References

BBC News. Covid-19: UK daily coronavirus cases top 60,000 for first time. 2021. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-55550906 (accessed 29 March 2021)

Open letter to all nursing and midwifery students in Scotland from Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer. 2021. https://bit.ly/3fojqgf (accessed 29 March 2021)

NHS Digital. New statistics show NHS staff sickness absence for coronavirus-related reasons. 2020. https://tinyurl.com/7k7jsvf2 (accessed 29 March 2021)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. Supernumerary and protected learning time (part of Supporting information on standards for student supervision and assessment). 2019. https://tinyurl.com/gmjcswxl (accessed 29 March 2021)

Nursing and Midwifery Council. NMC statement: enabling student education and supporting the workforce. 2021. https://tinyurl.com/d3vk5sr2 (accessed 29 March 2021)

Open University—Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. Nursing programme: Your student's supernumerary status. 2021. http://tinyurl.com/1gnjib8g (accessed 29 March 2021)

Public Health Scotland. Coronavirus (COVID-19): trends in daily data: Trends in daily COVID-19 data. 2021. https://bit.ly/3m30c0Y (accessed 29 March 2021)

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The importance of supernumerary status during a pandemic

08 April 2021
2 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 7

From the beginning of a course, students' attention is brought to the point that their learning is paramount during any placement (Open University, 2021). Supernumerary status is essential to the placement learning experience for any healthcare student. Similarly, many institutions appreciate the benefits of supernumerary status, even going as far as to offer it to newly qualified practitioners for some time. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) states that:

‘Programme providers must ensure that students are supernumerary during all practice learning. Supernumerary means that the student will not, as part of their programme of preparation, be contracted by any person or body to provide nursing care.’

NMC, 2019

Allowing the student to accrue placement hours means they gain invaluable experience, and can reach the essential number of hours required to register within the UK.

It goes without saying that the healthcare systems across the UK have been bruised and battered for a year, with many seeing no end in sight. Sickness absence rates remained as high as 12% during 2020 in parts of England (NHS Digital, 2020). During the first peak, students from England and Scotland were given the choice to ‘opt-in’ to a paid placement. In doing so, students forfeited their supernumerary status in return for monthly payments.

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