As many of you will be aware, the government have called on Student Nurses to opt in to help during the current crisis. Just under two weeks ago my university gave me three options to choose from. I have shared my decision on Instagram, however, I am aware that a lot of my readers may not have seen this and I wanted to elaborate further here! At the end of this month my final 12 week management placement begins and the options we were given were in relation to this final placement.
My first option was to voluntarily opt-in to a final paid placement. My understanding of this is that we would not be supernumerary but would still have learning time that is protected whilst on placement, we can opt-out at any time and we would likely be deployed to areas that are experiencing the greatest impact of Covid-19.
I, with the help of my family, decided against this option. If I was living alone then I would have seriously considered it. However, one member of my household is classed as high-risk and I don’t want to expose them at any greater level then I have to. I don’t have alternative accommodation so I would still be living at home.
My second option was to continue with my current programme as planned (unpaid placement like usual). I understand that I would not be supernumerary but would still have protected learning time, and my original placement allocation would go ahead as planned as long as they are still accepting students. If they close/are unable to take students, I would have priority of another placement area.
I have chosen this option. Wherever I go I will be at greater risk of exposure than if I was at home but my final placement is in a community hospital and I will be less exposed there than if I was working on the frontline. My family and I have a plan of how I will enter our home following my shifts to minimise the risk.
My last option was to defer my placement. With this option placements would begin again once the emergency situation has ended.
I decided against this option as I, as all of us are, am unsure as to how long this emergency period will last. I have my job starting in September so I would love to qualify on time as originally planned.
The most important thing I want to say here is that this is my choice. It may not be what you would do/have done or you may have made the same choice. I believe it is the right choice for me and that is the key. With everyone being asked and sharing their decisions it is important that we all respect each others choices. Everyone is choosing the best option for them at this current time. We can’t see into the future. We don’t know what is going to happen in a few weeks from now so we have to decide based on the information we have now. There is no right or wrong decision.
Whatever we choose we are still going out as Student Nurses and helping during this time. People opting in to the paid placement are potentially risking their lives on the frontline. People sticking to their current programme are going to be there for the other patients that are still needing care and must not be forgotten. People deferring will still go out into a clinical area to be an extra pair of hands once this settles down.
We have come so far together, let’s continue to work together. We mustn’t make others feel guilty for whatever they decide to do, this is tough enough as it is. Respect each other, we all have an important role during this crisis.