Student nurses should be paid 'living wage' while on placement

A call for student nurses to be paid a 'living wage' is gaining significant traction.

A petition calling for student nurses to be paid the living wage while on placement is gaining significant backing with nearly 17,000 signatures in less than 72 hours.

The petition highlights the struggles student nurses face on a daily basis, with the stress of money being a big issue.

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In November 2015, the Government announced the removal of the NHS bursary and a towards a traditional student loan.

Unlike more typical degrees, the Nursing and Midwifery Council requires that student nurses and midwives must complete 2300 hours of practice within a clinical setting - this is usually done by working alongside registered nurses in hospitals, GP surgeries, and nursing homes.

'This is a big strain on my mental health, the stress, the financial worry'.

John Worth, a student nurse, says in the petition; "I am a student nurse. Now I love what I do, I love my fellow student nurses, I love the registered nurses I have met out on placement.

"However, it is a real struggle, being a student nurse having to work 37.5 hours a week on placement for nothing.

"I understand we need to make up our 2300 clinical hours as stated by the NMC to join the register but we are more like free labour for the NHS.

"Many of us are working part-time, some even full-time hours, as well as 37.5 placement just to get some money coming in.

"I have been awarded the full amount of student finance, I’m doing my placement hours but also working on the side, most of the time doing 6 day weeks sometimes 7 day weeks just to get by.

"A lot has been said about mental health awareness in recent months, especially for university students, the number of suicides in universities is rising, now for me, this is a big strain on my mental health, the stress, the financial worry, the lack of rest."

Students are 'not contracted to provide nursing care'.

A response from the Government on a similar petition said; "The NMC state that Student nurses undertaking practice learning are supernumerary. Students may perform limited clinical duties as part of training but they are not contracted to provide nursing care.

"Health Education England is currently piloting the Nursing Associate role with 35 pilot sites training 2,000 Nursing Associates. Unlike student Nurses, trainee Nursing Associates are employed by health and care providers and they are paid a salary for the work they undertake. The Secretary of State for Health announced plans on 3 October 2017 to train future cohorts of Nursing Associates through the apprentice route. All apprentices, regardless of occupation are paid during their apprenticeship, including for training that is part of the apprenticeship."

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