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Calling out to nurses and student nurses

(246 Posts)
Livinglifepeachy Fri 09-Feb-18 20:30:19


I am due to start a nursing degree end of this month but I can't stop feeling like nurses are being taken for a mug and cheap labourers to put it bluntly. Here are the reasons why...

We have to pay over 9k per year in tuition fees and we don't get to choose our placements at the NHS. We don't get paid to be on placement yet apprentices do. Our placement equals to 2700hrs in three years. From what I have heard from second year nurses and third year nurses is that whilst your on placement your mentor usually doesn't have a lot of time for you. We can't actually hold a non flexible jobs because placements can be any day of the week so only when you are not on placement you can achieve to work weekends.

Can someone please share your thoughts on this matter are my feelings justifiable or is there something I have missed?

RhubarbYoghurt Fri 09-Feb-18 20:38:01

I'm a current 2nd year nursing student. If you want it. You adapt.

I have a toddler. Don't get childcare costs or travel costs. Husband is HCA.

I cope by comfort eating and blubbing.

I spend a huge amount of time reading and thankfully don't have to buy textbooks as they are available online via uni.

But the minute I step foot on a ward and help a patient or hold their hand. I know it's right ..

Thetimeisnotnow Fri 09-Feb-18 20:43:44

I’m a 2nd year student nurse (Adult branch). Luckily I was the September cohort to get the bursary. I’m at a London Uni and all of my placements are in a major London teaching hospitals. Placement is hard and to be honest the support you get from mentors can be hit or miss although there is always a band 5 or 6 that will take you under their wing if they see the mentor is not fulfilling their role. My experience has been great overall. It is rewarding and an amazing learning experience. However, I do feel that those who do not receive the bursary should be recompensed in some way for their time. You can not hold down a job with regular hours while doing the degree. Most students end up as bank staff at their host that as its flexible. Also the degree isn’t like other degrees in that there are very little holidays. We only get 4 weeks at summer and 2 at Easter and Christmas and even in these times you are expected to use holiday to make up any missed placement hours or resit exams.
However, the bad parts aside, I love being a student nurse and can’t wait to be qualified. I meet the most amazing people (patients and their families, other nurses and academics). It is worth it.

AgathaMystery Fri 09-Feb-18 20:45:38

Amen peachy but being totally honest if you're feeling like this today then walk away.

Re-apply to train to be a sonographer and spend the rest of your career busy but earning plenty. And I do mean plenty.

If the things you list are grating ion you now they will drive you up the wall in 18m. FWIW I totally agree with you - now that we expect AHP to pay for their training I think it's acceptable to expect more. I really do.

Will be interesting to see what sort of issues crop up next week as I'm interviewing uni candidates for an NHS course. I've done it for 10 yrs but might be different this year!

fitbitbore Fri 09-Feb-18 20:49:30

Your moaning before even starting. God help you when your thrown in at the deep end!!!
Doesn't sound like your mentally committed and you will struggle!!! Sadly mentors don't have a massive amount of time to dedicate due to staff shortages and ward demands but if you put the effort in you get what you need out of the course!!!

Livinglifepeachy Fri 09-Feb-18 20:56:28

I really want to be a nurse and I am still going to go through it because I am a hca at the moment and I love it and want to learn more. Its just a shame they have taken away the bursaries and haven't put something in its place if that makes sense. When you had bursaries and you had to do placements for free at least that didn't sound as bad but now it feels like we don't owe it to the NHS as we will have a nice debt after. I guess this is just food for thought as I find it very unfair that other students during their placements would be paid and nurses wouldn't.

JoeyMaynardssolidlump Fri 09-Feb-18 20:56:33

I feel so sorry for you youngsters now.

I trained in early 80s and had virtually free lovely accommodation in s beautiful setting, all bills included, no transport costs as on the hospital grounds, free uniform laundry service and even free daily maid service, subsidised food and alcohol, nurse tutors always available and we were paid while training.

