Student nurses willing to help NHS but need proper support, says UNISON

Paid placements are key to support but training must continue

Responding to the publication of draft guidance today (Thursday) on the use of nursing students to help the NHS cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“Never before has the NHS faced a challenge on this scale. Combating the coronavirus requires unprecedented measures.

“Making sure the health service has as many staff as possible is paramount.

“Many student nurses want to make their skills available at this time of exceptional need. But in a way that’s as safe as possible for them and patients.

“Under these changes, final-year student nurses can offer to support the NHS on paid placements and join a special section of the nursing register.

“But they must be able to return to learning and complete more supported clinical placements, if needed, once the crisis is over.

“The long-term future of the NHS must also be protected. That means not rushing anyone into becoming a fully qualified registered nurse.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

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