Pay nursing students for working at placements.

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Students going into any trade are paid (sometimes $20/hour) for their apprenticeship placements while going to school while nursing students in all four years are not paid for the labour they provide. First year students have placement once a week for one semester. Second year has placement both semesters. The longer you stay in school the more time is spent on the floor rather than in classrooms, but tuition costs don't change or get lowered even when we spend only two days a week in classes at the University and the rest of the time working at placements.

Currently Ontario nursing students, myself included, pay roughly $4000 per semester in tuition and at least a $1000 in books and equipment. So in a year school costs alone are approximately $10,000, not including parking ($200/semester), parking at placements (at some hospitals as much as $25/day), and transportation to your hospital of choice, sometimes over an hour away. What this means is that in order to become a nurse a student is expected to pay $10,000 per year, work almost fulltime with no pay, go to classes and do all of the homework and studying, as well as working another job in order to pay for not only school but also their other bills. While the approximate numbers provided are for Ontario the point is still the same across all of Canada: Many students are giving up because they are unable to afford the time away from work to focus on school and placements.

As it stands there are not enough nurses to fill shifts. Staff are scrambling to provide proper care for patients, mid-career nurses are burning out and leaving the profession, and younger nurses are being scared off by poor working conditions. The main strategy being used to help fill the holes in the system is to increase the workload of the nurses already in the system, rather than try to increase the number of new nurses introduced each year. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002 found patient mortality increases by 7 per cent for each additional patient added on top of the average nurse’s workload, so clearly increasing the workload of the already practicing nurses is not the way to fill the holes. As the baby boomers are reaching the age of retirement the number of nurses will drop drastically, while the number of geriatric patients will skyrocket. The need for new nurses in the workforce is higher now than ever before.

I propose two options to the government to fix this problem:

1: lower tuition costs based on the hours of placement so that while still paying it's more feasible for the average student. Working 40 hours on top of school and placement as students are currently is not feasible.

2: pay students minimum wage, $11.40/hour (Ontario). Students would still earn a little over $100 per day of placement to help them pay their way through school. The extra money may not sound like a lot but as a student it helps tremendously.

The nursing shortage is getting worse and with the costs related to nursing school many students are giving up short of completion. With the increased strain on existing nurses as the baby boomers age, new nurses are going to be a necessity, and paying them for their placements in school is a sure-fire way to increase the number of students successful in their programs. As I said before, all other apprenticeships or co-op placements are paid, so it’s only fair nurses are as well. increasing the number of available nurses reduces the strain, as well as increasing quality of care for patients. So stop treating nursing students like slaves and start paying them for the work they do.

This petition was started with the hopes of helping all nursing students to pay their way through school and relieve the stress on existing nurses. Your signature would help increase the number of nurses in the workforce, and increase the level of care all patients receive.



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