Student nurses on placement to be paid, says Harris

Nursing and midwifery students to be offered healthcare assistant contracts

Student nurses will be paid for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis, Minister for Health Simon Harris has confirmed.

All student nurses and midwives undertaking unpaid placement will be offered contracts as healthcare assistants and will be paid accordingly.

Harris said that the country needs “all hands on deck” during the coronavirus crisis and praised student nurses’ “brilliant work they are doing in this difficult time”. 

He said this will allow students to complete their placement and continue to complete the course. Student nurses are being asked to apply online through HSE.ie/oncall.

Harris said: “This is an offer and not an obligation. But I know so many of our student nurses want to play their role as we navigate our way through these difficult times.” 

“Our healthcare professionals have shown immense leadership and I will do everything I can to support them.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed yesterday that the government was examining the possibility of paying student nurses working in hospitals.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have said that student nurses and midwives and representatives groups such as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have raised concerns over the welfare and working conditions of students on placement during the crisis and their future employment prospects. 

USI President Lorna Fitzpatrick had said: “Student nurses and midwives are worried about how this is going to impact their education. Universities and colleges need to state what their intentions are for student nurses and midwives that cannot complete their placements because of COVID-19.”

“There are a range of reasons that this may be the case,” she said. “A lot of healthcare departments have closed down, students have been asked to leave college accommodation and digs, and some private public transport that many students rely on has been pulled.”

“Along with the INMO, we are calling for all student nurses and midwives on placement to  be supported financially during this pandemic as many are unable to continue with part-time work because they are at risk of carrying and spreading the virus while supporting the health system during this pandemic.”

Aisling Grace

Aisling Grace is the Editor-in-Chief of the 66th Volume of Trinity News. She was formerly Online Editor and Deputy News Editor, as well as an English Literature and History of Art and Architecture student.