We asked our student editors what they think of the upcoming changes to nurse education funding and the likely implications
“I don’t think the government is really understanding the actual issue”
I’m all for reviewing the funding student nurses receive; my recent blog post even highlighted the pitfalls of the current system. However, I never expected them to remove bursaries altogether.
We need more money and a fairer system and actually if the new system means increased access to maintenance loans for living costs then I think I would be for it. It could allow people to have more money now and pay off the loan in the future as an additional tax.
However, student nurses paying their own tuition fees is a terrible idea!
”If this goes ahead then students will no longer work on goodwill”
If this goes ahead then students will no longer work on goodwill. They will no longer act as a porter/HCA/general assistant because they’re paying for an education and a service. They will, quite rightly, want their money’s worth.
I’ve never come across a ward yet that can actively survive without the help and goodwill of students - we are valuable to any team we work with!
We already receive a third less funding from Student Finance in our 3rd year because the current system does not work for NHS students. If the new system goes ahead they will have to address this and ensure that we receive adequate financial support.
The most concerning issue for me is that I don’t think the government is really understanding the actual issue.
”There aren’t enough mentors or placement areas out there to accommodate the student numbers we have now”
There aren’t enough mentors or placement areas out there to accommodate the student numbers we have now, how will they cope trying to place thousands more students? It just won’t work.
The government need to address the real issue of low nursing staff morale. Nurses, good nurses, are leaving the NHS in their droves because pay is poor and working conditions are damaging their physical and mental health.
I truly want George Osborne or Jeremy Hunt to spend a day with me. I’ll show them what we do, why we do it and why I’m always poor and tired!
Vicki Abrahams - student editor, adult branch
“I feel removal of bursaries is likely to deter prospective student nurses”
In my cohort, every single person has had some life experience before starting the course.
Many, like me, have other degrees. Many have children or others that they care for.
Most of us rely on the bursary.
For me it has made this course – and the uncomfortable transition from supporting myself back to being a student – bearable, for many others it has been crucial to making our training possible.
”I need to make it clear that I feel that way about everyone who is graduating from any self-funded university course”
These changes to funding make the prospect of beginning a career in nursing harbouring an average debt at least twice the annual salary a reality for future students. Something that is frightening and, in my opinion, wholly immoral. However, I need to make it clear that I feel that way about everyone who is graduating from any self-funded university course.
At college, I definitely felt ‘leaned upon’ to go to university and I rushed into a degree that proved to be neither enjoyable nor especially employable.
Gradually the friends with whom I graduated the first time around are settling down. Most, but not all, have found jobs and are living the reality of having almost insurmountable student debt.
”It seems like spending cuts are deliberately aimed at an easy target: the young”
I was livid when tuition fees were raised to £9,000 annually and I am livid again now that course fees are no longer being paid for student nurses. As before, it seems like spending cuts are deliberately aimed at an easy target: the young.
As student nurses, we are substantially less likely to graduate into unemployment than those on other self-funded courses. However, this will be little consolation for our colleagues in 2017 who will be paying tens of thousands of pounds for the privilege of living the sleepless, stressful and sticky life of a student nurse.
”I feel that removing the safety net of the bursaries is likely to deter kind, empathetic, intelligent prospective student nurses”
What I hope this legislation will encourage, as for junior doctors, is student nurses to vocalise this inequality and unite to fight - not just this specific element of the budget - but a broader political bias on eroding the rights and conditions of young people and NHS workers.
Sadly, though, I feel that removing the safety net of the bursaries is likely to deter kind, empathetic, intelligent prospective student nurses, who may feel forced to sacrifice their dream in order to provide a basic salary for their families and loved ones.