Covid-19 response

Nursing students join NHS colleagues to tackle global crisis

Edinburgh nursing students are returning to clinical placements to support the NHS response to Covid-19.

27 final-year students and 40 second and third year students will soon begin placements to support NHS and care home colleagues as they tackle the virus.

They have responded to a Scottish Government call for student nurse volunteers and will take paid placements in a range of clinical areas.

The student nurses – all currently studying on the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) with Honours programme – will be working alongside registered nurses in hospitals, community nursing and in care homes across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

A further group of nursing students are also hoping to support the effort in other parts of Scotland and the UK.

Emergency measures

The Nursing and Midwifery Council have put in place a range of emergency standards to help alleviate pressures health and care services are experiencing due to the outbreak.

The new measures will give more flexible course options to students studying on nursing programmes.

Final-year students who wish to be involved on the NHS frontline will now complete their programme in clinical practice as part of the paid placement scheme.

Students in their second or third year can choose to spend up to 80 per cent of this academic year in clinical placements, rather than the usual 50-50 split between placements and theoretical learning.

We feel a great sense of pride in joining the workforce, albeit a little earlier than anticipated, to help out in what is now humanity's biggest public health crisis in a century. This will be an opportunity for us to take on board all the skills we have learned and practiced over (nearly) four years, and we look forward to the challenge that this will impose on us, and all the learning opportunities that undoubtedly lie ahead of us as we enter the workforce as pre-registered nurses.

Matthieu SteffenFourth year nursing student

Placement support

All students on placement will continue to be supported by Nursing Studies staff from School of Health in Social Science.

They will also receive supervision from their on-site practice partners – NHS and care home staff – who will provide mentoring throughout the placements.

Our student nurses have a huge variety of skills that they can use to help our NHS colleagues tackle this pandemic. We will continue to be on hand to support them during this period, and afterwards once they return to the University.

Dr Sarah RhynasUndergraduate Programme Director of Nursing Studies

Commitment to nursing staff

Nursing Studies’ commitment to supporting the fight against Covid-19 was also demonstrated this week with its involvement in the landmark State of the World’s Nursing report, part of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.

Head of Nursing Studies, Professor Aisha Holloway was a contributor to the evidence review of the report.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with the International Council of Nurses and Nursing Now, used the launch to thank nurses and midwives for all they are doing in the pandemic.

As a team, we are immensely proud of our undergraduate nursing students, who in the face of Covid-19, one of the greatest global healthcare challengse of our time, are responding with compassion, professionalism and leadership. Each one will play their own role in providing care for those across our society at a time of most need. In this International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, the University of Edinburgh gives thanks to our nursing students.

Professor Aisha HollowayHead of Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh

Related links

Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh

Scottish Government guidance

Nursing and Midwifery Council

WHO State of the World’s Nursing report