Student nurse rejects Minister's comments: "I've been caring for patients since day one"

22 June 2020, 14:47 | Updated: 22 June 2020, 15:22

By Seán Hickey

This student nurse said the Health Minister has completely undermined the work nurses have done during the pandemic.

Linda is a student nurse that was working in the NHS throughout the coronavirus pandemic but told James O'Brien that comments made by Health Minister Helen Whately were deeply insulting. Ms Whately stated that student nurses are not deemed to be providing a service after many have been told their contracts will be terminated.

Linda spoke about how her trust have extended her contract but she is one of the lucky ones, as many student nurses will soon be without work. "it is more down to Health Education England than it is down to the trust" she said.

James got down to brass tacks, asking the student nurse whether she is "providing a service at the moment or not." When Linda laughed off the question James maintained his argument, stating that "this is the Minister for Health that has suggested that student nurses are not deemed to be providing a service."

"I've been caring for my patients since day one" she said. "We absolutely are part of the team and I'm providing care daily."

This student nurse was deeply offended by the words of the Health Minister
This student nurse was deeply offended by the words of the Health Minister. Picture: PA

James dissected the comments of Ms Whately, coming up with the conclusion that "you're not even there to make up the numbers, you're there to learn...you're not actually contributing to nursing care."

"It's made us feel devalued again" the student said. James backed her up, acknowledging that although Linda has been paid and guaranteed a job "it's this idea that you're not deemed to be providing a service that is offensive so take away the money, but tell the truth of why you're doing it."

Linda summed up the issues for her and her colleagues by addressing the Clap for NHS movement. "They clap for the NHS on Thursday but, there are no actions to their clap" she said, demanding those in leadership do more to support nurses and student nurses.

James joked about the comments of the Health Minister by telling Linda that "obviously we now need to withdraw those applause because we've subsequently discovered that you were not providing a service after all."

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