Pearse Doherty TD has called for student nurses on placement in Donegal and across the State to be paid for the “stellar work” they are doing in this pandemic.
Students on placements in hospitals across Ireland are still not being paid while facing additional Covid-19 risks. Before their final year internship, the INMO says that most student nurses and midwives get either nothing or an allowance of just €50.79 per week.
Many have also faced income loss, as they are no longer able to work part time as care assistants while studying, due to the infection risk of working in a care home while also on placement in a hospital.
Speaking ahead of a debate in the Dáil this week on the issue, Deputy Doherty has said that he is at a loss as to why the Minister for Health is taking so long to resolve this.
Deputy Doherty said: “No right-minded Government sends people into the trenches on the front line without pay, yet that is what is being asked of student nurses during a pandemic. It is unconscionable.”
“We are lucky to have top-class nursing courses in Letterkenny Institute of Technology where nurses are trained to a very high standard. But during placements, we are asking nurses to play a full role in the fight against Covid-19 in hospitals, such as Letterkenny University Hospital, which has been overwhelmed in recent weeks; and we’re asking this without giving them a cent in return.”
“Chaotic 12-hour shifts are the norm as they work alongside and are supervised by our excellent nursing and health service staff. Yet, for our student nurses, there is no remuneration for their work.”
“Our student nurses and midwives have to eat, pay rent, pay bills, and pay for travel – is neither fair nor sensible that they should not be paid for their work. These nurses have traditionally relied on part-time work in private nursing homes just to make ends meet, but that practice, rightly, is to be discouraged because of the risk of Covid-19 and our concern to keep people in congregated settings safe.”
“Our student nurses are relieving some of the enormous pressure on an already overwhelmed nursing workforce and are welcomed by all medical staff as part of the team.”
“Sinn Féin has been raising this issue since March and will continue to fight the corner for those nurses. But the truth is we shouldn’t have to fight this corner at all. Why is the Minister for Health dragging his heels on this matter? When will it be resolved for once and for all? It is ultimately for the Government to resolve the matter and I am calling for urgency in their doing so.”