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Student Nurse’s Defence of Vital HCAs Goes Viral

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A Facebook post written by a Student Nurse has gone viral after she defended the vital role of healthcare support staff.

Charmaine Briggs, a 23 year old Student Nurse from Somerset, used Facebook to explain her feeling after a stranger on the site belittled healthcare support workers.

The post explains that nobody should be called “just” a HCA and that all staff including; Nurses, Doctors and support staff are reliant on each other.

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This is the post in full;

“Today someone said to me “Why would you want to be a nurse and wipe people’s asses for a living? You may as well just be a HCA”. This made my blood boil. No one is “just a HCA” for a start, I’ve been a health care assistant before being a student nurse and you are your patients only support in some cases. We are the staff with the patients 24/7. We are the ones changing the beds, changing our own clothes for the fourth time due to other people’s bodily fluids, the ones mopping up the nosebleeds and cleaning comodes on a loop. We are up close and personal with our patients – we hold their hands when they fear the unknown, we listen to them when they need someone to talk to, we’ve cried with them. We work around the clock 365days of the year, we sometimes sit with patients who have no family so they simple don’t pass away alone. It is physically and emotionally challenging, and one day you’ll need that help from “just a health care assistant” not just when you’re old, you don’t know what tomorrow holds. Nurses save lives everyday. I don’t know if people think it is only doctors who save your life but it’s really not the case. Everyone comes together as a team and doctors wouldn’t be able to do their job without nurses, as nurses wouldn’t without HCA’s. Some people really do need to stop and think what they say to people, as one day you might need that life saving help from the people you run down.”

Do you agree with Charmaine’s post or do you find that some NHS staff are treated unfairly? Let us know in the comments below. 

Opinion

‘Student nurses graduate with £54k of debt, shouldn’t we pay them a wage instead?’

The Government claims students are “supernumerary” and “not contracted to provide nursing care”.

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student nurses walking

Student nurses are the unseen workforce and vital to patient care.

While I am pleased for the thousands of students who will soon be starting their journey to become a registered nurse, it comes with a stark reminder.

In November 2015, ministers announced the NHS Student Bursary and tuition fee payment would be cut in a plan to increase the number of available student places.

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Suffice to say, this hasn’t worked.

Instead, we have seen a consistent decline in the number of student nurses qualifying. Official figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show an overall decline in applications of 8% since 2015.

There is no debate that nurses need to be degree-level educated – but are student loans the best way to fill an ever-widing gap in our workforce?

The unseen workforce.

Student nurses are the unseen workforce and are sometimes vital to the delivery of safe, compassionate, person-centered care.

Completing over two-thousand hours of hand-on, direct clinical practice over three years – is it fair to ask them to accumulate up to £54,582 (plus 6.3% annual interest) of debt?

With a starting salary of £24,214, this is a debt the majority of nurses will never pay off.

The Government claims that because student nurses are “supernumerary” and “not contracted to provide nursing care” they need to be treated like all other higher education students.

While is it true that the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) mandates that student nurses are considered ‘supernumerary’ – how realistic is this expectation? We hear stories of student nurses, trainee nursing associates and healthcare support workers being used to fill nurse staffing gaps on an almost daily basis.

A self-perpetuating cycle.

With an estimated 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS alone, health and social care services in England are stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Chronic under-investment in services has led to an increased demand on staff and subsequently affected recruitment and retention rates. Universities then fail to recruit enough nurses to meet the current demand and so the cycle continues.

The Royal College of Nursing has called on the Government to invest at least £1b per year into nursing education and come up with a long-term plan after its plan to increase numbers has failed to work.

Matching the proposed apprentice wage while student nurses are on placement would go some way towards alleviating the financial burden the government has placed on student nurses.

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Opinion

A fresh start?

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RCN Congress

I’m excited and I’m nervous. I qualified as a nurse just 15 months ago. I left a career in IT of “quite a few years” – I decided I needed a fresh start.

Now I’m sat on a train heading to my first ever RCN Congress. I’m a voting delegate and will be honoured to carry that responsibility for my branch.

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I’m also excited to finally be meeting people that I’ve solely (or mostly) only ever connected with online.

Finally, I’m looking forward to the various debates and resolutions. Listening to the speakers will further inform my views and I might even share a thought or two myself – fortunately speaking in public does not generally worry me (I’ll be the one with the ukulele).

A brief glance back to this time last year when certain “irregularities” were noticed by some members around the pay deal and communications regarding it.

The train of events that followed uncovered a number of poor practices regarding transparency and accountability and our current council were elected to address these.

I also mentioned I am nervous.

Recently, it has become clear that further “irregularities” have occurred – and questions will be asked.

Tomorrow morning is the Royal College of Nursing’s Annual General Meeting – an opportunity for members to ask questions. An opportunity for the council to demonstrate its commitment to openness, transparency, and accountability. An opportunity for a fresh start.

I genuinely hope the answers to the questions I raise are clear and dispel the concerns many of us have.

And if they don’t? Well, that’s why I’m nervous.

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