“A slap in the face”. That was how the student nurses and midwives described the Government’s €100 weekly grant. One nurse went one better, by saying “Id like to see Stephen Donnelly working for €2.56 an hour!”. More here.
While on placement, around 4,500 student nurses and midwives will receive the Pandemic Placement Grant weekly. Eligible students along with those entitled to the PUP payment will receive €50 covering travel and accomodation costs.
Since the pandemic hit, student nurses have been bravely working in hospitals treating patients suffering with the virus.
What the nurses have said:
One such student is Róisin O’Connor, who challenged the Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly. “I’d love to show the Minister a day in our life, including travelling, and let him see how tiring it could be, and how little you are living off”.
She also said, “I worked with ICU patients and I had the fear of God in me, what if I bring it home with me? Saying our work is worth €2.50 is a slap in the face. I can’t imagine anyone who sat in that room deciding that would take it up for their job”.
O’Connor also added that it has been financially very stressful for nurses during this pandemic.
“So to start this job with just €100 a week is very stressful when you have no other income to live off. My transport costs me €30 a week, depending on where the hospital is.
She added “I have to get up at 4.45am and get either two buses or a bus and a Luas. I am stressed about money as well as everything else”.
Róisin commented on the reality of this grave situation for student nurses exposed to patients with Covid-19. “There are some people who have said that €100, or €2.56 an hour is better than nothing. I don’t think anyone would work for that, never mind something so stressful, when really you are still a child and there are people dying around you”.
Another nurse, Teighlour Fegan said she was “so insulted” by this new weekly grant plan. She feels that student nurses are being “exploited”.
“I blew up”, she exclaimed before adding, “it feels like we’re being exploited, because we’re not there for educational purposes”.
She echoed Róisin O’Connor’s point that the grant is a “slap in the face”.
She added, “When you do the maths, it works out at less than €2.80 an hour. I know they say it is for students, an educational placement, but realistically we are not learning in a pandemic”.
Grace Farrell is another nurse who called the Grant “a slap in the face”. She also added “If they said minimum wage, that would have been amazing, it would show they respect us and are behind us and understand the risk and sacrifices we are making”.
Róisin, Teighlour and Grace love their job all the same. Their message was summed up by Grace, who said “We feel the support of the public, we just want to feel that from the people in charge”.