment every day. Wearing a mask, I can’t smile at patients to reassure them.
Sometimes I stand two metres away so I can let them see my face, or I sit with them touching their hand or a shoulder. We’ve tried to introduce more activities, like VE day singing in the garden two metres apart.
Until this happened, I didn’t realise how far I’d come as a nurse. I can lead, I can adapt and communicate. The compassion I have for patients now and what they’re going through is much greater. Every day I look at what little things I can improve for patients and service users.”
HEE, NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked alongside the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Royal Colleges and the Council of Deans of Health to produce this guidance for nursing and midwifery students. The COVID-19 pandemic means we are in unprecedented times with significant pressures being placed upon our health and care services.
This guidance document has been developed to support nursing and midwifery students to understand the impact of the current situation on their learning programme and how they may use their skills and expertise to support clinical services during this time.
The document should be used in conjunction with the guidance published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and in discussions between the student and their higher education institution.
Health Education England has been in touch with universities to ask for regular information on the status of their third-year undergraduate nursing students. These students were the first to be contacted by their university and asked about their interest and whether they would like to opt-in to a paid placement.
This has now been extended to include all nursing cohorts eligible for the extended paid-placements as part of the revised education programmes permitted by the COVID-19 legislation.
All second and third year undergraduate nursing students, second and third year midwifery students, and postgraduate nursing and midwifery students have been contacted by their university to discuss their options.
Now almost 25,000 students* in healthcare professions have opted to join COVID-19 fight.
Progress is being monitored on a daily basis. For up to date data on student data collection please take a look at our dedicated page.
*updated 17 April 2020
The Institute of Apprenticeships has announced new flexibilities for registered nurse and nursing associate apprentices who are unable to complete their end point assessments (EPAs) due to COVID-19. This change to the EPA process will only be applied to qualifying apprentices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further guidance aimed at training providers and end point assessment organisations is expected to follow soon. Find out more on the Institute of Apprenticeships website.
Further resources and guidance around apprenticeships during the COVID-19 pandemic are available on the HASO website.
In recent weeks a number of joint statements have been published - access them below via the NMC and NHS England websites:
- On 17 April Mark Radford, Chief Nurse was joined by Jessica Sainsbury, Final Year Student Nurse (Adult & Mental Health) and Chair of RCN Students Committee. Watch it here.
- NQN Handbook - Providing guidance on the foundations of good practice, preceptorship, your employment and more.