'It's an insult' - €100 grant per week is not enough, student nurse says


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.59 5 Jan 2021


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A proposal for student nurses to get a grant of €100 per week for hospital placements has been described as 'an insult'.

One student nurse says it's 'not really enough' to support those receiving it, and won't be paid until the end of a placement.

Unions and student groups have been calling for additional payments for the thousands of student nurses for their frontline work in hospitals during the pandemic.

A report - prepared for the Government by Professor Tom Collins - has recommended a grant of €100 per week, on top of the existing allowances for travel and accommodation.

The INMO, however, said the report does not account for the high COVID risk in hospitals, and does not address issues for final year interns who are already paid for their placement work at a rate below minimum wage.

They've instead called for students to be paid the healthcare assistant rate of pay of €14 per hour, which was temporarily the case earlier in the pandemic.

Student nurse Ralph Brennan today told Lunchtime Live he doesn't feel the proposal is enough.

He said: "While there is some good there about the student nurses getting paid a €100 bursary, there’s not enough there - or next to nothing - for fourth year interns.

“It’s important to remember a report done in December, when the numbers were so low, really should not be used as a reference point for a situation that has changed so drastically.

“While it looks great on paper that 4,500 student nurses are getting €100 on top of the other bursaries that they’re getting, reading between the lines that’s not actually given to anyone while on placement… it’s all given when the placements are finished.

“It’s an insult really, to be honest.”

He said it comes while student nurses are being encouraged to not do any agency work during the pandemic, despite many students usually doing that work to pay their way through college and placement.

He observed: “We’re just asking for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. We’re being used to plug gaps… we are willing to do this, but it’s only fair that this loss of training is absolutely recognised by some sort of compensation.

“We’re putting ourselves in harm’s way… we’re missing out on training. It’s not normal nurses training that’s going on during the pandemic.”

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

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