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Student nurses to be invited to help tackle Coronavirus

To support the NHS front line response to Coronavirus, student nurses are set to be mobilised to join the registered workforce.

Sir Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS in England has revealed to nurse leaders that third-year students could be offered registration six months early – temporarily – to join the workforce and they were likely to be paid a band 5 staff nurse wage.

Calling on undergraduate nurses

Sir Simon Stevens, commented that Covid-19 was the “single biggest challenge facing all European health services, and the NHS will be no exception.”

As part of sensible preparation, we want to invite up to 18,000 third-year undergraduate nurses to help out on the front line, and will be working with the regulators and staff organisations on this,” he added.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirmed that the regulator was supporting the government to draw up legislation to facilitate the emergency registration of nursing staff.

Clarity on the roles

Chair of the Council of Deans, Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, said: “In these exceptional circumstances, we are confident in the quality of our higher education healthcare students and their skills and abilities in working with the NHS to support the health and care sector.

“Students nearing the end of their course will have gained a great deal of clinical experience during their studies and with the support of employers, will have the option to work in a different role in a time of crisis.

“It is imperative that there is clarity on the roles they will be asked to perform and assurance they will be working within their competencies,” said Professor Webster-Henderson. 

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Nursing said it would support student nurses who wished to take up the invite to the frontline.

Read the full story in the Nursing Times.

View our coronavirus update.