Medical students graduate early to join fight against COVID-19

Thursday, 02 April 2020

Final-year medical students are being graduated early at The University of Nottingham to offer them the opportunity to support the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The 260 students who have passed their final examinations and satisfactorily completed all their clinical skills and fitness to practice assessments will be graduated on 8 April, three months ahead of normal graduation, and will be eligible to gain provisional registration to practice with the General Medical Council. 

As part of the ‘opt in’ national initiative being led by Health Education England, they could then volunteer to join the UK Foundation Programme early as a Foundation Interim Year 1, after which they will be qualified to carry out a range of duties as part of a clinical team such as note taking, ordering investigations and completing discharge paperwork under the supervision of more senior doctors.

They would be allowed to work in this role until starting their formal Foundation Year 1 training in August. 

In the light of the restrictions around the coronavirus outbreak, the University of Nottingham has postponed all UK graduation ceremonies but has pledged that students will not miss out and that these will still go ahead at a later date.


John Atherton
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and we are incredibly proud that our talented graduates are able to step up to support the NHS in its hour of need, responding to the unprecedented pressures created by this coronavirus pandemic.
Professor John Atherton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

He added: "Of course, we realise that their sense of pride in volunteering may also be accompanied by the disappointment of missing out on their normal graduation ceremonies in July. We absolutely want to reassure our students that this is simply a postponement and that we will come together at a future date to celebrate all their hard work and recognise their enormous achievements.”

Graduates who volunteer to take up the early placement on the UK Foundation Programme will be offered full induction, training and supervision and appropriate protective equipment.

Other duties they will be eligible to perform will be basic procedures including taking blood samples, inserting an intravenous cannula to allow administering of fluids and, where they have passed their Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA), supervised prescribing.

Nottingham medical students who are resitting finals or awaiting the result of clinical and fitness to practice assessments will also have the chance to volunteer after the successful completion of these in mid-May. 

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Phone: 0115 846 8092

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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