Studying and training to be a nurse or health professional is exciting but can be stressful and challenging at times. You are often providing direct patient care but have essays to worry about whilst managing your clinical placements and supporting yourself through your studies. That’s why it’s important not to struggle alone. UNISON is the biggest trade union in the NHS and our branches and networks are always available to support you if you need help. We are the UK’s largest trade union with over 1.3 million members, 80% of which are women. We are also the largest trade union within the NHS.
Being a member of a union is more than just having access to representation when you need it, it’s about being part of a movement.
Until August 2017, Healthcare students received a bursary in recognition of their working 50% of their three years training on the wards. This has now been taken away and replaced by student loans. This has had a detrimental effect on people signing up to train – both in numbers and the age of the students.
The number of mature students has greatly reduced, whether it is those looking to build on their experience and knowledge as Health Care Assistants, those looking to start second careers or others returning to work after bringing up families.
Matt Hannock announced in 2020 that Students would be entitled to a 5k grant per year, which will not have to be repaid by recipients. UNISON’s view remains the same and that is that the bursary should be re-instated, a 5k grant is not enough. We continue to campaign to bring back the bursary!
Now, more than ever, students need the support of a trade union when working on the wards. We also have an ongoing campaign for safe staffing levels in England as there is currently no law around safe staffing. The key reason UNISON wants legislation is because voluntary and guidance measures are not effective.
You can read more about what UNISON does here.
It has never been more important to join a trade union if you work in the NHS! For just £10 a year you will receive access to all the same benefits as a full paying member.