COVID-19: what nursing students will need most as they join the emergency register
Reassurance and support from healthcare professionals, universities and our peers is vital
With many nursing students preparing to join the COVID-19 emergency register, we are exposed to the challenges facing the NHS, now and in the weeks to come.
The pandemic has changed the way we are educated, with universities taking the decision to postpone face-to-face teaching and provide learning via online channels instead.
During this time of uncertainty, it is imperative that students are continually supported and given the information they need, and are able to express their thoughts and concerns, safe in the knowledge that they are being heard.
Students will need reassurance as they step up to clinical practice
In a recent poll conducted on Twitter, I asked students how they felt about going into clinical practice given the current situation. Among the 81 votes in total, 44% said they are ready to help, 32% said they feel okay but need reassurance, 21% said they are petrified and 2% said they do not want to go into practice yet.
This suggests that although many nursing students are willing to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic, some would appreciate extra reassurance and information about what their role will entail.
A third-year nursing student I spoke to said she wants to help the NHS, but as the poll suggests, she needs extra reassurances about the safety of her family. She is deeply concerned that if she opts in to the emergency register, she will be putting vulnerable family members who she lives with at risk of infection.
‘If there is emergency accommodation for me while I carry out my duties as a nursing student, I can protect my family. Without this, I will have to opt out of the emergency register, which may mean I cannot complete my nurse training on time,’ she said.
Boosting well-being through peer support
Peer support will play a vital role in the health and well-being of nursing students over the coming months. I am committed to ensuring children’s nursing students across the UK have a platform to access this support through my online peer support network on Twitter, the Children and Young People Student Nurse Network – @CYPStNN.
Like me, many students across the country have opted to assist the NHS on the front line for the final six months of their degree. This will pose many challenges in our learning, but I embarked on a career in nursing to help others and make a difference.
My peers and I have received overwhelming support from the University of Worcester. Although the university is facing its own challenges, the welfare of its students is the highest priority. I am confident that, together, we can make a difference to the lives of all those in our care.
The team at @CYPStNN recently released a video showing our support for all students across the UK, whatever their circumstances.
To all the #StudentNurses out there, whatever your circumstance, and wherever you are, we want you to know that the team here @CYPStNN are 'here for you'#CYPStNN #PeerSupport #AllInThisTogether #HealthcareHeroes https://t.co/L69KTt53hR pic.twitter.com/ZLw6MThnr8— CYP Student Nurse Network (@CYPStNN) March 26, 2020
Proud to make a difference fighting coronavirus
Many students are experiencing anxieties about the journey ahead, but with the support of each other, our universities and healthcare professionals in practice, we can collectively make a difference in fighting the coronavirus.
Whether you are going into clinical practice or staying at home, the nursing student community is proud of you, and we are here for you.
Ricky Baker is a third-year children’s nursing student at the University of Worcester and founder of the Children and Young People Student Nurse Network @CYPStNN