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How are NHS strikes affecting nursing students?

By Leah Kellman Jan 22, 2023
women holding picket signs with lettering such as 'save nurses save lives' another says 'tories are killing the NHS'Nurses outside UCLH Credit: James Veysey/Shutterstock

With more nursing strikes set to take place over the following month across England and Wales, are students having second thoughts about the profession? 

Grace Harman who is a mental health nursing student, said: “It doesn’t hugely impact me if I am in university during the time, but if I am on placement and the nurses strike may mean that I cannot go into placement due to staff shortages.” 

Head of pre-registration nursing courses at Kingston University’s School of Nursing (SON), Dr Andrea Cockett said: “The SON’s position is that our responsibility is to support our students and ensure they have a good learning experience, so we have provided students with advice about what to do in relation to the strikes.

“We have also been in touch with our placement partners to discuss student support on strike days with them and ensure mechanisms are in place.” 

Harman said: “I am hugely supportive of the strikes, I strongly think the government have failed the NHS and staff and it is horrible that during Covid staff weren’t given any recognition for their work during that time.” 

She explained that before her nursing degree, she had worked as a healthcare assistant at a mental health hospital where she contracted Covid after a patient spat on her. 

“I subsequently had to isolate in my bedroom for over 10 days because my family were high risk and had to bring food to my room everyday and I used a separate bathroom to them the whole time.

“I don’t think we are paid enough and voices do need to be heard for changes to be implemented. I know the strike is controversial but I think if anyone was working in healthcare they wouldn’t put up with what we have to put up with daily for little pay.” 

Nurses ares striking in a dispute over pay and argue that low pay is contributing to understaffing which puts patients at risk and leaves staff overworked.

Labour leader, Keir Starmer told BBC reporter Laura Kuenssburg earlier this week that if Labour get into power it will take them at least a decade to fix the NHS crisis.  

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer clash over the NHS strikes.

By Leah Kellman

Role: Features editor

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