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Is a student nurse really only worth €6.49 (£5.34)?

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The starting salary for graduate nurses in Ireland has recently dropped making it harder to remain in Ireland and work as a nurse

On Thursday 6 March the President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), local graduate nurses and union officers will gather at Dr. Steeven’s Hospital in Dublin to appeal for better pay above the current €22,000 (just over £18,000) starting salary (€6.49 an hour) for graduate nurses.

The starting salary for graduate nurses in Ireland has recently dropped from €26,000 to €22,000 (over £21,000 to around £18,000).

There is growing concern that this will encourage more graduate nurses to take their skills elsewhere and it is without doubt that the declining pay rates and lack of incentives to stay in Ireland are stopping student nurses pursuing their degrees and intended career path.

The quashing of those life-long ambitions to become a key care provider is disheartening but there are options for nurses of all levels to explore. Nurses should stay in their chosen career while ensuring they are being paid an hourly rate that truly reflects the honourable work they do.

Despite the demonstrations, negative press and Ireland’s Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, commenting that student nurses should “emigrate or work in a fast food outlet”, many nurses have decided to stay and work in Ireland. But it’s a sad reality that nurses are turning to retail to earn more money than they can as a nurse in Ireland, plus they find such work less stressful.

“It’s a sad reality that nurses are turning to retail to earn more money than they can as a nurse in Ireland”

The option to make a progressive and permanent move to the UK is becoming more favourable among Irish nurses. This is made easier by healthcare recruiters contracted to supply agency nurses, who are offering support to help with the transition, not just into a different healthcare system, but to living somewhere new.

With the concerning lack of nurses in the UK (as profusely communicated in the media), the NHS and related organisations need to emphasise the benefits to counteract the negative press and attitudes to ensure it can continue to attract the right nurses and maintain patient care and safety.

The NHS is the biggest employer in the UK and Europe and an appealing career destination for many nurses.

For student nurses in Ireland considering moving to the UK, there are many benefits to consider. The UK is fairly close to home for visiting family and friends, and there are plenty of opportunities for career progression, support networks and organisations. Another plus to working in the UK is the post-graduate system and further study opportunities.

Many nurse graduates have decided to go down the agency route purely for better pay and flexible working hours that fit in with their family life, without leaving nursing. It’s important to give nurses choice and put them first. By having the right levels of staffing in place, the next generation of nurses, in the UK and Ireland can be supported in their daily work.


Find out more about the student nurses campaign in Ireland

Read some of the anonymous case studies submitted by working student and intern nurses in Ireland.

Find out more:

Everyone loves Nurses: Am I worth €6.49?

Student nurses: Undervalued. Underpaid


Do you support the campaign?

Are student nurses in Ireland worth €6.49 and will this mass exodus to the UK have a knock-on effect for the Irish healthcare system?

Vote on ID Medical’s facebook page




  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Well it's more than what student nurses in the UK get with the measley monthly bursary, it's ok if you live at home, but for those who pay their own rent, struggle financially.

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