Back pay maintenance grant for nursing students from Sept 2017-Sept 2020

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I am a MSc Pre-Reg Nursing student who joined a January 2019 cohort. Studying an MSc requires higher work load due to short space of time and shorter holidays whilst completing the degree within 2 years. From August 2017, NHS bursaries were scrapped and students were required to pay their own fees and take out maintenance loans for additional support. Due to this, the Royal College of Nursing states that nursing applications have dropped significantly by 30 per cent In the last year. This has resulted in a higher order for nurses within services.

Recently, PM Boris Johnson has placed a new incentive for students beginning September 2020 to receive an annual maintenance grant of £5000-£8000. This means Nursing students who studied from September 2017 have not received any government funding which does not have to be repaid. Whilst this incentive is a great opportunity for future nursing students, it does not support the current cohorts which have worked through a greater struggle in achieving their degree in preparation of high patient care demands within the health service. A back pay for current nursing students would make it fair for all who have continued to work hard.

The Bursary was a fantastic opportunity to motivate students in applying for nursing as well as providing financial support and stability whilst balancing other priorities such as family life, work, and personal issues. This allowed students to fulfil their studies confidently and provide the best outcome of patient centred care which nurses aim to achieve. The future students will receive a grant, but what about the students who missed out on the bursary and will miss the period of receiving the full entitlement grant.

The students who agreed to pursue their career of nursing regardless of the NHS bursary cut, have continued to show their dedication and work hard to achieve the health care professional role without government support. Prioritising studies, working long unpaid placement hours, studying for assignments and exams whilst trying to work a paid job, has placed pressures on many students in their personal lives. However, we continue to work hard in developing an admirable career which we help improve the quality of life within our community and NHS.

I ask, on behalf of the nursing cohort, that some sort of initiative for a back pay would be provided to alleviate pressures and help support the future generation of nursing, reminding us of why we worked so hard to achieve where we are today. .