Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD and spokesperson on Further and Higher Education Rose Conway-Walsh TD have called on the Ministers for Health and Higher Education to step up to the plate and protect student nurses.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“Over the last number of weeks, student nurses have reached out to us about work restrictions due to cross-contamination prevention measures. These are reasonable measures, which the students accept, to protect patients.
“What this means is that student nurses will have to forego part-time work to fulfil the necessary hours of training on supernumerary placement. They cannot forego the placement as it is required for their training
“However, this brings us to an unacceptable situation.
“We cannot ask trainee nurses to work for the best part of two months and be out of work for potentially another month due to self-isolation pre and post-placement while denying them the ability to earn at the same time.
“I wrote to the Minister for Health on this matter a number of weeks ago and have yet to hear of any developments.”
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“We must ensure that student nurses are financially supported to finish their placements and their studies. The cost of higher education and rent are already far too high.
“For many students, the financial supports they receive are inadequate, and many others struggle without receiving anything.
“Now student nurses are being told they will not be allowed to maintain part-time jobs to support themselves. Many of them rely on their part-time jobs to survive.
“If they are not allowed to work, then other supports need to be in place. This could be done through the form of a special non-means tested bursary or grant to these students.
“It would be unacceptable if this leads to students being unable to complete their studies or take part in their placements because they were unable to support themselves. It would also place additional strain on the health service at the worst possible time.”