This status recognises the enormous contribution the students have made to the NHS throughout the pandemic.
Date: 26 November 2020
A number of London Met Dietetics and Nutrition students, who have been or are about to undertake placements in hospitals, have been confirmed with key worker status. This comes in recognition of the significant work they have been doing to support the NHS throughout the pandemic.
In April this year, a cohort of London Met’s Dietetics and Nutrition students temporarily joined the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) register, as part of the national effort to fight COVID-19.
Normally students who have not yet been awarded their degree would not be able to do this and as such, if they chose to undertake a clinical support role, their ability to take on work independently would be limited. By joining the temporary register, students could work more autonomously to support teams in the NHS while they complete their final university modules.
Dietitians are crucial in the fight against COVID-19 as any patient who requires ventilation in ICU will not be able to eat and will instead require an individualised tube feeding plan completed by a dietitian. In addition to this, all patients who experience infection or breathing difficulties will burn more energy than normal however many will also experience reduced appetite and other problems with eating. Dietitians help people to overcome the challenges they might have to ensure they receive adequate nutrition to aid recovery.
A spokesperson for Health Education England said, “Thank you to all students, academics and clinical staff supporting students in placement during the pandemic. Our priorities during this challenging time are the education of student allied health professionals, supporting their learning and maintaining the workforce supply line.”
Sarah Illingworth, Head of Health Sciences, commended the students for their impressive balancing of studying while working in an unprecedented and unknown situation, telling them, “you have all been so impressive in your approach, by continuing with your studies and engagement with placement during these challenging times.
“As a result of this, you have the potential to complete your degree on time and join the NHS workforce as competent dietetic practitioners. Well done.”