Your Budget: 'We need pay parity with other health professionals'
HE qualified just three years ago, but nurse Clarence Soliman is leaving the profession to return to university.
"If I'm going to be used and abused as a nurse, and if the service requires me to be overstretched and working so hard, I'd rather do it as a doctor," said Mr Soliman (23), who works in the Emergency Department of a busy Dublin hospital.
After he graduated, like many of his peers, Mr Soliman was tempted by the perks and career opportunities offered in the UK and Australia.
"Three years down the line and looking back to how things were when I first qualified, you try to stay positive, and it did prepare us for going into the profession because we were trained in such pressurised conditions," he said.
He would like clarity on the announcement of 1,800 additional frontline staff and if this refers to nurses.
He also wants pay parity with other healthcare professionals such as physio, speech and occupational therapists.
"If we get the bodies to open up wards so that patients aren't left in emergency departments for days on end, that's a start, if we're talking about additional staff in an acute setting. But I hope they realise they also need to budget for education to retrain or upskill these staff," he added.
Mr Soliman has been qualified for three years so is on a salary of €32,000, but he says changes to USC and tax bands only accentuate the low pay that nurses are on.
"I'm only three years qualified but in the Emergency Department I would be seen as one of the senior staff," he said.
On a nurse's salary, he finds it hard to afford to live in Dublin but working shifts makes a long commute out of the question from a safety point of view.
"The work is so intense, and the conditions we work under are so exhausting, that sometimes I wonder why I did nursing at all. The only reason I go to work is because it is a vocation and I want to help people," he added.