COVID-19: advice for staff and students

Student Nurses and Midwives

Specific advice for current RGU Student Nurses and Midwives, including those on placement.
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General Information

I am a final year nursing or midwifery student. What does the latest announcement that student nurses and midwives within their last 6 months of study are moving to the frontline of the NHS mean to me?

For nursing and midwifery students within their final 6 months of study, the following communication has been sent from the Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland.

‘The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has instructed NHS Scotland and individual health boards “to do all that is necessary to be ready to face a substantial and sustained increase in the number of cases of Covid-19”, and the Scottish Government is “working with regulators to enable returners to the healthcare profession and by looking to deploy students into settings that are appropriate to their skills”.

Your university and local Board, together with you, will work to place you where you can continue to develop your nursing and midwifery skills, and at the same time provide service to the people of Scotland.

You will be paid for the work, initially at band 4, and, as an employee, will have the same terms and conditions as any NHS employee. But, at the same time, you will continue to be a student of your university, and they will provide you with support as a student, and will also work to provide any academic support and work that you will need, so that you will be able to graduate on time, as much as is possible.’

To simplify, all nursing and midwifery students in their final 6 months of study:

  • Have the option to opt in to a full-time employment model and be paid as a Band 4, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) will work with Health Boards to facilitate organisation adn payment for these posts;
  • Will contribute to the healthcare workforce at this critical time if they choose to opt in. They are now required to sign up via the NES portatl as provided in their letter from the Head of School on 31 March 2020.
  • They will be able to count their practice hours towards their final stage required hours if they opt in to the employment model;
  • Who opt in to the employment model will be able to complete any outstanding academic work;
  • For students who opt in to the employment model and on successful completion of their academic and NMC requirements will remain in the Band 4 post until their registration comes through if they are on the NHS Grampian NGN programme;
  • For students who do not wish to opt in to the employment model, they will continue on course until they are due to go out on their placement on 15 June. At this point they will require to defer;
  • Supported by the University through this time.


The School is continuing to clarify the process of deployment for students by working with NES and our clinical colleagues. We are collating the data sent to us from students who wish to opt in. It is unlikely that students will be required to enter a temporary register.

We are still awaiting clarity from the CNO around following points:

  • Whether students who opt in and will be paid at Band 4, will also continue to receive their bursaries;
  • Whether students will be classed as “Key Workers” and if travel to placement is classed as essential travel for expenses purpose.


For students who have outstanding academic resubmissions, they are likely to be deployed at a later date. Further information will be provided by email.

Students who wish to opt in and have an underlying health condition which may prevent them from working on the frontline, may be able to work in an alternative area. This will be arranged on an individual basis.

We will continue to communicate with students though their RGU email address, and update the FAQs as we receive information. Further information for students and employers has been released by the NMC and can be accessed:

I’m a third year BN (Hons) student, do you have specific advice for me?

As per your course calendar, you will continue with your practice module on 25 May.

  • There will be opt in arrangements to spend around 80% of your time in paid work in the clinical setting. This will be managed within the programme.
  • This paid time will count towards your practice hours within their programme
  • The other 20% of your time will be spent on academic work within your programme
  • You will not be supernumery through this time but will be supervised and work within an appropriate delegated framework.
  • For those of you who do not wish to opt in to this opportunity for whatever reason, you will have the opportunity to complete the module with a practice-based project which will complement the clinical work and hours you have already completed so far.
  • On successful completion of the academic and practice components above, and following the confirmation of module grades at assessment board, you will proceed to stage 4 of your course in September 2020
  • The University will continue to support you through this time


Please give us some time to address these changes to your programme. We will communicate with you over the coming days. 

I’m a second year student, do you have specific advice for me?

As per your course calendar, you will continue with your practice module on 20 April (nursing students) or a suitably arranged date for midwifery students.

  • This paid time will count towards your practice hours within their programme
  • The other 20% of your time will be spent on academic work within your programme/li>
  • You will not be supernumery through this time but will be supervised and work within an appropriate delegated framework.
  • If you do not wish to opt in to the paid time in clinical practice you will be given the opportunity to complete the module with a theoretical piece of work which will complement the clinical work and hours you have already completed so far
  • On successful completion of the academic and practice components above, and following the confirmation of module grades at assessment board, you will proceed to stage 3 of your course in September 2020
  • The University will continue to support you through this time


Please give us some time to address these changes to your programme. We will communicate with you over the coming days.

I’m a first year student , do you have specific advice for me?

  • You will continue on your programme
  • You will not go onto clinical placement during the crisis. There will be alternative practice learning arrangement that can be achieved and will contribute to practice hours
  • Your academic work will continue
  • On successful completion of the academic and practice components above, and following the confirmation of module grades at assessment board, you will proceed to stage 2 of your course in September 2020

You can take up the opportunity of paid or voluntary work within a clinical setting, the hours of which will not contribute towards your programme.

How do I access personal tutor support as the university is closed?

You should continue to communicate with your personal tutor via email.

I am currently off programme on a temporary suspension of studies and due to return soon. Who do I go to as the University is closed?

