Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Cost of living for student nurses: ‘We’re very fond of jumpers and hot water bottles’

Ciaran Freeman, a student nurse who shares a house in Galway with five others, says she ran out of home heating oil more than a month ago, but there’s no question of ordering a refill. Not there.

“We are very fond of jumpers and hot water bottles now,” he said. “We put on extra layers. I’m lucky to be able to do this without suffering the harmful consequences for my health, but nursing students are like everyone else, and some have chronic lung diseases or other health issues, so not being able to turn down the heat Having it would be a problem. ,

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s student body president says the “archaic” allowance system means some student nurses get €50 a week as payment – ​​and many get “absolutely nothing”.

People from already low-income backgrounds and parents who can’t afford childcare are being excluded from pursuing careers in nursing, and as the cost of living rises, this will get worse. , says the 26-year-old.

Speaking at Sligo, where he was attending INMO’s annual conference, Mr Freeman said that most student nurses were resigned to the fact that they would have to emigrate when they qualified because of housing and other costs. There are so many more.

“There is a lot of talk about the increase in the number of undergraduate nursing and midwifery places and I am sure Australia is happy because we are training more nurses for them,” he said.

A third-year nursing student at NUI Galway said that as part of the curriculum, students work 13-hour shifts three times a week, and noting that the students receive “minimum or no allowance”, it’s important for younger children. was putting a great burden on the people. who have to pay for childcare.

“We should encourage these people to get into nursing,” Mr Freeman said. “We have a huge shortage of nurses in Ireland. People with children are unlikely to pack up and migrate. These are the nurses you can hire in Ireland but the cost of childcare is a deterrent.”

the cost of living

Mr Freeman said student nurses who paid “the most expensive college fees in the EU” were finding it difficult to make a living. “The cost of living is a spiral that affects every aspect of your life whether it is your housing, education, the food you eat, or sometimes how much time you can afford to see your family. Huh.

“I went from December to April without seeing my family,” Dubliner said, adding that he couldn’t afford to take time off from his part-time job as a vaccinator.

“I barely survive,” he said, and admitted that he was luckier than other students forced to live in completely unsuitable housing. He said students who see newly qualified nurses in Dublin spending more than 50 percent of their income on housing are saying “this stuff” and are already considering emigration.

“The cost of living in cities like Dublin and Cork and Limerick is so high that you can’t really afford to live. If you stay you’re struggling to make ends meet. You don’t have to have good housing. There is no reasonable possibility.”

Dubliner said he did not want to emigrate. “For all its flaws I really love Ireland. I have a gullible passion for improving HSE. But I think your finances decide for you at the end of the day. So I guess I may have to.”

barrier to education

The INMO student leader said he was concerned that so many people who wanted to do nursing, at a time when the system is so lacking, were left out due to financial reasons.

“It is a huge barrier to education. I am not saying that those who are nursing are rich but some may stay at home or have parents who are in a position to help them.

“It is absolutely the case that some people who choose to do nursing are restricted for financial reasons and this is only going to get worse as the cost of living goes up.”

After failing to meet socially for his first two years in college due to COVID restrictions, he says people still can’t meet because they can’t afford “despite student stereotypes”.

He added that anytime nurses ask for something like an increased rate for the fourth year, who make 36-week appointments on wards, there’s always a “battle” at the political level with ministers.

“It is sending a message to the students. This is making them cynical and a cynical student is a cynical newly qualified nurse. ,

Nation World News Desk
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