HUNDREDS of student nurses from the University of Stirling are joining healthcare workers on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

As part of the emergency response to Covid-19, the UK and Scottish Governments have called upon all student nurses – apart from those in first year – to complete their next placement as a paid member of NHS staff.

And so far, 396 student nurses from the university have volunteered for the initiative.

That number is expected to increase further in the coming days. In addition, nine members of clinically trained university staff are in discussions with the NHS - with a view to returning to provide support.

Nicola Phillips, a mother-of-two, served in the Army before opting to study Adult Nursing at Stirling. She is now in her second year and is driven to support her NHS colleagues during this pandemic.

She said: “It was quite a simple decision for me: People are ill; the NHS needs nurses and doctors; I am training to be a nurse and have skills that could help. I wouldn't be able to just sit at home.”

For the duration of her next placement, Ms Phillips will join NHS Forth Valley and will work alongside those nurses who have guided her through her previous placements.

She added: "I do feel some anxiety about my decision to help, especially as I have a family, but I don't really think about fear. I am just desperate to go out there and help – that overrides my anxiety.”

Professor Jayne Donaldson, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “Coronavirus poses a monumental challenge to our healthcare systems here in the UK and across the world – as hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies, and care homes face unprecedented demands and pressures.

“I am very proud that our dedicated and talented army of student nurses, alongside staff from the university, have stepped forward to support the national effort.

“Our students can take confidence from the training and skills that they’ve learned and honed during their time at Stirling – and I know that they will make a real difference to the coronavirus response and play an important role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of patients.

“I know our entire University community will join me in thanking our students and staff for their phenomenal response – and wish them all the best as they join the frontline in the coming weeks.”