The Government has recently delivered a crushing blow to future nursing students in this region by removing their bursaries.
This vital financial support helps many to complete their studies and go on to be the nurses of the future.
Without this essential support, many of us who are currently studying to enter this wonderful profession would not have been able to fulfil our dreams of becoming a nurse.
We are worried about what this move means for the future of the NHS, our future colleagues, and above all, patient care.
Student nurses are not like other students.
Half our time is spent doing clinical work and our academic year is longer, giving us fewer opportunities to earn money.
We also tend to be older, many with families to support.
Taking away these grants and replacing them with hefty loans will only pile on more personal financial pressure to an already over-stretched part of the health care workforce.
Not only that but many may never be able to pay back the loans.
That will not save any money in the long run and makes little financial sense.
Student nurses are the profession’s future and their relationship with the NHS is critical.
But this decision risks severing the critical link between the NHS and nursing students.
And, in doing so, the Government is effectively absolving itself of any responsibility to ensure that the right numbers of nurses are in the right place, with the right skills.
With this move, it is also throwing student nurse training open to the market and this is very concerning.
We are disappointed that the Royal College of Nursing was not consulted on these plans.
The future of nursing must be protected.
UK Student Committee (Northern seat),
Royal College of Nursing and Northumbria University nursing student,
C/o Cavendish Square,