In Scotland, 12,000 health and social care students will help reduce the pressures of the pandemic and level out staffing issues.
High levels of staff absences due to staff isolation has meant the health services has struggled to keep up with patient demand over the past few months but through student placements, Scottish hospitals are being able to offer the appropriate level of care necessary.
Under supervised practice there are over 3,000 nursing and midwifery students on placement, and a further 7,000 students will be placed next month. One and a half thousand Allied Health Professional students and 500 paramedic students will also uptake their placement on the frontline.
Whilst some medical students are having their placements postponed due to lack of staff being able to supervise them, Scotland are encouraging them to go ahead and work closely alongside qualified nursing and other health care staff to learn and earn the necessary hours needed for registration as a healthcare professional.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “As part of their professional programme of education, and throughout the pandemic, these students have worked tirelessly to support our NHS, making an invaluable contribution to the delivery of care as part of their supervised practice in health and social care environments.
“As we go into a third year facing up to the challenges of COVID, we are fortunate to combine good quality learning attained by students as part of their supervised practice with the positive impact these students have on the delivery of safe, effective patient care and their ongoing support of our NHS. And I wholeheartedly thank them for their hard work during this difficult time.”
Scottish government funded degree programmes for nurses and midwives is thought to increase by nearly 9 percent over the next year and is predicted to have a total intake of 4,837 students.
Mental health nursing is also set to increase to 888 intakes, which would be a 20 percent increase on intake from the previous year. In addition, a further 335 students will also begin a Paramedic Science degree.
Senior Charge Nurse for Critical Care at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Steve Walls said: “As part of their learning experience, students have adapted to what has been very challenging time, providing the highest quality of care as valued members of clinical teams across a broad range of services, from our hospitals to the community.
“For me it has been fantastic to see how they have developed while providing an extra pair of hands, eyes and ears to make sure our patients are safely cared for as we respond to the pandemic. They also bring with them an enthusiasm that can lift the mood of a shift.”