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Student Nurse Bursary: What is going on?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 | News

Debates regarding scrapping the student nurse bursary have been bubbling away for quite some time now, but over the last few days some big proposals have been made, with some potentially bigger outcomes suggested.

On Monday, the government announced plans to scrap the student nurse bursary in 2017; replacing it with a typical student loan system. Despite coming at a cost to students, the government believe up to 10,000 more student nurses will enter the system each year – made possible by the redundancy of the government funding induced cap on student nurse places.

However, the obvious question now being raised is; although 10,000 more places may be created, will 10,000 more students decide to suffer long-term pay-cuts due to student loan repayments? Only time will tell on this one, but it’s a large financial burden for numerous potential nurses to have to come to terms with and could become a recruitment disaster for the NHS if student nurse numbers fall.

It has also been suggested that if more nurses do begin to come through the education system, the already stretched current placement system will simply bottleneck – leaving thousands of qualified nurses unable to work, with thousands of pounds of debt.

Kare Plus Clinical Lead, Kate Willis says: “There needs to be a more appropriate training programme that is flexible in modern life. The healthcare sector has had a shortfall in nurses for many years and something needs to be done that is consistent to rectify this.

“The nursing profession is one of the most rewarding of all, giving individuals the opportunity to genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. It gives a stable career that has many scopes for progression, but firstly we need to ensure people can actually afford to train in the first place.”

Despite criticism from MPs, Care Minister Ben Gummer believes a loan system will work – citing the rise in university fees to £9,000 in 2011 that failed to deter student numbers and the current 57,000 applicants for 20,000 nursing places. 



Image: FlickR, Garry Knight

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