10 December 2020
Open letter to all nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students
It is hard to believe that it is now more than six months since the COVID-19 pandemic entirely altered our ways of working and studying. We know it has been a challenge for us all and we are proud of how all of you have adapted to these changes.
Today we are writing to thank all of our nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students across Scotland. No matter which profession you are working towards, whether you have just started, or are getting close to registration, we want to thank you for the contribution that you are making as part of our future workforce. We know that many of you are juggling caring responsibilities alongside your professional commitments. This is no small task and we greatly appreciate your dedication to your future profession.
Many of you have written to us to tell us about the struggles and challenges that you face completing your placements in the current climate. Your stories of strength, perseverance, and commitment to progressing through your degrees have been truly inspiring. We know that the situation is changing daily, and that we don’t always get everything right, but our priority is for you to be able to progress through your programmes, and to graduate and join our workforce on time.
We want to reassure you that we will continue to support you, and that the Scottish Government alongside your universities, NHS Education for Scotland, and others are working hard to ensure that your status as a student is maintained. We want to ensure that when you go into practice, you are first and foremost there as a learner whilst you gain the experience required to become the health professionals that Scotland will need for the future. Whilst safeguarding your experience as a learner, you will also be provided with all the protections that employees have including Personal Protective Equipment, testing and vaccinations as they are rolled out.
If you experience any issues with your placements we would encourage you to discuss these with your supervisor, or the manager in the area. You should also keep in touch with your university tutors who are there to advocate on your behalf when required. Your mental wellbeing is a priority, and The National Wellbeing Hub is there for students to access. Your universities will also have specialist counselling and mental health services available and we would encourage you to seek this support when you need it. With the holiday period approaching, we hope that you are able to take some time to relax and recharge.
We are making great progress in the fight against COVID-19, and the recent roll-out of vaccinations for health and social care staff will help protect our students and staff carrying out these vital roles. Please accept our thanks for your part in this fight, both now, and in your continued efforts in the weeks and months ahead. Your extraordinary hard work, dedication, skills and commitment helped pull our health service through at an exceptional time and we know we will all reap the rewards of our hard work in the new year.
Professor Fiona McQueen
Chief Nursing Officer, Scottish Government
Professor Ann Holmes
Chief Midwifery Officer, Scottish Government
Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Scottish Government
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