How Do Nurses in the UK Finance Their Training?

Until 2017, people wishing to become a nurse were eligible for an NHS bursary.  This annual funding, which didn’t have to be repaid, recognised the fact that nurses were unlike other undergraduates in that they were expected to take on work placements in hospitals and were therefore effectively employed from the very start of their course.

The whole situation changed in 2017 when nursing courses came under the Student Loan Company of each country in the UK with slight variations on what was on offer.  Not only did this mean that student nurses in England had to pay for their tuition fees (of approximately £9,000 per year), but they also had to apply for a maintenance grant to cover their living expenses.  In effect, they were paying to work for the NHS. This is in direct contrast to all other courses which have a work placement (or sandwich year). On such courses, the university helps the undergraduates find a work placement and they receive a salary (so their student loan package is stopped for a year).

For student nurses who are struggling financially, additional funding is available from the Learning Support Fund of the NHS Business Services Authority.  This non-repayable money can be used to help with childcare costs, travel costs, etc. and is worth £1,000 per student per year. Apart from this, there’s also an exceptional Hardship Fund of up to £3,000 per student per year.

Many nursing courses in the UK are based in cities where the cost of living is higher than average.  Unlike other undergraduates, nurses find it very difficult – if not impossible to take on other part-time work because of their work placements.  When they’re struggling to get by, payday loans direct lenders can make all the difference to their lives with an instant decision to their online application.

There’s no doubt that a career in nursing is a very rewarding one and this is the aspect that many nurses talk about when asked about their choice of profession.  Although nurses are guaranteed a job position when they complete their degree, their salary is much lower than other graduates. Therefore, we have a situation where they are considered graduates, but their salary doesn’t reflect their training.  The main reason why is the government’s freeze on public sector wage increases. Every year, their salary is effectively worth less when rises in inflation are taken into consideration. It will come as no surprise that 25,000 nurses leave the profession every year while many others prefer more lucrative agency work rather than working for the NHS.

This was brought home to the public after a well-publicised campaign in 2016 about how many nurses were resorting to food banks and high-cost short-term financial products to get by.  The real issue is that society as a whole should be supporting people like nurses who do a great deal for all of us, but without the financial remuneration they deserve.