“It was scary, it was awful.” Student nurse talks about doing her work placement during the Coronavirus pandemic

Four nurses stood next to eachother
Group of nurses in a line. Credit - Esther Max (Flickr)

Raeesa Patel, 20, is among many student nurses who had to do their hospital placements during Covid 19.

The student-nurse from Bolton, had to continue her placement when the levels of infection were high in the UK.

Raeesa said: “Nothing like this has happened in my lifetime. I had to put my life at risk, even if we were classed as healthcare assistants. We are still students, we are still going to university, we are still going there to learn.

“So as students, working through a pandemic, is absolutely terrifying.”

Student nurses throughout the country had to choose whether they continued to work during the pandemic and complete their placement hours or take the placement hours into their third year.

A band three healthcare assistant contract created by the Health Education England board was designed so students would get paid and complete their university placement hours.

This gave students the option then to choose if they wanted to join a contract or not.

Raeesa was among those who had to choose and she said she was lucky that her “local hospital were taking students on to help out.”

She said: “We had to opt in or opt out and this was an issue for me because I wanted to keep my family and myself safe.

“I didn’t want to put my family and friends at risk, but at the same time if I didn’t opt-in then I’d have all this extra work in third year.”

Many student nurses across the North West also had to worry about this situation and felt like they had no positive option to choose from. 

Deane Marquez, a student nurse from Manchester, said: “If I hadn’t opted in then I would have had to do 240 hours of placement on top of my third year placement hours. 

“That would lead to more stress for myself and others. I don’t know how some are going to do it.”

Although student nurses have suffered during the last few months, many see the virus as a learning experience they will never forget.

Raeesa said: “Covid was horrendous for student nurses but in a way, I’ve had an experience that I wouldn’t have had if the pandemic didn’t arise. It was scary, it was awful, but it is something I can tell my children in the years to come.”