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Closed petition Ensure student nurses are paid for placement hours

The Government should require that student nurses be paid while on placement as part of their training. This should be at least the minimum wage for apprentices.

More details

Student nurses normally work 37.5 hours a week when on placement. For many, this leaves no time to make any money from work, which can make it unaffordable for many people to undertake a nursing degree. Student nurses complete 2,300 hours of placement and contribute hugely to nursing teams across our national health services. Despite this, we are still regarded as supernumerary.

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 20 November 2023

Watch the petition 'Ensure student nurses are paid for placement hours' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 1 August 2022

The Government greatly values the contribution of student nurses. There are currently no plans to pay students while on their undergraduate nursing degree course’s mandatory clinical placement.

Read the response in full

The Government acknowledges and appreciates the unique characteristics of nursing courses and greatly values student nurses’ contributions to our NHS.

We understand the financial pressures nursing students may face when undertaking a nursing degree. To help alleviate these pressures and help students focus on their studies, since September 2020, all eligible new and continuing pre-registration nursing students studying at English universities have benefitted from a non-repayable training grant of at least £5,000 per academic year. Additional funding is also available for studying certain courses, for example, Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disabilities Nursing. There is further financial support available to students for childcare, dual accommodation costs and travel. This support package is in addition to maintenance and tuition fee loans provided by the Student Loans Company.

We fully acknowledge the huge contribution that student nurses make to nursing teams while on placement. Students on clinical placements are treated as ‘supernumerary’ so that there are protections in place to ensure that, while student nurses are in training, they are not replacing trained professionals required for safe and effective care. These placement protections are also necessary to allow student nurses to acquire the skills and experience required to graduate and join the professional register. To safely and effectively practise as a registered nurse once qualified, it is essential that most practice learning is undertaken in direct care of clients, within a framework of supervision by registered nurses, midwives and other registered healthcare professionals. Nursing degree education standards, including standards for supernumerary practice learning, are set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to ensure students are prepared for their role as a registered nurse. As part of the response to Covid-19, the NMC made emergency changes to its education standards to support course progression. The Government has always been clear that this was a temporary arrangement and that, at the appropriate time, non-paid placements would resume.

The Registered Nursing Degree apprenticeship route differs from the undergraduate nursing degree; an apprenticeship is a job, in which the apprentice is employed by, and therefore paid by, the trust. In addition to their studies, they provide services to their employer as a Healthcare Support Worker, Nursing Associate, or other role. Apprentices must achieve the same standards as student nurses but given the unique combination of paid employment and study, this is achieved over a four-, rather than three-year, period.

The Government currently has no plans to pay student nurses while on placement. However, the Government keeps the funding arrangements for all NHS health professionals’ education under close review. At all times the Government must make difficult decisions which balance the need to support students in their studies with the need to deliver maximum value for money on taxpayer investment.  

Department of Health and Social Care

Share your views on pay and financial support for healthcare students

The MPs on the Petitions Committee have scheduled a debate on three petitions:

Ensure student nurses are paid for placement hours

Extend 30 hours free childcare to student midwives/nurses/paramedics

Minimum wage pay for all healthcare students for placement hours worked!

Marsha de Cordova MP, a member of the Committee, will open the debate, which will take place on Monday 11 September.

Share your views

To inform the debate, we would like to hear from you about your experiences and views on pay and financial support for healthcare students.

You can share your views with us by completing this survey: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSpMLsAawCSdBvMh9cdt5o9ZURTFYREk3MlNGTEhFNDE4OEczODlTWUVBNC4u

The survey will close on Tuesday 29 August at 10am.

Your responses will be anonymous. A summary of responses will be published on the Parliament website. It will also be shared with MPs and may be referred to in the debate or within other parliamentary documents. Please don't share anything that may identify you.

Watch the debate

The debate will take place on Monday 11 September at 4.30pm.

What are petition debates?

Petition debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on the requests of the petitions at the end of the debate.

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Debate on pay and financial support for healthcare students postponed

The debate on three petitions relating to pay and financial support for healthcare students has been postponed. It was scheduled for Monday 11 September.

We will let you know as soon as we have rescheduled this debate, and share links to watch the debate or read the transcript.

What did you tell us about pay and financial support for healthcare students?

To inform the debate on this petition, which will take place on Monday 20 November, the Petitions Committee created a survey about pay and financial support for healthcare students.

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey.

The debate will be opened by Marsha De Cordova MP, a member of the Petitions Committee.

What are petitions debates?

Petitions debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

Petition debates don’t end with a vote to implement the request of a petition. This means that MPs will not vote on pay and financial support for healthcare students at the end of the debate.

The Petitions Committee can only schedule debates on petitions started on petition.parliament.uk

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.