Definatly the good old days snd no improvement now. Nurses are no more professional then they eber were but far more debt snd undervalued.

I admire you.

PancakeInMaBelly Fri 09-Feb-18 21:03:35

It is awful, but also don't envy the apprentices. They're guinea pigs and they may have difficulties registering abroad should they ever need/want to. I would go for the uni route if you can make it work, but also as a PP said, you should SERIOUSLY consider the other allied health professions. Chiropody for example: it's a nice 9-5 self employed living with decent money often doing things that band 5 nurses do but for much more money and less stress. There are so many allied health professions out there: cardiac scientists, perfusionists, it's so varied! Think about exactly what appeals to you about nursing then look at the other jobs/roles out there

Arriettyborrower Fri 09-Feb-18 21:03:54

I think it was absolutely the worst decision to abolish the bursary it will do nothing other discourage and disable people from becoming a nurse at a time we desperately need to recruit. But it is what is - can I ask you why you want to be a nurse?

Redrosebelle Fri 09-Feb-18 21:09:23

You haven’t moaned. You’ve asked perfectly reasonable questions, and I’m sorry to tell you but everything said is true. I don’t know what to say to be honest. Do I love being a nurse? Yes I do. Do I love working in the NHS currently? Nope. No pay rise for years as I’m a top band 5. You are expected to be a social worker, doctor, dietician, bouncer, punch bag and general maid and skivvy sometimes. You also have fantastic days where you really do save lives. Do your training, it will stand you in good stead and the country will always need nurses! Hopefully by the time you qualify the government will have sorted the NHS confused

Livinglifepeachy Fri 09-Feb-18 21:13:17

I was ill for the past three years and I have had over 5 operations and been admitted quite a few times during my longest period which was approximately 3 and a half weeks in a side room I was emotionally feeling really low and even though my family would come visit me in the evenings during the day and late evenings 3 nurses used to come and see me before they would start their shift and talk to me even though I wasn't able to talk and they gave me so much strength that I will never forget which is why I want to be one of those nurses to someone else who might be in my shoes.

Arriettyborrower Fri 09-Feb-18 21:22:26

So you can be that nurse, it will be tough, you will work hard, you will work with people who don’t value you but you will also work with truly inspirational people and you will have such a gift to give at the end - you will be able to make a difference to people at their darkest hour.

Life is what you make it, be realistic - expect to have times when you are unsupported, expect to have times when you are shattered and stressed but speak up about it, assert yourself, work with your placements and be clear about what you want to achieve and how they can help you achieve it.

The NHS and nursing are probably going through the most difficult time I’ve worked through but I do believe things will change, and as nurses I do believe we are powerful and can bring about more change. I have never thought about leaving, I’ve just thought about what I can do differently, it isn’t a job for me it truly is a vocation.

Good luck!

PancakeInMaBelly Fri 09-Feb-18 21:24:07

You realistically have more time to do that sort of thing as a HCA than as a nurse. While it's great that they did that for you, the fact that they only had time to give that aspect of care their full attention BEFORE their paid shifts started says it all really.

Other AHPs get more time to talk to /listen to people's worries etc

Steakandchips3 Fri 09-Feb-18 21:38:57

I agree with pancake. You will never get much time to do all that as a nurse. It's the HCAs/support staff that spend any time with patients. The nurses are mainly struggling with lots of paperwork and pressure.

ShapelyBingoWing Fri 09-Feb-18 21:40:55

Haven't yet read the replies but I will.

I'm a second year student, paediatric FOP.

Nursing may well be for you but it's worth noting that if you feel like nurses and students are being made mugs of now, before you've even started, you need to brace yourself against the fact that it isn't going to get better as you gain experience.

Mentor-wise, some are amazing and some were spawned in the depths of hell. Others are perfectly nice but so disenchanted with nursing that they teach you very different lessons to what you were expecting.

I've been part of a pilot that essentially sees students managing their own patients. There was barely any real attempt to conceal the fact that this was happening to take student numbers to boost staffing levels. (I gave the appropriate feedback about this... That we were not supernumerary.)

