Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for medical, nursing and midwifery students

Guidance on student support for medical, nursing and midwifery students during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance is not current.

Nursing and Midwifery students not in first year, and not in the final six months pre-registration programme


Given the significant pressures on the system and the need to ensure that front line services are fully supported it may not possible to continue to provide the current programme for students in these years of study.

You will be given the option to opt into a revised programme structure as set out below. This is voluntary and if you do not feel able to opt in to this you will be supported by your university to consider the options available to you, including an authorised break in your studies which would be part of your university's existing process around suspension of studies.

Revised programme delivery

You will be asked to opt into an arrangement, whereby you spend no more than 80% of your time in clinical practice and 20% in academic study. The latter offers a continuing opportunity for learning and a support mechanism and link to your university. In the majority of cases, we will seek to place students in the placement than had already been arranged for them, or in an organisation where they have worked previously. The hours you work will contribute to your overall programme to recognise the valuable contribution you are making and can offer to health and care delivery in these challenging times.

It will not be possible for students to be supernumerary whilst in clinical practice during this emergency situation but you will be supervised and work within an appropriate delegation framework.

The exact nature of the role to be undertaken and the level of supervision will be agreed between you and the organisation in which you will be working.

What does this mean for your education programme?

Your university will continue to provide support to you and will offer ways of maintaining contact when you are in clinical practice. Your time in clinical practice can be used to support achievement of required practice hours. You will be paid the remainder of your bursary as you will be required to continue to study to complete the rest of your course. Bursary allowances as currently paid will continue.

Given the significant change in time spent in clinical practice consideration will need to be given to how students can be supported to meet the academic course requirements. The NMC will work closely with the Council of Deans of Health and universities to assess what this means for students and how they can be supported to achieve the course requirements across the remaining period of their studies, and within the original timeframe of your degree. Where this requires ongoing changes to the structure of programmes, NHS Education for Scotland, on behalf of the Chief Nurse, will monitor the impact at universities to ensure that outcomes are achieved. Each university will have its own arrangements as all programmes are different, and your university will answer questions you have on this.

If you are unable to undertake clinical practice, and take a break in studies, you should discuss this with your university, as continuation of bursary will be dependent on the reasons for the break, under the same conditions as at present.

Will this have a financial impact on students?

While in clinical practice you will be paid in line with the terms and conditions of the organisation in which you are working and national guidelines (e.g. Agenda for Change) in line with a Band 3 role description.

You will not be able to claim travel expenses while employed.

What action do students need to take?

Your university will be in touch with you to discuss the revised programme delivery model and what it means for you:

  • If you decide to opt in to work in clinical practice, your university will work with you to identify your placement. This information will then be provided to the NHS who will identify an appropriate organisation for you to work in. This organisation will then be in touch with you to discuss your deployment in more detail and answer your questions.
  • You should register on the NHS portal at
  • If you decide you do not want to work in clinical practice, your university will discuss your alternative options with you including continuation of the academic elements of your programme.



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