Nursing and midwifery students are to be paid 80% of the starting rate for nurses and midwives during clinical placement.
This week, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced a €9 million package of measures to provide significant additional support for student nurses and midwives.
Student nurses and midwives will also receive €500 per year in the first three years of their degree programmes to contribute towards the costs of meals associated with placements outside the student’s core placement site.
A rate of €80 for overnight accommodation will be introduced, along with an increased weekly cap of €300 for students requiring alternative accommodation to their place of residence during their placement. This weekly cap is three times the cap introduced on 1 January 2022, and nearly six times the previous cap.
Two additional uniforms will be provided for nursing and midwifery students at the start of their placement, as well as a discounted cost for uniform laundry services during periods of overnight accommodation.
The measures form part of an enhanced Travel and Subsistence scheme for student nurses and midwives. All supports for eligible students included in the scheme will be backdated to September 2022.
Speaking on Tuesday, Minister Donnelly said: “I am pleased to be introducing an enhanced Travel and Subsistence Scheme for student nurses and midwives while attending their supernumerary practice placements, which will provide a targeted and more equitable approach to supporting these students.”
He added: “For student nurses and midwives on their final year internship, I am ensuring that their salary is set in line with the recommendation of the McHugh Report, by increasing their rate of pay to 80% of point 1 of the staff nurse/midwife pay scale.”
“This measure, worth €3.6 million, demonstrates further our commitment to retaining talent throughout our nursing and midwifery degree programmes, and our appreciation for the effort and dedication shown by students during their crucial final-year internships.”
The Union of Students of Ireland (USI) welcomed the enhanced support scheme, calling it “a step in the right direction”.
USI Vice President for Academic Affairs Clodagh McGivern said: “USI welcomes the announcement of a €90 million support package for student nurses and midwives. This comes after years of continuous lobbying from [Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO)], USI, student unions across Ireland, student nurses and midwives and those who stood in solidarity.”
“For years these groups have campaigned for student nurses and midwives to be acknowledged for the hard work they put into the running and functioning of the HSE, and to be compensated adequately for this work.”
“The news that nurses and midwives will be paid 80 per cent of the full rate during their internship, get an allowance for necessary accommodation, and a payment of €500 per year to cover extra costs and help with their uniforms, is a step in the right direction.”
“We must continue to look after the nurses and midwives in Ireland properly for the hard work and dedication they put into their role,” McGivern added.
“Every year we see newly graduated student nurses and midwives emigrating the country due to inadequate pay and work conditions, so we must continue to invest in our nurses and midwives.”
The McHugh Report, published by the Department of Health in November 2021, recommended an enhanced Travel and Subsistence Scheme for student nurses and midwives attending their supernumerary clinical practice placements.
Students in these degree programmes are required to complete 45 weeks of mandatory clinical practical placements in healthcare settings, allowing students to gain the clinical competencies required in a supervised setting.
The McHugh Report also outlines the need for a review of the pay for the 36 week internship placement of final year nursing and midwifery students.