Unions announce COVID-19 support for nursing students

UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing and Unite have negotiated an agreement that enables nursing students to help NHS colleagues deal with the challenge of COVID-19

The unprecedented challenge facing the NHS means emergency arrangements have been put in place regarding nursing students.

The trade unions representing nursing students – UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing and Unite – have made an agreement with The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and chief nursing officers across the UK that enables more experienced students to be able to help their NHS colleagues where they can, be paid and have this work count towards their learning.

UNISON has also been given assurances that longer-term learning is protected. Nursing students will be given adequate time and support to reach their full potential once this emergency has passed.

The message to student nurses about the emergency arrangements are as follows:

  • These measures are voluntary. Because the clinical context has changed, some of you may not wish to go into placement or possibly will need to be at home caring for family. This is OK and universities will do their best to support you in those circumstances.
  • You will be entitled to all the same protections and support as NHS staff. If you do go into practice, you are providing a helpful service and should be supported by your colleagues.
  • You are always entitled to supervision and will work within a delegated framework. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has acknowledged these are emergency conditions and will take this into account in any issue that may arise.
  • You will not be rushed to join the full NMC register until you are ready. Assurances have been given that you will be able to ask for further protected time and learning once the emergency has passed, if you need it – without being disadvantaged for doing so.
  • UNISON will stand with you. You can raise concerns to us at any time and we will do our best to support you.

The full union statement information is available here.