COVID-19 changes in nurse education

By Anush Pervez

Like many other establishments, Universities were forced to close their doors as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Instead they shifted towards online teaching with some student nurses learning through virtual classrooms. However, a percentage of student nurses preferred the idea and were able to take up the opportunity of a paid, clinical placement to support the nursing workforce.


Universities are now preparing for the next academic year and educators are currently in the midst of restructuring their programmes in order to aid student nurses through the new crisis. Throughout the pandemic, education providers across the board have been using different online platforms to deliver live and pre-recorded lectures and seminars to their students. The idea of maintaining an equal balance of online sessions and face-to-face learning may be carried through to the new curriculum. Nurse educators are also eager to bring back their student nurses in socially distanced groups in order to execute clinical skills and undertake practical elements of the courses.


With thousands of student nurses being deployed into paid clinical placements to support key workers during the pandemic, a major challenge was to finish their course without delay. As well as this, it has been a concern as to how students who did not take up the placement offer will achieve their required 2,300 hours worth of placement given the current circumstances.


Since this issue has risen, there has been a lot of discussion around what placement activity actually concludes. Some have mentioned that online consultations could be classed as a placement and that putting students in ‘dummy’ situations will test their abilities, allowing them to complete their required placement hours and thus solving this issue for those who cannot complete a paid placement due to shielding or isolation concerns.


Nursing students throughout the UK who have not been able to support the workforce during the pandemic have expressed their real disappointed and guilt which is a truly great attitude to see in our future nurses.


Both nurses and student nurses, as well as all key workers have been doing an exceptional job throughout COVID-19 and we are proud to have been supporting them.


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