The Nursing and Midwifery Council has said that second-year student nurses can choose to spend 80% of their hours in a paid clinical placement during the coronavirus outbreak.
The emergency standards – which also apply to final-year students not in the last six months of their programme – mean students can put as little as a fifth of their hours towards academic study during the pandemic.
NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said: ‘This will also enable those students who wish to be involved in supporting this emergency situation to have more choices in how they continue with their programmes.’
Educational institutions can also pause first-year clinical placements and ask students to spend the entirety of their first-year programme on academic learning.
For nursing and midwifery students.
— The NMC (@nmcnews) March 25, 2020
The NMC has introduced new standards to accommodate the option for extended clinical placements, moving from the required 50-50 split between theory and practice to an 80-20 split.
The latest emergency standards follow calls from pre-registration students for clarification on how they can help during the pandemic.
Trainee nurses in the final six months of their programme were told last week that they could complete the remainder of their course as a paid placement to help tackle Covid-19.
The NMC is also currently working to invite former nurses and midwives who left the profession in the last three years to re-register.
The next stage of its Covid-19 response would be to establish a temporary register for nursing students in the final six months of its programme, it added.
It continued: ‘We 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.’