The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have announced measures to expand the workforce to support the health and care services during the COVID-19 emergency.
A joint statement was issued on 19 March by the NMC, chief nursing officers, Council of Deans of Health, the Department of Health and Social Care, royal colleges and trade unions. This confirmed four actions:
- Once the UK government passed the legislation to enable the NMC to establish a COVID-19 temporary emergency register, inviting those nurses who have left the register within the last three years to opt in should they wish to do so
- Encouraging those nurses who are currently on the NMC register but not working in clinical care to consider coming into clinical practice during this time
- Changing the nature of the programme for undergraduate nursing students so that they can opt to undertake their final six months of their programme as a clinical placement
- and, establish a specific student part to the register for students in the final six months of their programme, which would have specific conditions of practice to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place, if and when it was considered necessary to further benefit the health services and people who use them.
A second statement issued on 25 March provides an update in relation to nursing and midwifery students in all fields, who are not in the final six months of their programme.
In relation to the fourth action above, to establish a specific student part of the COVID-19 temporary emergency register for students, the NMC have issued a third statement on 7 May announcing they have decided not to establish this specific student part of the temporary register for nursing students.
More information can be found on the NMC website.
The NMC have developed a set of emergency standards which allows more flexibility to be applied to the delivery of nursing and midwifery programmes. The objective of doing this is to enable students to make a valuable contribution whilst completing their studies, and to ensure that more junior students are appropriately deployed and adequately supported during this time. These standards are only in place for the duration of the emergency.
The RCN will provide expertise with and on behalf of members to inform guidance, negotiate employment terms and conditions within emergency measures, and support members who may be willing to return to clinical practice where appropriate. The RCN are working hard to ensure that no students are disadvantaged in whatever decisions they make.
New guidance has been published by the Scottish Government for students in Scotland, Coronavirus (COVID-19): medical, nursing and midwifery student support guidance which applies to all nursing and midwifery students across all Scottish universities.
A Q&A for the temporary employment of students during COVID-19 has been published on the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) website.
The following questions and answers provide information for nursing students. We are working hard in these challenging times to keep you updated and if you can't find what you are looking on this page for please see our Get help page or contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Check also our COVID-19 advice pages for more information about studying and working during the pandemic.