The pandemic caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus disease — COVID-19 — has impacted all of society. Globally, we see daily reports of the increasing demand on healthcare resources, movement of staff across disciplines to support and care for those patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and community staff having to reduce visits or rely on virtual consultations. This is all underpinned by a rising sickness rate among health professionals. Nightingale hospitals have been built, yet there is a shortage of health professionals to staff these units. Despite these challenges’, health professionals are managing the day-today needs of healthcare and the support of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Student nurses and other professionals allied to medicine have been able to assist in managing the increased workload, yet some clinical areas have been unable to maintain placements and clinical support for these students. Little has been discussed surrounding the effect the pandemic has had on undergraduate and postgraduate education. Universities have been required to continue to support students with their education and to ‘flip’ modules ensuring students are able to continue with their learning without attending clinical practice. Students are, however, missing out on their clinical placements and when they are on placement, they are needing to work in an environment that is far from normal.
This debate aims to explore how universities have met the changing needs of healthcare students and developed innovative ways of ensuring teaching meets learning outcomes.