Student nurses who step onto the front line in short-staffed hospitals and help cope with the growing number of coronavirus cases will be paid, it has been confirmed.
The move comes after a letter was sent to final-year students last week asking them if they would be prepared to volunteer their nursing skills.
Students were made aware of the latest move in an open letter to them yesterday from Fiona McQueen Scotland’s chief nursing officer.
The letter, which was addressed to to all final year nursing and midwifery students in Scotland, offered them employment for their last six months while they continued on their academic programme.
In her letter Ms McQueen said: “I know that as a final year student you are highly skilled, and you will be able to make a significant difference. So for those of you who are able (and we recognise that some of you may not be for a variety of reasons), we are asking you to agree to be employed by your local NHS board.
“Your university and local board, together with you, will work to place you where you can continue to develop your nursing and midwifery skills, and at the same time provide service to the people of Scotland. ”
She continued: “You will be paid for the work, initially at band 4, and, as an employee, will have the same terms and conditions as any NHS employee. But, at the same time, you will continue to be a student of your university, and they will provide you with support as a student, and will also work to provide any academic support and work that you will need, so that you will be able to graduate on time, as much as is possible.
“If you aren’t able to work in acute or patient-facing areas, there are many other sectors where there will be a need for staff who have a whole variety of skills. We need people to work in the community, in NHS 24, and in the care home sector. ”
One final year mental health student nurse, who asked not to be name said: “We’re all very scared but we have all said yes from my cohort so far.
“A few of us have cried but we want to do our bit to help. ”