A passionate student nurse who worked a 65-hour week just to make ends meet will tonight feature in a hard-hitting documentary.
John Worth, an undergraduate at the University of the West of England in Bristol, will speak to BBC Inside Out West, which is focusing on the impact of the government’s decision in 2016 to axe bursaries for student nurses in England.
“Problems with money are hitting most student nurses”
The camera followed Mr Worth as he attempted to juggle university lectures, strenuous work placements and a full-time job.
At the time of filming, Mr Worth claimed he was clocking up a 65-hour week – four days of unpaid work at Southmead Hospital as part of his degree, and three days as a home carer to pay his bills.
“All this work doesn’t leave me much time for my studies and I don’t think that’s fair,” said Mr Worth.
He started a petition calling for student nurses to be paid during their work placements.
- Over 250,000 people sign petition calling for student minimum wage
- Fresh calls for student living wage amid LD nurse shortage
“The government insists we are acting under close supervision and not paid to staff hospitals, but I don’t agree,” said Mr Worth.
He explained that cuts to bursaries had left student nurses out of pocket.
“Problems with money are hitting most student nurses,” said Mr Worth, adding that if he received the bursary he would have been £13,000 a year better off.
The documentary revealed how one student nurse had resorted to eating biscuits for breakfast because her “cupboards are empty”.
Another student told how she was worried about putting the heating on in her home due to financial constraints.
Mr Worth said there had been a “massive drop” in the number of people enrolled on the nursing course at the university where he studies, from 447 in 2017 to 323 in 2018.
He also touched on the challenges of car parking for hospital nurse. During his placement he had to leave his car at a friend’s house who lived near Southmead because he could not afford to park on site.
BBC Inside Out West will be aired on BBC One West at 7.30pm tonight and will be available on iPlayer afterwards.