Carolan C, Davies C, Crookes P, McGhee P, Roxburgh M. COVID-19: disruptive impacts and transformative opportunities in undergraduate nurse education. Nurse Educ Pract. 2020; 46

Hayter M, Jackson D. Pre-registration undergraduate nurses and the COVID-19 pandemic: students or workers?. J Clin Nurs. 2020;

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Students during the pandemic: what is the experience of those who opted out?

23 July 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 14

The year 2020 was set to be a great one for nurses, with many celebrations. It was named the Year of the Nurse and Midwife (International Council of Nurses, 2019) and it is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. However, an announcement we did not expect was from the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared coronavirus a global pandemic in March. The WHO has also published a report highlighting the long-standing shortage of nurses globally, including in the UK (WHO, 2020).

Due to the pandemic and the assumption that an already stretched NHS might be overwhelmed, the Government had to consider alternatives, which included asking recently retired health professionals, including nurses, to rejoin the emergency register the regulator had created and also to co-opt nursing students to assist the workforce. Second- and third-year student nurses from all four UK countries were given a choice of two options (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2020a; 2020b):

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