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Mature students will suffer without bursary

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Your opinions on the removal of the student nurse bursary, recruiting nursing staff from overseas and what we mean by “complex needs”

I am studying dual adult and mental health nursing at Oxford Brooke’s. But, looking forward, I believe many mature students will simply not be able to afford to enter nursing if the bursary is removed. Nor younger students for that matter.

I gave up my military career and turned down the option of eight extra years at 40k to take up nursing, and one of the things that made it accessible was the bursary. I couldn’t have done without it, even if it’s not an astonishing amount. I spend more in fuel getting to Oxford than I get from the bursary and can’t claim for that. The experience that mature students bring to burnish from life is invaluable and I can’t see how most will manage. Having discussed bursaries with colleagues on my course, almost all of the more mature students with families said they couldn’t take on the course without financial help and fees paid.

James Smith, sent via email


NHS should consider recruiting in the UK

What nursing shortage? I am a qualified nurse with 15 years post-registration experience, 10 of which I spent in the NHS. After moving out of London for family reasons, I have been unable to secure a position in the NHS in Scotland, and have been surviving on scraps of agency work in care homes for the past five years.

I also know of many other well-qualified nurses who have been unable to obtain work in the NHS.

Rather than recruiting from abroad, perhaps the NHS should consider recruiting from within the UK. Surely, recruiting UK nurses, running-return-to-practice courses, and offering flexible working hours (not 37.5 hours a week by inflexible internal rotation) is a far cheaper option than recruiting from overseas.

Anonymous, via

‘Complex needs’ tells us little as a term

‘Complex needs’ is a term that is used so often, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the person or his or her needs (“We use the term ‘complex needs’ to make us comfortable”). Why are they complex? Sometimes it is a combination of little or no communication and difficult behaviours and a medical issue, but just using the term ‘complex needs’ tells us none of this. It only manages to bring up the most difficult of imagined scenarios.

Anonymous, via

Caps on agency costs are the ‘last straw’

I am a hard-working agency nurse with no sick pay, no holiday pay, no pension contributions and no job security.

We provide a valuable service to the NHS, often picking up shifts at the last minute that help to increase patient safety.

Reading articles about how much money senior management are making and charging for expenses, it astounds me that we are not clamping down on these people instead of continuously hitting frontline staff (“New agency staff charge caps apply to NHS from today”).

This is the last straw for me in this industry. I left my previous full-time employment as a nurse due to a work injury that left me unable to work shifts in the pattern often demanded by management. But I have never felt as uncared for in a profession and will look for a way out over the next few months. I’m sure I’m not alone with these feelings.

Anonymous, via

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