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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 9 April, 2020
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Student nurses on placement WILL be paid for duration of Covid-19 crisis

Student nurses and midwives will be offered a contract as a healthcare assistant.

Image: Shutterstock

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has said that student nurses and midwives completing placements during the Covid-19 outbreak will be paid.

Hundreds of student nurses across the country are set to begin their unpaid work placements this month and some have already started.

Although this is a common practice – doing unpaid work to earn enough hours to become fully qualified – the public health crisis affecting the country led to calls for this to be changed.

Harris has now confirmed that all student nurses and midwives will be offered a contract as a healthcare assistant (HCA) and be paid accordingly. HCAs are paid €28,000 a year.

Students will complete their placement in a HCA role and continue to complete the course.

The Department of Health says there are about 4,000 student nurses.

“We need all hands on deck through this challenging period,” Harris said this afternoon. 

This is an offer and not an obligation. But I know so many of our student nurses want to play their role as we navigate our way through these difficult times. Our healthcare professionals have shown immense leadership and I will do everything I can to support them.

Today’s announcement and comes following pressure from groups such as the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO).

The INMO had argued that students taking up roles should be paid and protected as employees, if that is the role they are undertaking. 

Student nurses will be asked to apply online through the HSE’s On Call initiative.

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Rónán Duffy

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