Support UNPAID Student Nurses helping to fight Covid-19 Pandemic
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Student nurses all over Ireland this week were asked to go out on placement UNPAID to support hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite outlining our concerns to the HSE about
1) The health risk posed to ourselves and loved ones. Many students have elderly parents and/or children. There are also students who have asthma which again puts them in a higher risk category.
2)The fact that we would have to give up our PAYING jobs to work for free. Student nurses often have part time jobs (Nursing homes etc) which are currently protected environments therefore working both jobs isn't feasible.
Balancing a part-time job and a 35 h/w UNPAID placement is common practice for student nurses and midwives in Ireland. It's not easy working 60 plus hours a week, making just about enough to scrape by but we didn't complain. However asking us to work 35 hours a week, UNPAID while giving up our only form of income, in the current global pandemic is for many, an ask too far!
3)The risk to the public. Many first year students only have four weeks prior clinical experience and would not be appropriately trained in correct use of PPE therefore increasing the likelihood of spreading the virus to the public and hospital patients.
4) No transport to the placement locations provided for students.
5) No accommodation provided for students. Some student housing has shutdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Other students are now labelled "high risk" and were evicted from digs just because they are nursing students. On top of that we were only given one week notice about this placement so didn't have adequate time to make other arrangements.
6) No accommodation (housing etc) provided for self-isolation in the event that one of us becomes infected with Covid-19.
Also worth noting:
If student nurses are unable to complete their full placement after becoming infected with Covid-19 while in hospitals, we have been informed that we would lose the hours already worked and have to start the placement again another time FROM SCRATCH!
7) The likelihood that we would not be supernumary or supervisored appropriately during our placement as the cases of Covid-19 patients continue to rise. Therefore forcing us to work outside of our scope of practice.
We were notified about the decision to return to placement on the 17th of March.. the same day the HSE launched a massive recruitment drive. Coincidence or an opportunistic attempt to exploit free labour?
Please note that ALL other placements are cancelled for the safety of students at this time. With the EXCEPTION of student nurses and midwives!
Despite outlining all of this to the HSE, they still felt that was in our best interest for student nurses and midwives to continue with this placement. We want to help in this pandemic (WITHIN OUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE) but we cannot do this unpaid or without appropriate measures implemented.
The HSE needs to make a clear stance on either PAYING students on placement or not having them there at all! They also need to ensure that student nurses who are willing to participate in this placement are fully informed about the risks involved. Many FULLY QUALIFIED doctors and nurses have contracted this virus. Without proper guidance and support what chance do students have?
Please sign our petition to help stop the exploitation of student nurses (we are only looking for signatures, no need to chip). With your help we could have our voices heard. We deserve better than this! #standwithstudentnurses
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