Money is a funny subject to the English; we all want more of it but we seem too embarrassed to talk about it.
I’m going to be honest and declare the truth: I have no money.
I always feel ashamed to talk about the situation but I feel it’s time we all stood up and said what it true.
As a community, we student nurses are being let down and are letting ourselves down. There’s an occasional bubble of debate and then it dies down. We need keep the discussion alive; we’re all making ourselves poor to train to look after others.
“We’re all making ourselves poor to train to look after others.”
My situation isn’t unique of course. I’m 25 years old and live with my lovely fiancée who is doing his best to support us both financially.
However, I’m assessed against my parents’ income which I find a tad ridiculous. There’s plenty of parents of student nurses out there and I can guess the majority of them don’t fancy paying for their kids into their mid 20s.
The income of my parents is obviously more than that of my partner so I get less money than I think we should get.
“I once divided my bursary into the amount of hours I do on placement during a year. It works out at less than 15p an hour.”
The money I receive actually doesn’t even cover my half of the rent (and we live in a complete dive) so I survive off my overdraft whilst being strict with budgeting.
I once divided my bursary into the amount of hours I do on placement during a year. It works out at less than 15p an hour! Do not try this at home. It is seriously depressing.
Moaning aside, what should we do about this?
“I see my colleagues working full-time hours on placement and then additional shifts alongside it and I wonder how can this be safe?”
I honestly don’t know.
I see my colleagues working full-time hours on placement and then additional shifts alongside it and I wonder how can this be safe? We’re going to make ourselves ill. We work full-time hours, revise for our exams, write essays and then do extra shifts so we can pay for petrol or put food on the table.
Nobody is taking this bull by the horns and shouting about it. Those junior doctors are making Jeremy Hunt a bit miserable at the moment. Why can’t we do the same? I’ve found I’ve become a lot more political than I was pre-nursing; I’m not afraid to debate and share my opinions.
“Those junior doctors are making Jeremy Hunt a bit miserable at the moment. Why can’t we do the same?”
I wrote to my local MP when I found out that the student loan we receive is cut in third-year because we apparently don’t work for the full year. What a load of rubbish! My MP’s response was diabolical. He didn’t care and the standard response I received really made me angry. He seemingly wants the people training to look after him and his family to be burnt out before they even qualify!
I really don’t have the answers but I want the debate to continue and to be loud and proud about the sacrifices we are making.
The problem is that we’re only students for three years. We suffer and then we move on and forget. We need to rally the qualified staff and the unions to stand up on our behalf.
We’ll soon be qualified nurses and we need to remember what is was like to work all those hours and still struggle to put food on the table.
Vicki Abrahams is Student Nursing Times’ adult branch student editor