Student nurses still consider emigrating despite promise of work in HSE

Emer Handly

The promise of permanent employment in the HSE is not enough to convince graduating nurses to stay in Ireland when working conditions are better abroad.

Student nurses and midwives still consider moving abroad upon graduation a better option for finding work.

This comes after Minister for Health Simon Harris announced that for the second year in a row nursing and midwifery graduates will be offered full time and permanent contracts.

“Although he has promised that there will be a job offer, it will still be at the lowest income. Frankly the conditions that nurses are working under really doesn’t encourage me to stay here,” said student nurse Karen White, a third year who will graduate from Trinity next year.

“The understaffing in wards is extremely unsafe at times. It is definitely sustainable to continue to offer all nurses jobs upon graduation, the hospitals are crying out for staff, but whether they are adequate jobs is another story.”

“I know from my year people have mixed feelings about it,” said Caoimhe Nic Seain, final year Trinity nursing student. “It’s great we are being offered jobs but sometimes they get offered a department they don’t like so they look for a position abroad.”

Minister Harris tweeted that “This year we will offer a full time and permanent job to every student nurse & midwife graduate in Ireland. Letter on its way to all of them. Delighted we are in a position to do this. As we invest in our health services & plan more beds & facilities, we need more frontline staff.”

Students are remaining sceptical due to the fact that last year these promises were not met.

Only 29.8 per cent of final year nursing students had been offered contracts by the HSE in 2017 and of those, only 16.3% had been offered permanent contracts in Ireland, according to a survey carried out by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

It also found that 78 per cent of nursing students were considering emigrating when they finish their degree.

“We educated sufficient nurses in Ireland, but export them to other countries where they are respected. We have a very serious recruitment and retention problem because of disgraceful pay, long hours and poor conditions,” said Mary Leahy, 1st Vice President of the INMO, in response to Harris’ tweet.

Emer Handly