With recent demonstrations in Dublin by nurses and student nurses as a result of the statement released by Health Minister James Reilly to cut the salaries of the newly graduated, we set out to gauge real life public reactions in response, running an online opinion poll, “Should Irish student nurses earn more than the minimum €6.49/hour?”
It is by no surprise that over 82% of respondents agreed that Irish student nurses should earn more than the minimum €6.49 an hour wage as a result of ID Medical’s research poll and simultaneously, as seen across social media, the response was staggering, demonstrating that the public feels very strongly about this topical situation for aspiring nurses and midwives in Ireland.
There was however a flipside, as just under 18% responded with ‘No’ to Irish student nurses earning more than €6.49 an hour. Not very charitable you would think, but on closer study through geographic source, it evolved the majority of these respondents were situated outside of the Republic of Ireland.
During March 2014, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launched its Everyone Loves Nurses ‘Am I worth €6.49?’ campaign with an over 700 protestor strong demonstration held at Dr. Steeven’s Hospital in Dublin. Local graduate nurses called for the state to pay a fair wage for the work that is carried out during their training phase, above the current €22,000 (€6.49 an hour) starting salary.
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A surprising fact as stated by USI President Joe O’Connor is that ‘the majority of 2013 graduate nurses and midwives have emigrated Ireland to work abroad’, meaning many Ireland hospitals are left considerably understaffed. The two choices for nurses are to one, leave the profession altogether or two, emigrate. When benchmarking Ireland against other countries such as the UK, there are mixed opinions regarding starting salaries and further training opportunities presented to nurses and midwives.
Irish student nurses voiced they are proud to belong to the Republic of Ireland and as such want to remain and work in their homeland, but the evident staff shortages and subsequently overworked wards has led them to a greater desire of working within the UK’s NHS system.
Morale, not just in Ireland, but across the entire nursing profession, is wavering. ID Medical’s International Division which recruits medical professionals from around the world into the UK and vice versa, is experiencing a dramatic upturn in candidate movement around the globe, demonstrating clear dissatisfaction at a grass roots level.
Deenu Patel, managing director at ID Medical commented on the findings of the poll: “It is evident that the healthcare community and general public are impassioned by the topical student nurse wages in Ireland, and in fact wages across the board in the UK whilst the government denies health workers the 1% public sector pay rise.
“One of the main disputes is that a quick-fix temporary application is favoured ahead of a long-term and sustainable solution but this is a wholly blinkered approach; what’s required is the need to secure a grounded, professional and balanced next generation healthcare workforce by paying a just, decent and deserved wage, ensuring these key professionals feel valued and respected whilst being fairly supported from the very beginning of their career.
“It all comes down to people over profits. It is our responsibility as the UK’s premier level service healthcare recruiter to support its nurses and midwives in fulfilling their long-life career ambitions whilst being able to ensure we embed a contented work life balance founded on a wage that they wholeheartedly warrant.”