In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced emergency education standards to allow universities to implement paid placements for final-year nursing students where this is required locally. While the standards are UK wide, only England has agreed to activate the option for offering final-year student paid placements currently and this is only being implemented in certain locations depending on local circumstances and decisions.
Scotland’s Chief Nursing Officer has written an open letter to all nursing and midwifery students in Scotland making clear that full-time student deployment is not considered appropriate in Scotland at this point in time.
The Scottish Government has committed to students retaining their supernumerary status and their position in the clinical area as learners. Priority will be given to ensuring the timely graduation of final-year students.
The Scottish Government has also confirmed in a letter to NHS Boards, that the option of part-time paid employment for all healthcare students separate from programmes of study or placement experience is to be made available and that NHS Boards will be able to recruit nursing and midwifery students as bank workers on part-time fixed term contracts through staff banks.
This has not been developed in partnership with the trade unions, which would have given the opportunity to work through the detail of this offer, and RCN Scotland has a number of concerns about the option, including: hours offered, equity of Agenda for Change bands and the process for determining banding. We have raised these concerns with Scottish Government and secured that this will be resolved via the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC). Communication is to be issued to students via universities and colleges, and this is to take place following the work at STAC. We will continue to update our student members as further guidance becomes available.
We remain clear that during the COVID-19 pandemic no student must be disadvantaged financially or suffer delays to their continuing education.
The following questions and answers provide information for nursing students in Scotland. You can also find more more information and about studying and working during the pandemic our separate COVID-19 advice for students and our COVID-19 advice pages.
We are working hard in these challenging times to keep you updated and if you can't find what you are looking for please see our Get help page or contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Please take a few minutes to share your experience of studying during the pandemic with the RCN Scotland easy to use SenseMaker tool. Share your story and help inform our work to support students.