Your views

Should nursing students be paid for clinical placements beyond COVID-19?

The competing demands of making ends meet and keeping learning distinct from work

The competing demands of making ends meet and keeping learning distinct from work

For the second time during the pandemic, final-year nursing students in England have the option to undertake paid clinical placements.

However, some in the profession argue that payment should be a permanent arrangement . Nursing Standard readers have their say.

Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

I agree that students should be paid when they are on placement but not by the NHS trust, as this blurs the line between student and employee and may reinforce rather than solve the issue of students being used to plug

The competing demands of making ends meet and keeping learning distinct from work

Some argue paid placements should become a permanent arrangement after the pandemic
Picture: Tim George

For the second time during the pandemic, final-year nursing students in England have the option to undertake paid clinical placements.

However, some in the profession argue that payment should be a permanent arrangement. Nursing Standard readers have their say.


Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

I agree that students should be paid when they are on placement – but not by the NHS trust, as this blurs the line between student and employee and may reinforce rather than solve the issue of students being used to plug staffing gaps whilst on placement. Universities should pay students using government grants that are linked to the course and their progression through it, while trusts receiving students on placement continue to follow the same rules they do now. This way the distinction between student and registered nurse is maintained on placement, but students are fairly remunerated for their hard work.


Stacy Johnson is an associate professor at the University of Nottingham
@misssdjohnson

Nursing students should not be paid for placements after COVID-19. If paid, the obligation to provide labour overrides the right to learn. Let’s have placements where students are actually taught, robust needs-based student scholarship systems and an increase in starting salaries. Health challenges are complex and ever-changing; it’s illogical to expect a training system designed for the challenges of the past to deliver the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the future. We need to shift the language from ‘training’ to ‘education’, ‘placement’ to ‘learning opportunity’. Oh, and we need to stop rehashing this distracting debate.


Grant Byrne is a fourth-year nursing student in Edinburgh
@GGByrne

Nursing students make a valuable contribution to the quality of care delivered across the health and care sector. Even before the pandemic, many were enlisted as an extra pair of hands to help services meet demand. All of this while working other jobs to make ends meet. After the COVID-19 crisis has passed, the health service will still be picking up the pieces for many years to come. If students are to be in the best position to learn, we must have our minds on the task at hand and not on our bank balances. It’s time we were paid the wage we deserve.


Liz Charalambous is a teaching associate at the University of Nottingham
@lizcharalambou

The pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic have shone a light on the challenges faced by nurses. It is now more crucial than ever that nursing students are supported financially throughout their degree – not only so they are adequately remunerated and do not have to rely on other employment to make ends meet, but also so they are covered by death in service arrangements. A sad consideration in current times. Whether this is through salary or bursary is, to some extent, irrelevant. What is vital is that we support our next generation of nurses.


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