That said, I belong on the wards and the above is a tiny part of my day. Staffing levels being what they are, students really do become members of the team. We can and do make a huge difference and families lean on us.

justkeeponsmiling Fri 09-Feb-18 21:44:34

I think it's absolutely appalling that not only the bursary is no longer available but that you now have to actually pay to become a nurse. Disgusting! And yes: for the next 3 years you will mostly be treated as cheap labour. But I am a nurse (adult trained, now work with neonates) and I adore my job. Love it. So if you are passionate to become a nurse and know what you are letting yourself in for, and it sounds like you are/do, then go for it. I can't imagine another job being more rewarding. Good luck flowers

HotelEuphoria Fri 09-Feb-18 21:49:51

Let's not just talk about nurses here. It's all HCPs and the same applies to radiographers, midwives, ODPs, Occupational Therapists etc

Balibabe1 Fri 09-Feb-18 21:51:46

Can I just say, you are amazing. And you have every right to feel lost with the current system. This is a degree unlike any other, placements restrict any working like on other courses and completion of assessments are always on the go.
I do wonder how the government ever got this through and give it 3 years when the national shortage of nurses becomes a safety issue we shall see the political debates and blaming/finger pointing.
Please stick with it, the job although challenging is great, and will open opportunities regardless. I wish you all the best moving forward.

TheFairyCaravan Fri 09-Feb-18 21:53:12

DS2 is a 3rd yr student nurse. He’s had a part time job since 3 weeks after he started uni. He started as a barman in a well known pub chain and is now a team leader. They’ve been great. He’s on a zero hours contract so it’s quite flexible. Almost all of his friends work because they have to due to their bursaries not covering their rent.

He’s never said his mentors don’t have time for him. He’s not shy and puts himself out there which helps. He always arranges to meet his mentor before he starts placement and they discuss what he wants to get out of that placement. He wants to experience as much as he can while he’s training so he asks if it’s possible that he can do x, y and z. He’s not been turned down for much, tbh.

He loves nursing. It’s what he’s wanted to do since he was about 4 or 5. He went to uni with a really positive attitude and tbf he’s still got it despite being in A&E over the Winter.

DownstairsMixUp Fri 09-Feb-18 21:54:03

I'm near end of second year and yes it's pretty bad right now. I'm bursary personally I wouldn't of done it on student loans. I'm on placement now and barely see my mentor and tbh that's just the way it is. No one has enough time for you. But I do love making a difference.

Appuskidu Fri 09-Feb-18 22:03:23

Are there any jobs within the NHS left that you don’t have to pay tuition fees for?

Wowzel Fri 09-Feb-18 22:04:24

I always have time for my students, whether that is during the shift or afterwards in my own time.

FruitCider Fri 09-Feb-18 22:07:23

The whole point of placements is to give you a well rounded practical education that is in line with the NMC standards for education - why would you be able to choose where you go?

It seems you may not be ready to start next month. You are not fully committed yet and are talking about the course like it is a chore before you have even begun.

PancakeInMaBelly Fri 09-Feb-18 22:08:41

TheFairyCavern, your DS was LUCKY, it's not a matter of "putting yourself out there" , it's incredibly GOOD LUCK. And not down to him being a go-getter, which he may well also be.

Reason being that the mentor course is pretty much compulsory for progression to band 6, so you have people who may be fine nurses but do not also want to be teachers being forced to take students.

Those who are sign off mentors are also usually the ones who have to take charge of the ward. They can't be with their students if the students want to do hands on stuff.

I'm sure your DS is, as you say, a proactive go getter, but unfortunately that alone won't get you a good mentor experience. I'll say it again: he has been LUCKY, that's all

speakout Fri 09-Feb-18 22:08:51

We are lucky in Scotland.
My DD is about to start a Nursing degree.
All undergraduates pay no University fees and Nursing students get a £6000 annual bursary. This is not means tested. And a student loan can be take out on top of that.

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