Nursing students are unique. Their courses are longer than other degrees and, on top of their studies, they spend additional time on clinical placement working all hours of the day and night.
Many nursing students are struggling financially because they don’t have time to work to support themselves. It’s causing some students to quit their courses.
It’s no surprise then that since the changes to nursing degree funding in 2016, there are nearly 900 fewer nurses due to start at university.
The Government must fix this. It must look again at how it funds nursing higher education, including by putting a minimum of £1bn a year back into the system to support students.
There are already almost 41,000 nursing vacancies in England alone. Without action now this could rise to at least 48,000 in the next five years, because there won’t be enough newly qualified nurses to address this shortfall.
Nursing students are on their courses to learn. But, because of the current shortages, they're being used to fill workforce gaps and caring for patients before they are qualified to.
This isn’t fair to nursing students and it isn’t safe for patients.