Around 12,000 students will assist in the safe delivery of health and social care in Scotland as services continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 3,000 nursing and midwifery students are heading out on placements this month. A further 7,000 students will be placed across the service in February, complemented by around 1,500 Allied Health Professional students and more than 500 paramedic students who will also be involved in the delivery of care via supervised practice.
The practical component of student learning remains centred on supervised involvement in the frontline delivery of patient care as part of accruing the hours necessary for registration as a healthcare professional.
Student nurses and midwives entering SNP Government funded degree programmes will increase by 8.7% in 2022/23, to a total recommended intake of 4,837 students. This will be the 10th successive increase in recommended student numbers, with the intake doubling over the last decade.
Mental health nursing will increase to a recommended intake of 888 places, up 20% from the previous year, and 146.7% over the course of the last 10 student intakes.
A further 335 students will begin a Paramedic Science degree, bringing the total number of paramedic students to 996, the third successive increase in recommended intake targets since the programme began in 2020.
Kenneth Gibson MSP 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 continue to move through the pandemic, 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. I know we are all grateful for their hard work during this difficult time.”
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.”