The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many mental health nursing community teams are working remotely, which has affected the way services are delivered. Many nursing students are also working remotely, both with their online studies and their clinical placements. I took up the role of mental health nursing lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire in June 2020 and have been supporting students working remotely. The support is provided at class level with opportunities to reflect on clinical experiences. Gathering informal feedback has been one way to assess how students are faring with all the changes. The comments below reflect two students' experiences:
‘The placement could be improved through better organisation and planning for students; however, staff are much more supportive of students now than a few months ago.’
‘There is less face-to-face interaction due to current pandemic; however, service provision goes on, ensuring continuity of care amidst all the uncertainties.’
One of the key issues raised is the difficulty that students are encountering in filling out their practice assessment documentation when working remotely. Many nursing proficiencies are physical skills, such as taking vital signs or venepuncture, and these are difficult to recreate in an online environment. This may be creating a gap in learning for students on remote placements.
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