Senator Máire Devine has called on the government to ensure that any student nurse who is working in the health service during this crisis be paid for their vital work.
Speaking this morning, Seanadóir Devine said: “The COVID-19 virus poses a significant challenge to every strand of our health service. “Delivery of healthcare is more important than ever as we face into the coming weeks. “Student nurses will be on the frontline with other staff working as hard as anyone to protect and save lives – they should be paid appropriately for their work. “Yesterday our third-year student nurses began their work placements.
“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 renumeration for their work. “Many will already have lost part-time week-end jobs, others will have had to step back from part-time work in other health care settings due to the risk of cross- contamination, and others may have to live apart from family to protect ‘at-risk’ loved ones. “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.
“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. “As their nursing colleague I can assure them that I will continue to be a voice for nurses and midwives during this critical time. “Today, I am calling on Minister Harris, the Trade Unions, and the Department of Health to ask them to work out a way to ensure our student nurses and midwives are paid.”