- 12 May 2020
- 5 min read
How Coronavirus has affected my second year of being a Student Nurse
Student Nurse, Emily Hawthorn, describes the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on her nursing degree and highlights the uncertainty looking forward.
Topics covered in this article
The coronavirus pandemic is currently affecting the day to day lives of everybody, but student nurses have been at the forefront.
Students studying other subjects have been completely transferred to online learning, however we are limited with that as our placements have been affected.
How my student nurse placements have been affected by Coronavirus
I was on a placement in March, which was cut short as a result of the lower number of patients and the element of risk of having a supernumerary student on the ward during this time.
This happened to many of my peers as well, leaving us upset to be leaving placement but understanding of the situation.
We then began to question how the rest of our academic year would work, as we had two theory modules left and one placement; many of us worried about whether we would be able to complete the set number of theory and placement hours set by the NMC to allow us to pass the year and continue into third year.
We were kept up to date by our university, particularly regarding the Extended Paid Clinical Placement (EPCP).
This was offered to final year students initially as an 80/20 placement to theory split, allowing them to undertake a paid placement which removes the supernumerary status of students while continuing with theory that should have been going on.
This means that students could be included as part of the numbers, easing the load of the staff on the ward.
As a second year student, this was initially offered to us as a third wave, after the final years and third year dual field students were out on placement.
However, I saw many students out on their EPCP who were struggling to fill their day as a result of the lack of patients and unsuspected high staffing levels.
This pushed our EPCP back even further.
I have a job as a bank healthcare assistant in my local hospital, which has also been affected by the outbreak.
Remote learning methods have been set up to let student nurses continue studying
Instead of going out on the EPCP, we started our online learning.
The majority of our content is delivered through pre-recorded lectures, allowing us to access them when we can around work and other commitments.
Although this situation isn’t ideal, it was a relief for us to feel like our education hadn’t been put on hold and was continuing, just in another way.
Luckily, our lecturers have been very supportive, answering our questions promptly and putting our minds at ease.
We’ve also had live seminars and tutor group meetings, which brings back a bit more normality to our lives as we can see each other and talk about our worries instead of typing them.
Everyone is in a different situation; some of us have gone home to family, others have stayed in student housing.
That means while some of us are surrounded by loved ones, many of us are away from our family and friends which makes the situation harder.
Has Covid-19 impacted my ability to qualify as a nurse?
We were also due to have an exam in May, and at first we were told this may not be able to go ahead.
Instead, it has now been changed to an open book exam and we have been given a week to complete this.
However this does mean that the result is no longer summative so will not count towards our grade for this year.
This isn’t as bad for me personally, as I did okay on my first exam this year, but for others they wanted to use this exam to up their grade and this is no longer possible.
We have now been told our EPCP is planned to start at the end of June, leaving a lot of us feeling rather hopeless about how to fill the next few months.
We have theory work to complete, but I wish I could physically help on the frontline.
What are the lasting changes we will see in student nursing as a result of Coronavirus?
Of course this situation will probably have repercussions for the rest of our degree, which I have over two years left of.
We have been reassured that our university will do everything they can to prevent late graduation despite the placement hours that we may still owe.
This is something that none of us could have predicted, and while we are all worried about what is going to happen with our degrees it is a situation that is completely out of our control.
I am determined to make the most of my student nursing journey no matter what the circumstances, and we will come out the other side at some point!