Nursing and Midwifery students: frequently asked questions
Where can I work?
Where possible, you will be offered work at an organisation where you have undertaken a clinical placement before. There might be rare occasions where we would ask if you would consider moving to a different area to cover local needs but this will be in accordance with your identified knowledge, skills and competencies and will be discussed with you beforehand. There will be placements in all fields of nursing and all areas of midwifery. Any such decisions will also take into account wider government advice on limiting travel.
Does the changes to my student clinical placements in the revised programme options apply to midwifery and all four fields of nursing?
Yes – this applies to all student nurses and midwives.
We will work in partnership with universities to place you in an organisation where you have undertaken a clinical placement before with the decision about your role made between you, your university and the local organisation to ensure you feel supported and able to meet the requirements of the role.
What training and support will I receive before I am deployed?
You will be provided with training prior to commencing in your role. This will include induction as appropriate to your needs and to enable you to practice safely. This is likely to include:
- Statutory and mandatory training
- Local Induction
- Specific guidance associated with the unprecedented situation i.e. the management of coronavirus and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
For individuals joining the temporary register, you should also expect to receive a further preceptorship package to support transition from band 4 to band 5.
What will I be expected to do?
We acknowledge that you may be anxious about changes within your role especially in these unprecedented circumstances. Please be assured that there is no expectation that you will be required to work outside of your skills or capabilities.
I have children – do I qualify as a critical worker?
Key workers are in posts which ensure that essential services can be delivered and cover tasks within the local community which support the vulnerable and aid community resilience. This may be slightly different in each community to allow the country to address local priorities. Whilst decisions will be taken at the local level, we would expect this to include consideration of health and social care staff. Further guidance is available at www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus---school-and-elc-closures-guidance-on-critical-childcare-provision-for-key-workers/
If you require any evidence to support discussions with your school or childcare provider this can be obtained from your university.
What if I decide I can no longer work?
As set out in this guide, opting in to work in clinical practice is voluntary. If at any time you feel unable to continue to work you should speak to your employer and university link who can support you.
Terms and conditions
Will I get paid and how will this be agreed?
Yes, you will be remunerated for any work you do in a way that reflects the responsibilities you undertake. This will be discussed with you at the point you commence work. This does not apply to year 1 students as you will be continuing with their education programme.
Will I have a contract?
You will have a contract that reflects all the working hour protections, pay arrangements and annual leave entitlement of the organisation in to which you are deployed. National terms and conditions for NHS staff can be found on the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee website (www.stac.scot.nhs.uk)
How many hours can I work?
Your working hours and pattern will be agreed between you and the organisation in which you have decided to work. This agreement will take account of working time regulations and expectations that sufficient rest time is provided.
Will I join the NHS Pension scheme?
If staff hold a contract of employment with an NHS employer and are on payroll, they will be auto-enrolled into the SPPA. Your temporary employer will be able to help with any questions you have on this.
How will indemnity work?
Arrangements are in place to indemnify healthcare workers for the NHS work they already do, through the national indemnity arrangements via the Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme (CNORIS). During a pandemic existing indemnity arrangements will continue. CNORIS will cover student nurses, midwives and medical students working for NHS Boards. These arrangements should cover all healthcare workers for the vast majority of NHS services. However, we recognise that there will be a need for changes to working arrangements during this emergency period. We do not want indemnity to be a barrier to such changes. The Government is therefore planning to introduce additional indemnity coverage for clinical negligence liabilities that may arise when healthcare workers and others are working as part of the COVID-19 response, or undertaking NHS work to backfill others, in the event that existing arrangements (CNORIS or individual arrangements) do not cover a particular activity.
What is the COVID-19 temporary register?
The Government is seeking to pass emergency legislation to establish a temporary part of the NMC register. This will allow for final year nursing students in the last six months of their nursing programme to be temporarily registered to practice by the NMC during the period of emergency.
