Scots student nurses ‘struggle to make ends meet’

Student nurses are having to rely on financial help. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Student nurses are having to rely on financial help. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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MANY of Scotland’s student nurses are relying on financial help from their parents and taking second jobs, a report from the union Unison has revealed.

The union is calling on the Scottish Government to increase bursary rates for student nurses and midwives in the next academic year.

The union conducted a survey of student nurses across Scotland and found that 85 per cent relied on financial support form family while 83 per cent said they have been in financial debt over the last year.

Around 42 per cent were running up credit card debts, while 14 per cent had taken out a loan with 6 per cent turning to high street loan companies.

Student nurses on three-year courses study for 45 weeks each year and carry out placements for 50 per cent of the time.

Placements often include anti-social hours and transport costs.

Matt McLaughlin, the union’s regional organiser for the NHS, said the present bursaries were not “fit for purpose.”

“The present system of funding student nurses and midwives is clearly unfit for purpose.

“We need a system which is based on a fundamental principle of fairness which delivers a long-lasting commitment to a Living Bursary and is unafraid of committing public money to do so.

“Two thirds of student nurses and midwives are working part-time, some doing more than one job to make ends meet, many working up to 25 hours or more a week.

“As students make very clear in our report they find juggling work placements, part-time jobs and studying very stressful.