Nursing student’s petition calls for living wage for students on clinical placement

Nursing student’s petition highlights financial toll of placements

Nursing student’s petition highlights financial toll of placements

Student placement
Students can spend up to 37.5 hours a week on placement and then have to work in paid employment
to make ends meet. Picture: iStock

More than 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for nursing students to be paid the living wage while on placement.

First-year adult nursing student John Worth, who is behind the petition, believes students play a vital role in clinical settings.

Mr Worth told Nursing Standard doing placement along with his job as a healthcare assistant was 'a big strain' on his mental health.

'I don’t feel I have any time to unwind and I have been feeling a bit low the past few weeks,' he said.

‘And a friend told me she doesn’t know how much longer she can carry on under the pressure.’

Financial struggle

Mr Worth said students, who spend up to 37.5 hours a week on placement, often must do paid work to make ends meet.

He joined University of the West of England in February and said there are single parents and other mature students with financial responsibilities among his classmates.

Nursing students in England no longer receive an NHS bursary and must either pay for their own tuition and living expenses or use student loans.

The petition, hosted on, began just over a week ago and has 50,965 signatures so far.

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Impassioned support

Mr Worth has written to prime minister Theresa May, health and education ministers.

Petition signatory Linda Treadgold wrote: ‘I trained as a nurse when you were “salaried” in 1984. Living costs were so much cheaper then. Our NHS needs sufficient staffing, we must attract future generations into this vocational career.’

Lisa Hall said: ‘I’m a second-year student nurse. I’m lucky enough to receive a bursary, but as a single mum with four sons I can’t always get time to boost my income by working part-time, so it can be a struggle.

‘Receiving a living wage while training would ease the financial strain, give me peace of mind each month and significantly lessen the impact on our mental health.’

Wages for under-25s

The national living wage is only applicable to those aged 25 or more, and is £7.83 an hour. Those under 25 must receive the minimum wage, which is set at £5.90 for 18-20 year olds and £7.38 for 21-24 year olds.

The Living Wage Foundation believes the living wage should be £8.75 in most of the UK and £10.20 in London.

The Department of Health and Social Care pointed out that nursing students are supernumerary - on placement to learn clinical skills and not paid to staff hospitals.

Addressing living costs, the department said nursing students in England ‘typically receive at least 25% more up front funding’ for living costs than they did under the NHS bursary system.

A learning support fund is available to support students on placement, additional travel costs can be reimbursed, and those with children can access an allowance of £1,000 a year, the DH said.

An exceptional hardship fund of £3,000 per academic year is also available.

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