A student nurse says she is “absolutely exhausted and exhausted” as she works on the Covid frontline 12 hours a day for no pay.
Hayley Walton was just finishing her sophomore year in adult care at the University of Bolton when the first case was announced in March.
At this point, the 27-year-old was asked to stand up on the NHS frontline to fight the virus. Manchester Evening News report.
She should do an internship with the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to complete her final year and qualify as a nurse.
When hospitals across the country were overwhelmed by patients, she and her fellow students were offered an early start in their careers.
Hayley signed a contract for fixed-term paid employment at the Royal Bolton Hospital from June to September 2020.
She worked long 12-hour shifts for two months, proud to be part of the game, and had moments she believes will never be forgotten.
But in August her contract was cut and the government told her that she could return to her internship as she was no longer needed.
Now Hayley works the same shifts, does the same hours, and experiences the same tragedies – without getting paid.
“We just wanted to step in to help because that’s what we got into this career,” said Hayley.
“When I signed up I was at the end of my sophomore year so I didn’t really have much experience with death. Now I’ve seen it every day.
“To be that person who holds someone’s hand and knows they are going to die is a lot to bear – especially if you are not qualified.
“Some of the things I’ve seen will never leave me.”
Hayley had been working in a coronavirus department until August when her paid contract was cut.
Her university told her that she would have to go back to her 37 hours a week in the same hospital.
“It was a bit of a kick in the teeth to be honest,” said Hayley.
“In the last few months it has been very crowded again and now we are back where we were in the first wave.
“As students, we still do the same full-time hours, but this time we don’t get paid for it.
“Most of us work 37 hours a week on internships and then take other shifts on the side to actually make money to live on.
“We are absolutely exhausted and exhausted.”
Hayley had signed Covid-19 while working at the hospital in June and had to take three weeks off.
“We went up during the first wave and a lot of us got Covid-19,” she said.
“It actually got to a point where I had to call 111 because I was pretty scared – I was very breathless and I had a chest pain.
“These three weeks that I had free, I now have to make up for these hours, otherwise I won’t qualify on time.
“Many nursing students are currently lagging behind on their course just because they contracted coronavirus.”
Hayley has since written a letter to her MP asking the government to recognize the hard work she and other student nurses are doing.
In June, another student nurse named Jess Collins wrote to her MP, pleading for student nurses to be financially supported.
Welfare Secretary Helen Whately replied that she had no plans to backdate a financial support package to be rolled out to college students this fall.
She justified this decision by stating that students who were called to work on the Covid-19 front “do not provide any service”.
ONE Petition calling for nurses and midwives to be paid The work during Covid-19 has already reached more than 5,650 signatures and counts.
“I’d love to see ministers step on a congregation in Covid and see what students do day in and day out – it’s just not fair,” she said.
“We just feel like we have no recognition at all. We have nothing more to give.
“Many students are at the bank as health workers so they can take up paid work when they are not on the internship.”
Hayley says her total debt burden will be £ 55,000 this year after completing her three-year degree.
“We make this career because we care about the money and we don’t, but there are so many negatives right now,” she said.
“It was really hard to do all these hours on the wards and then do tasks.
“We’re all fed up with the way the government has treated us.”
Professor Mark Radford, Chief Nurse of Health Education England said: “Our priority is to ensure that students remain students, gain excess clinical experience to complete their studies and join the NHS and nursing services once they graduate.
“We are working with local systems to find out how they can best support their efforts while protecting students and their education after learning from the first wave.”