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Response to BBC query regarding 2nd year student nurses

Please find below our full response to the BBC regarding the position of 2nd year student nurses and midwives during the current public health emergency.

Stephen Griffiths, HEIW Director of Nursing, said:

We are very grateful to the 2,000+ students who have chosen to opt-in and have been overwhelmed by their enthusiasm to join colleagues during this emergency.

Their safety and wellbeing is extremely important to all of us. In their paid role, they will continue to work as students on a learning placement basis, working within their student competency,  supervised by a qualified nurse and supported by their university. They will not be taking on the role of a qualified nurse or tasks above their level of competence.

On their application students have said where they would prefer to work and everything possible is being done to meet these requests. We are aware there are some Welsh residents who are studying nursing in English Universities who would like to opt-in in Wales, closer to home, rather than in England. We are doing all we can to help these students return to Wales for their opt-in placement. 

We fully appreciate and understand due to personal situations some students are unable to opt-in. These students are valuable members of the healthcare community and we are keen for them to continue their learning during this unprecedented time. There are a number of learning options open to them and so it’s really important they get in touch with their university to discuss the options and choose the right one for them.

With the learning options available it is rare for a student to suspend their studies and we are always sad to see this happen. When it does universities continue to support students, discuss options outside of learning, and help them back into education as soon as possible should they wish to return.


Following the publication of the UK joint statement regarding nursing and midwifery students during the COVID19 response, in Wales, WG and HEIW developed guidance for students explaining what it means for them and options available so they could make an informed choice.