The NMC will only consider asking student nurses whether they would like to join this emergency register if we believe that this is necessary to further benefit our health services and the people who use them. Further details about this will be made available to students on the NMC website at https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/coronavirus/temporary-registration/
Universities will support you in understanding the choices and options available to you at this time. As with the permanent register, your temporary registration will be listed on the NMC website.
What does it mean when it says that temporary registration has conditions of practice?
The NMC conditions of practice and proposed conditions of practice for nursing students going onto the Covid-19 temporary register state that:
You must ensure that you are supervised any time you are working. Your supervision must consist of:
- Working at all times with, but not always directly observed by, a NMC registered nurse, midwife, or other registered health care professional, who is not on a temporary register.
- You must not carry out any activity in which you have not been assessed as competent and appropriately signed off during your training unless you are supervised by NMC registered nurses, midwives, and other registered health care professionals who are not on a temporary register (unless a lifesaving intervention is required to avoid sudden and unexpected death).
- These conditions of practice would be published on the temporary register for any nursing student registrant.
- The NMC will also inform students who were opting onto the register that they would be subject to those conditions.
Will I have to pay to join the temporary register?
No – there will be no fee to join the temporary register.
Will I be able to transition from the temporary register to the full register if the end of my programme falls during the emergency period?
In exceptional circumstances – where students are very close to meeting the requirements for full registration, it may be more appropriate for students to complete their studies and apply to the full register route than to join the temporary register.
If you join the temporary register your university will need to decide whether you have met all the outcomes of your programme. In any eventuality they will advise and support you about what you need to do to reach full registration.
What happens if someone raises a complaint about me to the regulator?
The royal colleges and trades unions have confirmed that if a nursing student enters on to a temporary register at the NMC during the crisis, and if they need legal representation for employment or regulatory issues arising from their time on those registers, their union will provide that representation even if their membership status remains that of student.
Accordingly, there should be no barrier to you taking on new duties and you would not need to inform your union, and you can be confident that royal colleges and trade unions will provide you with the same support as if you had a full membership.
It should also be noted that where a concern is raised about a temporarily registered professional, the NMC will always consider the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the context and environment in which the professional is working. The NMC will also take account of any relevant information about resources, guidelines, or protocols in place at the time. Detail on the temporary register can be found on the NMC website https://www.nmc.org.uk/news/coronavirus/temporary-registration/
When you are temporarily registered as a Registered Nurse with the NMC up-to-date information can be accessed about the Code of Practice and other professional standards can be found on their website - https://www.nmc.org.uk/standards/code/
Your health and wellbeing
What if I'm concerned about my health, I'm pregnant, immunosuppressed, have health problems or I am a primary carer?
Given the increased risks associated with COVID-19 in those with co-morbidity and in the elderly population, we would of course advise against taking up patient-facing clinical work if you belong to this group. There are a range of opportunities you may wish to consider in non-patient facing roles that may be more suitable and these can be discussed in more detail as part of your bespoke offer. For more information on vulnerable groups please access here. Information for pregnant workers can be accessed at www.rcog.org.uk
Further advice can be accessed at https://www.staffgovernance.scot.nhs.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/guidance/
What if I become ill when I am working or concerned that I may have coronavirus?
If you become ill while working, local policy and national guidance must be followed to ensure your safety and the safety of others. You should immediately inform your line manager and withdraw from work. If you have concerns regarding COVID-19 please follow national guidance which you can access via NHS Inform at www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19
Where can I get more information?
For further information, advice or support the following may be of interest:
- NHS Inform coronavirus guidance
- NMC information for students
- NMC joint Statement from Chief Executives of Statutory regulators of Health and Care Professionals
- Royal College of Midwives – Coronavirus – what you need to know
- RCN coronavirus information
- Council of Deans for Health – Response to Coronavirus
- Unison: your rights at work (coronavirus)
- Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee
- Health Protection Scotland
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