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'The switch from bursaries to loans is putting me off nursing'


Can you advise this student nurse?


“I stumbled across Nursing Times when researching the possibility of going into nursing as a “mature” student and would love to use this section to get the opinions of nurses and current students – particularly after the spending review.

“I’m 33 currently working as a PA and have a two year old son. I’ve recently started to consider that now might be a good time to finally go into nursing but as soon as I started reading about it the announcement came that bursaries are going to be ending.

“I realise that I’ll be able to get a loan instead so it will still be possible. However, longer term I’m going to be left with more debt than current student nurses - but is it any more than students on other degrees? I do really want to be a nurse but I’m suddenly terrified.

“I know most of the readers of this will either be training or have qualified so I just want to get your opinion on whether you think it’s still worth me doing? I’m hoping you’ll all say ’yes’ but I just want to know the reality of nurse training and if it is still financially viable.”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

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Readers' comments (5)

  • Like you rightly said paying a loan for nursing is not any different from any other degree. I think at this point it is important to first of all see if this is a career that you want to embark upon. Yes the thought of being in debt is discouraging but we are in a time where things are changing and unfortunately we have to deal with what comes and not allow it to cloud our ambitions.

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  • I understand your concerns but I assure you it is not as bad as it sounds. Yes you will owe more money than current students but it is a small amount that comes automatically out of your wages. Most of us on the nursing course are receiving the max we can for student finance (which is capped for nursing students at the moment because of the bursary) as well as the bursary. In all honestly, I highly doubt we won't get the same amount from student finance as we currently do from bursary and student finance combined. The fact that you have dependents mean they may give you more than some people cos you have more expenditure. I have done a degree before my nursing and am a mature student at the moment and trust me the debt you get when studying you don't even notice. You forget about it until you get your yearly statement saying the interest that has occurred over the year is more than what you've paid off but it really doesn't matter. You do not notice it, you do not get chased for payments or bailiffs coming to your door. I think the bursary makes little difference really, yes you have to pay the loan back but does it really matter when tiny amounts (say £1 a month- that's what I paid off when working between degrees) comes out of your wages.
    I think you need to stop worrying about the fact that bursaries may be scrapped (I do not think its 100% decided yet). If you really want to be a nurse then go for it! You're no better off during the 3 years (or after really) if you get a loan or a bursary. Don't let the lack of a bursary put you off.

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  • Don't let it put you off.It does not matter if you owe £3000 or £30000 at the end of your course you will still pay the same amount per month depending on your earnings.WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT IS DO YOU WANT TO BE A NURSE? OR DO YOU WANT TO BE A PA FOR THE NEXT 35 YRS.

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  • Just do it, simply. It is the best decision I have ever made, and if I had to do it without a bursary I still would. The bursary is next to no help to me anyway. Honestly - yes, you will struggle financially. We all do, it's just the way it is sadly. We are expected to work full time hours for no wage with little financial assistance. But if it's truly your vocation you don't let it stop you. You will always have to find a way to fit part time work around your placement hours. University and placements are very sympathetic to the fact we have to work for free, many with families or young children. Don't be afraid.

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  • I personally wouldn't have started my nurse training without the bursary system. I am also a mature student and wouldn't want to start a new career in my 40's in excess of £50k in debt.
    I understand that you only pay back a certain amount, i.e. 9% of your earnings above £21k.
    I guess it's a matter of working out if it's the career for you. It's not easy juggling family commitments, uni, exams or essays with placement and even more difficult if you have to work extra shifts on the side to earn.
    Everyone has different circumstances so it's not a one size fits all answer!

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