News

‘Burned out’ nursing students’ plea for help to carry on learning in the pandemic

Thousands sign petition calling for placement opt-outs, pay, and temporary registration
Nursing student studies remotely using her laptop

University health faculties rule out being able to fulfil all petition demands

Concerned nursing students are calling for the reintroduction of measures to support them as COVID-19 cases rise.

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for the reintroduction of assistance offered during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020.

But universities say temporary registration one of the petitions demands is not an option.

What the nursing students want

The students are calling for:

  • The option to opt out of placements and defer due to personal circumstances, with support to make up the practice hours later.

University health faculties rule out being able to fulfil all petition demands

Nursing student studies remotely using her laptop
Picture: iStock

Concerned nursing students are calling for the reintroduction of measures to support them as COVID-19 cases rise.

More than 8,000 people have signed a petition calling for the reintroduction of assistance offered during the first wave of the pandemic in March 2020.

But universities say temporary registration – one of the petition’s demands – is ‘not an option’.

What the nursing students want

The students are calling for:

  • The option to opt out of placements and defer due to personal circumstances, with support to make up the practice hours later.
  • The flexibility to opt for longer – and paid – placements.
  • The chance, for those students who are in the final six months of their degrees, to join the temporary register.
  • The impact of the pandemic on students’ ability to study to be taken into account by universities.

‘Nursing students feel undervalued and burnt out’

Petition author, whose name is given as Tina Marie, warns that if support is not forthcoming the NHS risks losing some of the next generation of nursing staff before they even qualify.

‘If they [student nurses] get sick with COVID whilst on their placement and are off sick, they are then expected to make those hours back up or face late qualification,’ she writes on the petition webpage.

‘They feel undervalued and are burnt out before they have even qualified. Please help them – they are the next generation of the NHS.’

Her sentiments are echoed by nursing students on social media:

Mitigating circumstances – universities have discretion on a case by case basis

But Council of Deans of Health executive director Katerina Kolyva said while the organisation is discussing options for programme flexibility with government and regulator, ‘we are at an earlier point in the academic year than we were in the first wave of the pandemic, so early graduation and temporary registration is not an option’.

Dr Kolyva said universities’ main concern was to help as many healthcare students as possible to graduate, adding that universities already have the flexibility to take students’ individual circumstances into account.

Health Education England’s deputy chief nurse Liz Fenton urged students to talk to their universities if they have concerns.

‘It is now really important that students are supported in their learning, including making up lost academic or practice time after wave one in order that they are able to complete their education, graduate on time and join the workforce as registered nurses,’ she said.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to mentalhealthpractice.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs