Press Release

Tánaiste confirms review of decision on pay for student nurse clinical placement

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Ms. Mary Coughlan, has today (Friday, 11 February) confirmed that she has asked the Secretary General of her Department to review the rationale for the total abolition of clinical placement payments to student nurses.

The Government had decided that the payment to student nurses during the period of their clinical placement should be reduced on a phased basis over the period 2012 to 2014 and should be abolished entirely from January 2015. Having considered the matter following her appointment as Minister for Health and Children, the Tánaiste considers that there is a strong argument in favour of retaining some level of payment to student nurses and intends, following the review, to bring a revised proposal to Government.

Confirming her move, the Tánaiste said: “Unlike the practice in other countries, student nurses in Ireland have been treated as paid employees for part of their education programme while still having the same status as other university students. On the other hand, staff nurses are currently replaced on a two to one ratio by student nurses on clinical placement and these student nurses undertake similar duties and rosters to staff nurses.

“I think there is a need to review the existing clinical placement and replacement ratio arrangements and I believe there may be a case in that context to reinstate some financial reward for student nurses during their clinical placements.

“Accordingly, I have asked the Secretary General of the Department of Health and Children to review the rationale for the total abolition of the clinical placement payment to student nurses with a view to retaining some level of payment during this period.

“I intend that a revised proposal will then be brought to Government that will be self-financing and contained within the parameters of my Department’s four-year current budget allocation.”

The Tánaiste confirmed that the review would not impact on the Government decision to reduce by 10% the pay of new entrants to the public service and that new entrants should generally start at the minimum point of the salary scale. The review will also not impact on the arrangements already introduced for student nurses in 2011.