Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell has called on Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to step up to the plate and pay student nurses.
During a debate on the matter in the Dáil, Deputy Farrell raised real life experiences from Student Nurses in Galway.
“Student nurses and midwives deserve to be paid,” said the Sinn Féin TD. “They are the glue holding our public health system together.
“They perform duties far beyond their educational requirements, often filling gaps in employment caused by illness or vacancies.”
Deputy Farrell said that student nurses have been central to our front line response to this pandemic but have been left in financial hardship by the Government.
“This has been particularly acute during Covid, as more than 11,000 healthcare workers have contracted the virus over the last number of months,” she added.
“The pandemic means that many student nurses can’t work their part time job on top of the placement because of the infection risk moving from one place to another which leaves them short again. How can they support themselves if they’ve no income?
“Some of them have children, how are they to support their families?
“They cannot forego the placement as it is required for their degree. We must ensure that student nurses are financially supported to finish their placements and studies.
“They need to be paid fairly for the work they do. They must be treated as workers as well as students, and their student status should not be used to undermine their rights to fair pay.”