Clinical placement suspensions for student nurses and midwives extended

Placements for student nurses and midwives are to be suspended another week, following their original suspension two weeks ago

Clinical placement suspension for student nurses and midwives is due to be extended until February 8, with a “phased” return depending on the healthcare setting.

Earlier this month, first, second and third year clinical placements were suspended by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, intending to free senior nurses who oversee training of students so that they may return to frontline duties amid the worsening Covid-19 situation in hospitals around the country.

Fourth year nursing and midwifery students were not suspended from their final year internship.

Yesterday evening, SIPTU Industrial Organiser John McCamley confirmed that the union had been informed that this suspension was to be extended until at least February 8, with students to return on a “phased” basis upon returning. 

However, McCamley told RTE that he had already been contacted by a student whose suspension was extended until February 15.

Student nurses were also suspended from working on the frontline during the start of the pandemic, however, many student nurses and midwives were taken on as Health Care Assistants, and were paid.

There have been recent debates over student nurse pay in the Dáil, with government voting down an opposition motion to pay the students working on the frontline last December. All opposition and independent TD’s voted in favour. 

Speaking to RTE, The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation accused the Department of Health, the HSE and the education bodies of “indecision”, and of refusing to give student nurses absolute certainty about the status of their clinical placements. 

A spokesperson continued to explain that the placements were cancelled late on a Saturday evening and were now being further suspended, and students have not had their coursework restructured after the placements were postponed.

He called for the reinstatement of the arrangements of last March, when the students were hired on temporary contracts as Healthcare Assistants.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.