Nursing students want fewer but longer clinical placements, according to the union Unison.
Students are also concerned about the suitability of some of their clinical placements which, in one example, included working in a shop, according to a report seen by Nursing Times.
Students must currently complete 2,300 hours of clinical practice and placements must last a minimum of four weeks. However, it is up the individual university to decide how many placements each student must complete.
In its formal submission to the Nursing and Midwifery consultation on revised standards for pre registration nursing courses, Unison said students believed they were being moved through too many placements too quickly.
The submission, based on the views of the union’s 470 branches, states: “Many [students] indicated that they only just became settled and find their ‘feet’ when it was time to move on.
“They indicated that a longer allocation would enable them to develop further in their practise and spend more time with their mentors.”
But the union also questions the appropriateness of some current placements. While it recognises the need for students to learn a whole range of skills and cope with a variety of settings, the union says some of the tasks delegated to students appear irrelevant.
It its submission Unison says: “Two students specifically were allocated to work in a charity shop. It was difficult to see how this skill and expose would relate to clinical practise.”
Last week Nursing Times revealed that student nurses were often being signed off or passed for clinical placements, despite concerns from their mentors about competence or attitude.
In response to the findings, many students expressed concerns on nursingtimes.net at the lack of time they were able to spend with mentors, as well as the quality of some mentoring.
One student who had just completed their first placement said: “I found it extremely challenging to get my paperwork signed off, without sounding like I was continuously nagging for their time.”
A third year student said: “Some mentors are rubbish, using us as dog’s bodies and we end up performing tasks the healthcare assistants are paid to do.
They added: “At other times you’ll get a fab mentor who really loves sharing their knowledge and skills. Nurses should not be forced to mentor, and this is where the problem comes.”