“To say that my work-life balance has hit an all-time low would be a massive understatement. I have been working as a nurse for 10 years, and as a result I have more than felt and experienced the severe pinch the pay cap has had on our income in relation to the cost of living. A registered nurse, I have worked many, many long hard hours away from my family in some really challenging circumstances, sacrificing breaks just to ensure the safety of my patients and to contribute to the safe, smooth running of the ward, spending many Christmases away from my own children.
"And what do I get? I learned on Monday that the miserable 20p pay rise has cost me! I dread to see my next pay slip. They have now determined that the £1,200 special duty payments that I earned in 2017-2018 have kicked me into tier 4 of the pension bracket. I now have to pay 9.3% of my monthly wage towards the pension pot, regardless of whether I work any special duty or not. I feel sick, deflated, demoralised and lost. I can’t bear how undervalued I feel, knowing how hard nurses work and how utterly important our role is. Once again we are bottom of the pile.
"I have had enough and I am so, so, sorry to say this but I am done with nursing. I can’t bear to feel exploited any longer and I am currently seeking an alternative career path, far, far away from nursing. I regret this very much, but I have to do this, for my own self-worth. I have to do it for my own sanity. The whole thing is so unjust, unequal and unrealistic. None of it makes sense. Why couldn’t everyone have received the same amount? It’s just all so wrong. I hope the RCN fights this to the core. The people need nurses. They are the backbone of the health service.”
Registered nurse, Northern Ireland