You should continue to communicate with your School via email as per normal process. Your School will contact you and keep you up to date with your plans for returning to the course.

Will absence from University or placement prevent me from finishing my course on time?

The School is continuing to liaise with all relevant parties in relation to nursing and midwifery education. Please see relevant details relating to your stage of study in the preceding questions. Further information will be available in due course.


Placements

As a key worker, how do I access childcare?

If you are entering into the paid employment model as a stage 2, 3 or 4 student, you would be eligible to access support with child care provision in relation to category 1. The definition of a key workers is described within the following categories:

Category 1
  • Health and care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff.
  • Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work.
  • Health and Care workers supporting critical primary and community care provision.
  • Energy suppliers
  • Staff providing childcare/learning for other Category 1 staff.
Category 2
  • All other Health and Care workers.
  • Pupil Sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc).
  • Workers supporting the Critical National Infrastructure


Both parents have to be key workers to classify for support.

If a place is not made available to you at this time, please be assured that ongoing review of applications will take place to enable the authority to support as many ‘key workers’ as possible. The form to apply for childcare is available from:

If I am unable to attend placement or engage in my course, eg due to sickness not related to COVID-19, or due to personal circumstances, eg bereavement, what do I do?

Follow the normal absence process. If on placement, follow both the University and the placement area, the Attendance policy can be accessed: 

I finish my placement and the university has closed, where do I submit my Ongoing Record of Achievement (ORA) or Practice Assessment Document (PAD)?

The university campus is closed to staff and students, please submit your ORA/PAD as directed by the PEL team and stage leads/course leads. Information will be provided within the module area in CampusMoodle.

As the university is closed, how do I submit a timesheet?

Please submit either a scanned copy or a clear photograph of your signed timesheet to: nursingandmidwiferyrecords@rgu.ac.uk

How do I claim placement expenses as the university is closed?

Please send an electronic copy or clear photograph of your claim form and all relevant receipts by email to: SNMschooloffice@rgu.ac.uk

I do not feel I have access to the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on placement. What should I do?

We have been assured by our board partners that students will have access to the appropriate PPE as per the staff in the clinical area. If you have concerns in relation to availability of PPE please contact the practice education team, via the appropriate generic stage email address, who will discuss your individual circumstances with you:

I feel that my learning experience is being significantly impacted on because of changes in work pattern or patient contact associated with COVID-19. Who should I contact about my concerns?

If you feel that it is not possible for you to achieve any of your essential skills clusters as part of your practice learning experience please contact the practice education team, via the appropriate generic stage email address, who will discuss your individual circumstances with you:

My mentor is currently working from home. What advice do you have for me?

Discuss any study she/he suggests that can be done by you whilst you work at home too. Organise any spoke experiences which may still be available. Check in with your mentor every day so you can update each other.

My mentor is redeployed to an area where students are not permitted. What should I do?

Discuss the situation with your PEF or the PEL team. Contact the practice education team:

I have queries about placement grading.

Stage 1 nursing students should ask their mentors to complete their ongoing record of achievement as most should have sufficient hours to be graded at this point. The students should cease to attend placement as of the end of your shift on Monday 23 March.

Stage 2 midwifery students should continue to the end of the week (w/c 23 March) where the scheduled placement period in your programme ends. Please contact the PEL team on Monday if there are any questions in this regard.

This message applies to first and second year students only. Stage 3 students complete their current placement as per planned in the programme.

Before completing your placement, please approach your mentor to grade your placement, regardless of the number of hours you have achieved.

The School will determine an alternative arrangement to enable students to meet practice standards and outcomes. This will be communicated to you once confirmed e.g. students may be required to complete a practice-based project that has been mapped against practice outcomes.

I have lost some placement hours because of self-isolating. Can this time be made up in anyway?

We do not want any student disadvantaged in this situation and are proposing that alternative experiences related to public health can be considered. The PEL team will be able to guide you in this regard.

Do first and second year students need to complete the essential skills clusters and how will we complete them all them to progress to the next stage?

The school will provide further details on this in due course.

Will first and second year students need to make up these hours for these placements at a later stage?

We are awaiting further guidance from the NMC and the CNO office around this issue. Information will be provided as soon as we have this.

Will the elective placement in stage 2 and PLE2 in stage 1 still go ahead? If not, will these placements be carried forward and added on to the next year?

We are awaiting further guidance from the NMC and the CNO office around this issue. Information will be provided as soon as we have this.

Will first and second year students be allocated placements in a different way at a different time in the future?

We are awaiting further guidance from the NMC and the CNO office around this issue. Information will be provided as soon as we have this.    


Assessments

How will assessments be delivered as the university is closed?

If you have a presentation, exam or OSCE due, please continue to prepare as planned. Alternative assessment arrangements are available from 27 March 2020. Please also check CampusMoodle regularly for any updates. Students who need to resit exams will not be disadvantaged, however, there may be some amendments to delivery and date of the assessment.

What if we fail after repeating an exam and have been working on the ward?

Further guidance will be provided to you regarding this potential issue.

 

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