GLASGOW Caledonian University nursing students heading to the NHS frontline during the coronavirus crisis are “well prepared” for the challenge – despite not yet graduating.

More than 500 students from the city-centre uni will be starting paid placements with the NHS to help the fight against the deadly COVID-19.

Earlier this week, final year students were asked to join the workforce early in various positions during the pandemic.

The recruitment drive is being co-ordinated by the NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday that around 5000 students or former health care workers had expressed an interest – with many being offered fixed term employment.

And we can today reveal 10% of that has come from final year GCU students.

Professor Jacqueline McCallum, Head of GCU’s Department of Nursing and Community Health, said: “We are immensely proud of more than 500 of our third-year students who will be starting paid placements with the NHS at this critical time.

“As the University for the Common Good, we want to do everything we can to support the country’s response to the crisis.

“The students are well prepared, having developed their skills and knowledge by assessing and caring for a wide range of patients, including those whose conditions have been deteriorating.

“The clinical skills that the students have been developing are highly relevant to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

During their studies, students used the uni’s state-of-the-art simulation centre, which course bosses believe helped them develop the skills needed for the frontline.

Commenting on the readiness of their students, Natalie Elliott from the GCU Nursing Society added: “GCU has actively sought out students’ concerns and have tried to answer them as best they can - but only with facts and not with speculation.

“It has been clear that staff have been working incredibly hard to ensure that students are not disadvantaged at this time, but also ensuring that our education is in no way impacted, allowing us to flourish as future nurses of the NHS.”