Student nurses working on the frontline still not being paid

ireland
Student Nurses Working On The Frontline Still Not Being Paid
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Digital Desk Staff

Student nurses who are on the front line of the fight against Covid-19 are still not being paid, but they are hopeful the minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will listen to their pleas.

The Department of Health is engaging with trade unions on revising the existing student nurse and midwife allowances for clinical placements, and they say the process should be completed "in the coming days."

As the Irish Examiner reports, officials are also looking at re-opening the student nurse temporary HCA initiative from last March, which has yet to be reinstated.

Student nurses and midwives in years one to three of their studies undertake clinical practice placements. Most are unpaid but some receive a weekly allowance of €50.79.

Those in final year take on an internship, which is paid, but at a lower rate than health care assistants and fully qualified nurses.

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The first to third year placements were suspended during the first wave of the pandemic, and the HSE offered these students jobs as health care assistants (HCAs).

Final year nurses on internships were also paid the HCA rate.

However, this year's first to third year students are expected to complete their placements unpaid.

Usually, these students would work part time as HCAs at the weekends in order to make ends meet. Now, due to Covid-19, this is being discouraged.

Meadhbh Flynn, a final year student nurse from Dublin, said the HCA scheme should be reinstated.

"People don't realise we pay full fees (€3000 per year) as well as working for free," she said.

She added that other nurses are paying for accommodation on top of this.

"I am in final year so I don't have any unpaid placement this year. We go on an internship, we essentially have the same workload as a nurse, obviously we don't have all the skills there yet, we won't be doing stuff with IVs."

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