Health Minister Robin Swann has thanked the nursing and midwifery students for their response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Given the significant pressures on the system and the need to fully support existing services, second and final year nursing and midwifery students were given the opportunity to undertake a paid role.
Minister Swann said: “Since April, almost 1400 nursing and midwifery students at Northern Ireland universities have been on paid placement and contributing to the workforce across the HSC. This has been an excellent response during one of the most challenging periods in modern times and I thank each and every student for their valuable contribution.”
These placements have been remunerated at Band 3 Agenda for Change (AfC) for year two and early year three students and Band 4 AfC for students in the final six months of their programme. Approximately 660 students in the final six months of their programme and opted into the paid arrangement. In normal circumstances, students in their final year are invited to apply for permanent positions in HSC. This would be remunerated at AfC Band 3 during the short transition period between completion of their degree and joining the NMC Register.
The Minister continued: “As final year students are already a valuable part of the workforce I am announcing today that they will continue to be remunerated at band 4 as part of the extraordinary Covid-19 arrangements. This will continue until they join the NMC register. It is my anticipation that all those qualifying will be offered a permanent registered nurse or midwife position at band 5 once they join the register.”
Chief Nursing Officer, Charlotte McArdle said: “I congratulate all those nursing and midwifery students who have played an essential role in the fight against Covid-19 and helping to deliver care in very difficult circumstances. I have no doubt these have been challenging times for everyone, including the first year students who have had their courses paused and I look forward to welcoming the new graduates to their new professions as they transition over to permanent posts in the coming months.
Concluding, the Minister said: “I commend all nursing and midwifery students for their contribution and support to the HSC workforce during the Covid-19 outbreak and wish them well for their future careers in the health service.”