Constitution of ENSA and Internal Regulations of ENSA available: please see Membership Area under CONTACT US
(ENSA Board February 2016)
Statement by the ENSA Board
regarding the change to UK nursing student bursaries
2016 is an important year for British nursing. It will be the centenary for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and potentially the end of free nurse education in the United Kingdom. Currently the UK National Health Service (NHS) helps 80,000 student nurses, midwives, occupational therapists and others by providing a ‘means-tested’ bursary which does not have to be repaid.
The Conservative (right wing) government, led by David Cameron, will require future student nurses to apply for a ‘means-tested’ loan that will cover fees and personal maintenance costs. Cameron has stated that loans will bring UK nursing students in line with students on other courses who already utilise the student loan system for fees and maintenance costs.
But are student nurses different or special enough to justify a bursary? YES! Student nurses study all year with no traditional academic holidays for summer or winter. Student nurses are expected complete 2300 hours of clinical placements over three years, often working throughout the holidays. Student nurses are put into situations of severe distress, violence and emotion when caring for the needs of patients. How many other non-health students can say the same?
Today the UK are short of 10,000 qualified nurses in London. Nursing degree programs across the United Kingdom are struggling with unprecedented levels of students ’dropping-out’, some degree programmes lose as many as 70% over three years.
Yet the UK government think it is right to saddle student nurses with an estimated £50,000 of debt upon graduation. To pay for their own degrees. To pay to do clinical placements. To pay to care for patients. Then to start immediately repaying that £50,000 back in installments every month after getting their first nursing post until they retire. They believe this change will increase student numbers and boost the amount of qualified nurses.
For a long time the UK’s National Health Service has utilised student nurses as a free resource in clinical areas. As nurses learn they also care for patients, student nurses may be supernumerary but still work 37.5 hours a week (including 12.5 hour shifts and night duties) for 9, 10 or 12 weeks at a time. Whilst juggling the rigours of academic essays, dissertations and presentations.
Within the United Kingdom student nurses are drawn from all aspects of society, but the majority of people that pursue a nursing degree are ‘mature’, those being over 21. Many enter nursing with a degree from another discipline, quite a few have changed careers to become a nurse and have sacrificed a great deal. Yet they will no longer reward these people with a bursary. Instead the UK government will make the student pay for the privilege to be a nurse. Pay for the privilege to enter the UK’s National Health Service which caps pay rises, penalises those with families and sells hospitals to corporations.
More than 140,000 people have signed a petition against the change in funding, and the European Nursing Student Association (ENSA) fully support and stands with UK students in this fight.
ENSA believe that nursing education in Europe should remain affordable and accessible to all. The very nature of nursing is that we care for each other.
Some say nursing is a calling, an art, something you do for the love of your fellow man. The UK government considers nursing a business. Will the UK lose the next Florence Nightingale because they can’t afford the debt?
(ENSA Board January 2016)
More information on student marches in January 2016 at RCN-campaign website see Nursing Counts
New board was elected in Dublin
ENSA legally established for the EU
We are now pleased to inform you that ENSA have made an important step in ENSA history!
In the beginning of October 2014 Ina Siby (ENSA President) & Margrete Schwarz Kanstad (ENSA Vice-President) came back from Brussels after one and a half day of intense work in Brussels. Both signed on 2 October 2014 the ENSA constitution with the Belgium notaire and EFN lawyer. On 3 October 2014, they opened a bank account, in Brussels, for ENSA. Further ENSA has now sent in the legal documents to becoming a legal organisation. These are the last steps of becoming a legal organisation.
Now we have the possibility to make an impact on nursing student education on EU level. We can now influence and lobby the European Parliament, Council of Ministers and European commission. Further we can take parts in EU projects and make our voices heard. This will make our networking between the nursing students around Europe even more important.
EFN have helped us in this matter and we want thank them for their support and advice, specially the General secretary, Paul de Reaves of EFN.
Further we want to thank our NNO´s for their support and believing in us.
And last but not at least – we want to thank you, ENSA delegates for joining us in this important times of ENSA history!
The board of ENSA