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STUDENT EDITOR BLOG

'It's time to talk money - and take action'

  • 6 Comments

Money is a funny subject to the English; we all want more of it but we seem too embarrassed to talk about it.

Vicki Abrahams

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

  • 6 Comments

Readers' comments (6)

  • As a nurse with 4 kids and a housebound hubby I'm not sure how I can be expected to provide for the five of us at home and support my oldest daughter who's doing her nursing degree? The financial struggle she has to keep her head above water is desperate and is the biggest threat to her completing her training.

    I have no idea how my earnings can be seen as part of the equation???

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  • this is a great article and topic...it is totally ridiculous my bursary has been cut as well as SF...
    Previous mentors have told me they all used to get £500/pm regardless of any means testing...

    I wonder what happened there?

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  • I'm a third year student children's nurse and I am really struggling financially this year! My bursary has gone down and so has my student finance. Student Finance told me that every degree course is assessed the same in the third year regardless of the course finishing date, which is so frustrating! I won't qualify until the end of September yet I'm assessed the same as someone finishing at the end of May!? It's silly! My credit rating is appalling now due to missed payments etc. The financial stress just makes things a million times more difficult.

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  • While I understand your argument to some extent I believe we should also remember that we have no university fees to pay and are almost guaranteed a well paid job at the end of our studies - this compares very favourably with students doing non funded degrees. The whole uni finance system needs an overhaul.

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  • Is the bursary a loan that students pay back? Tuition fees?

    My son is also an undergraduate and will finish his degree with £36000 of debt from his course fees (4 year degree) plus a further £30000 in maintenance loans. As he is studying in central London he gets support from us towards his astronomical rent. He works two jobs in addition to studying.

    Is it hard for student nurses? Absolutely - but any politician will point to the countless other undergrads who are in the same position as my son - I'm not sure how make an argument to politicians in those circumstances

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  • I completely agree that it's hard for all students. However - your son will I presume get a maintenance loan that covers much of his living costs. He can then get a part time job to support his studies as he (I again presume. So correct me if I'm wrong) wont be working unpredictable placement hours alongside doing exams and essays. If I worked 2 shifts a week on top of my 3 long days, exams and essay prep I'm convinced I'd combust with exhaustion after 9 weeks!

    I've been a student before and have a degree. I've lived that life and it was tough but I could work and not be exhausted and it not impact on my studies. Living on £300 a month is not possible and I'm frugal.

    Now the gov't want to charge tuition fees and remove the bursary I truly think the standard of student nurses will drop unless the student loan is higher than the bursary.


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