Student Support Guide March 2020
Letter to Nursing and Midwifery Students 26/03/2020
Health Care Students Briefing: 13 March 2020
This communications is specifically designed for all nursing, midwifery and allied health professions students. However, the principals of this apply to all students in the Institute of Health who have a placement.
Update on Covid-19
Yesterday the Chief Scientist and the Chief Medical Officer gave an update on the virus. Key points from that are summarised as:
- The anticipated and modelled peek for this virus in the UK is around 10 – 14 weeks away. This suggests to us all that we are in for a bit of a “long haul” with Covid-19
- Travel assessments and countries visited will no longer play a pivotal part of the determination of risk of having Covid 19
- Clinical assessment of symptoms: flu like symptoms, persistent cough, high temperature are clinical indicators of the virus. Those experiencing any of these symptoms should self- isolate for seven days
- Citizens of the UK are asked not to call 111 unless symptoms persist over seven days or if general health deteriorates
- The country is also planning for a second wave of Covid-19 in the months to come around December/January time
Impact on Practice Placements
In line with advice from the regulators and Department of Health and Social Care we are not making plans to stop placements, alter placements or remove students from placements. As health care professional students, we are however asking you to do three things:
- Follow the advice above for yourself. If you believe you have symptoms, self-isolate
- Follow your placement partner’s advice on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), if you are unsure about the NHS Trust policy/guidelines then seek advice from your mentor or supervisor in the clinical area. FIT Testing - this is a process through which you are tested to ensure that you wear the correct masks when dealing with potentially infected patients. Requirements for FIT testing depend on where you work and the priority areas are: Emergency Departments and Urgent Care, Acute Medicine and Critical Care. If you work in any of these areas and have not either been FIT tested or are unsure about the management of PPE please speak to your line manager in the first instance.
- Facial Hair – most masks will not work effectively if you have a beard. Whilst the use of respirator hoods is the next step, the availability of hoods is likely to be limited over the coming months. It is important therefore that you are properly fitted for your face masks and follow the policy and manufacturers guidance. This does mean that you will need to be clean-shaven for your own protection and that of your patients.
- Wash your hands ++++, follow the Public Health England advice for handwashing both in clinical practice and in your personal life
Given the expected spread of the virus over the next few months and with government indications of growing increase of the numbers of people in the UK they anticipate to be impacted (50-80%) we can assume that;
You may at some point be required to look after patients with the virus
You may catch the virus yourself
You may know someone who has caught the virus
Again we would reiterate at all times, follow the latest official guidance, self-isolate if you show signs of symptoms and follow the local advice of your practice area when in practice. Should you need to be absent from practice then please follow the normal reporting of absence processes. In addition we have also set up a Covid19 e-mail address should you have any further questions or issues firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent Announcements from NHS Chief Executive
You may be aware of the recent announcement from Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS in England about the use of 3rd year students and early registration. I personally was quoted in the nursing press;
The regulators are working with the Department of Health and social Care, to explore how an early registration in these exceptional circumstances may work. The detail for that is not yet available and when it is I will re contact you with that information and share with you how it may work. I and my team will also hold briefings on campus and communicate with you the finer detail of such plans when they are confirmed.
Finally, I am extremely proud of the calibre of all our students in the Institute of Health. We are working in an exceptionally challenging time but I do anticipate things will become even more challenging in the weeks and months ahead. We have a vital role to play in supporting the health and social care system of our country and as students your current and future contribution to patient and client care will be vital – of that we can be sure.
Professor Brian Webster Henderson
Pro Vice Chancellor (Health)/Professor of Nursing
Covid 19 Executive Lead