Looking into the situation surrounding the forced suspension of some nursing students at Hull University
By Maddie Callaghan
Some nursing students have been denied the opportunity to continue with their studies on campus in the current academic year whilst preparing a second attempt at an assignment. Instead, they have been suspended from their course whilst they complete their assignment.
Student Rebecca Daly wished to appeal for a second attempt due to NMC (Nursing Midwifery Council) informing her that there is scope available for disability needs which can be put into place and allow the student a second attempt. However, Rebecca had said “this was refused by the university due to it putting further pressure onto the student” and that no evidence was provided by the university to back this statement.
“My main issue is that I’m being forced off my course for a year and have to wait that long for my right of the second attempt when they can implement structures for me to do this, but they refuse my requests.”
Speaking to Dr David Barrett the academic manager, he has said according to NMC standards “reasonable adjustments can be made for students with disabilities, and we make adjustments throughout the programme to support students with disabilities. These include adjustments to placements where appropriate, provision of study support and alternative exam arrangements for students with specific learning differences, mitigating circumstances and – in some cases – the ability to carry over shortfalls in practice hours from one year to the next.” However, the 12-week rule put into place cannot be overlooked.
“Extending or overlooking the 12-week rule would serve against our own responsibility to only allow to progress those students who are meeting the clinical, professional and academic requirements of the programme.”
The 12-week rule which has been in place for the last 8 years means they have 12 weeks to complete outstanding work from the previous year. If it is not completed within the timeframe it is impossible to continue to the next year. Extending or overlooking the 12-week rule would serve against our own responsibility to only allow to progress those students who are meeting the clinical, professional and academic requirements of the programme. As well as this, the extension past the 12 week deadline would put a lot of pressure onto students to complete work in such a short space of time.
“It is not a sanction or punishment”
The period of forced suspension will often be viewed in a negative light. It is not a sanction or punishment. It is put into place to give students the opportunity to start on a clean slate and begin again when there is less pressure on them.
A second-year nursing student who wishes to remain anonymous is also affected by a University ruling in October. This nursing student received a “devastating” phone call during placement, in which they usually work 37.5 hours a week but has worked up to 46 hours of unpaid work, students are allowed to work up to 48 hours a week under the EU directive, some students take this opportunity to make up hours for previous placement absence. Alternatively, students are required to work approximately 40% of their time in placement with mentors, therefore a 46 hour week may have facilitated the student and mentor to achieve this.They were told they had to leave the course immediately which they described as “humiliating”.
This particular student is no longer able to continue their studies after failing a piece of academic work twice.