Readers panel: Should postgraduate nursing bursaries be treated as a special case and retained?
The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that bursaries for preregistration postgraduate nursing students will end this summer, mirroring the existing situation for undergraduates. Nursing Standard readers have their say.
The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that bursaries for preregistration postgraduate nursing students will end this summer, mirroring the existing situation for undergraduates. Nursing Standard readers have their say
Liz Charalambous is a staff nurse and PhD student in Nottingham
In short, yes. Bursaries for undergraduate nursing students should be brought back too. Society needs nurses, and we must invest in and support those who want to pursue a nursing career. This short-sighted approach is harmful, not only to our profession but to the health of the nation. Many potential recruits are not entering nursing, likely due to fears about the financial burden, and if hospitals and nursing homes end up closing because of a lack of nurses it would be a tragedy for us all.
Grant Byrne is a nursing student in Edinburgh
The cynic in me wonders if those in government are purposely trying to undermine the nursing profession. Axeing the undergraduate bursary has sent applications to nursing courses into free fall, but rather than remedy the situation the government appears to be pouring petrol on the flames. This is a short-sighted measure that closes the door on well-educated graduates from other fields. Our profession, and our patients, benefit greatly from their knowledge and experience but I fear graduates will now choose another path. Who can blame them?
Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London
Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt talked up postgraduate preregistration training as the ‘solution’ to nurse shortages. But this move makes it such an unattractive option – why would anyone apply for it without a bursary? Why would someone who already has in excess of £30,000 of student debt want an extra £20,000 of debt for a starting salary of just £22,128? We need bursaries back for graduate and undergraduate nurse training. Otherwise, how will we attract enough people into the profession?
Beverley Ramdeen is a senior nursing lecturer in Hertfordshire
Scrapping the bursary for postgraduate students will deter those who already have a degree from applying for nursing programmes. Nursing students are expected to complete a 45-week study programme each year, compared with 22 weeks for other undergraduates, which significantly affects their ability to hold down a part-time job. Despite the Department of Health and Social Care saying loans will provide students with at least 25% of up-front living cost support while they study, this is a short-sighted move when we are still struggling to recruit nurses.
Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only