25 November 2015

Student Nurses Say No to Bursary Cuts

Student nurses taking part in a recent #NurChat twitter chat universally voiced their opposition to losing their bursary allowance, with many stating they would not be able to complete their course without it.

50% of a nursing course is spent in a placement setting gaining practical experience and during that time student nurses are expected to experience all shift patterns including nights and weekends. This often involves travelling to and from placement locations at unsociable times, the cost of which is met by the student themselves. Placements are often full time leaving little opportunity for part time work to top up earnings with extra income.

The loss of the bursary could be devastating to existing student nurses but also discourage those who might otherwise apply to train as a nurse.

@PUNC15tashC Without the bursary I wouldn't be on the course. And there just isn't the time to work lots, study and see your family! #NurChat

@PUNCpolly Wouldn't be able 2 do this course if not for NHS funding. Devastated if stopped. Husband wants 2 train too! #nurchat

@shiv_smith I couldn't have qualified without the bursary #NurChat

The shortage of qualified nurses continues to be keenly felt throughout the healthcare sector, with nursing recently granted a temporary place on the shortage occupation list and therefore opening the doors for the inbound migration of registered nurses. However, this may not be enough to fill the staffing gap. In 2014, the RCN reported that the average age of the nursing workforce is over 45 years old, so in the next 20 years a large proportion of nurses currently working are due to retire.

The removal of the bursary could damage the learning experience of student nurses who are part way through their course by causing them to work part time on top of an already full time course. It could lead to exhaustion, burn-out and potentially reduce their chance of qualifying successfully. Some may have to drop out altogether, leaving the number of student nurses coming up to registration depleted.

@DonnaNewcross So many fantastic future nurses will be lost. I don't know of many that could afford to do it without #nurchat

@CHolyday I have 3 children and definitely could not survive without the bursary#nurchat

@Richardthenurse The attrition rate is already very high...scrapping the bursary would be surely harm the future nursing workforce

The next #NurChat discussion is on 8th December 2015 at 8pm GMT.