Final year nursing students from the University of Essex have volunteered to work on the NHS frontline across the county during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The current health crisis means frontline clinical staff are needed on an unprecedented scale and the healthcare workforce is not large enough to deal with the anticipated number of patients requiring care, particularly those needing the most acute and critical care.

The university’s final year nursing students were asked to become paid students in an extended clinical placement so they could both complete the skills assessments needed to finish their degree and, at the same time, contribute to delivering frontline care.

The 50 students who volunteered have undertaken inductions at Colchester Hospital and at Mid and South Essex University Hospitals in Southend, Basildon and Chelmsford.

Most will start their placements on wards this week and many of the students will be based in critical care and Covid-19 wards.

The students involved in this first wave will be followed by the university’s mental health students, postgraduate nursing students and allied health professions over the coming weeks.

One of the adult nursing students who volunteered was Rosina Chapman who has also been shortlisted for the Student Nursing Times Awards 2020.

“I knew that I wanted to volunteer from the beginning,” said Rosina. “I came into nursing for the same reason as many – I want to help people. I know that I can use the skills I have developed over the past three years to help my colleagues in practise, and, in turn, help people who have become unwell with the virus.”