SHSC students take up NHS placements

Date posted

23 April 2020


Students from Edinburgh Napier have spoken of their pride at taking up placements alongside NHS workers as part of the national drive to combat coronavirus.

Almost 1000 undergraduate and postgraduate student nurses and student midwives from the School of Health & Social Care are now being assigned to hospitals and care homes mainly across the Lothian and Borders NHS areas in response to the public health crisis.

The second and final year nursing and midwifery students have begun taking up caring roles following in-depth discussions involving a number of organisations to hammer out the details of the emergency measures to support the NHS. Those who have chosen to get involved will work on placement for an initial period of six months or until the crisis is over.

Portrait of nursing student Lesley Murray

The recruitment of student talent to the national effort follows talks between the UK Government, Scottish Government, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, higher education and health officials aimed at putting in place the necessary regulatory and governance arrangements while also respecting students’ course requirements. 

Changes to learning and teaching arrangements had to be made, supported by dedicated academic teams, and professional services staff worked tirelessly to help allocate students to paid placements.

Lecturer Dr David Whiteley has put together a continuously updated online support package so both students and School staff have all the latest information and guidance they need at their fingertips.

Edinburgh Napier staff are also supporting the health authorities and NHS Education for Scotland with the wider background infrastructure by collating details of developments like ward closures and mergers, initially from NHS Lothian and NHS Borders, so students can be allocated to roles where they will offer the most effective support.

Dr Hazel Willis, Interim Dean of Edinburgh Napier’s School of Health & Social Care, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives and is requiring universities, NHS boards and student nurses and midwives to work in exceptional ways to address the requirements of the NHS and the wider population.

“Our students have demonstrated outstanding levels of professionalism during this period of uncertainty, and these remarkable people have the support of all of us as they go out to both aid and assist but also to learn from our frontline doctors, nurses and midwives in these challenging times.”

Lesley Murray, 47, of Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, who is in the second year of a Bachelor of Nursing (Mental Health) degree, has been placed in the Hermitage Ward at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

She said: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime, to be needed on the frontline and able to meet that need to support our much-loved NHS. It’s a frightening time for all of us, and although I’m paying attention to those fears and anxieties, mainly I’m choosing to focus on the unique learning experience that will come from it. 

Portrait of nursing student Euan Hill 

“Being in mental health, it will be interesting to see how this affects the mental health and resilience of the population during and after the crisis. I imagine the impact will be felt for a long time, so to be involved directly in the care of others during the crisis will give me the context for people’s difficulties as they arise in the future.

“I feel fortunate that I’m in a position to do more than just applaud the NHS at this time; I can get involved and support it.”

Euan Hill, 21, from Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, has been placed in the emergency unit at Borders General Hospital.

Euan, who is in the third year of a Bachelor of Nursing (Adult) undergraduate degree, said: “Throughout my training, the support offered by my colleagues within the NHS has been amazing, and the prospect of working alongside them at this difficult time is daunting but very satisfying. There will be lots of challenges over the next few months, but I know that the guidance offered by the NHS and the University will put me in the best position to give the support my colleagues need.”

School of Health & Social Care

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