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Thursday 14 December 2017

'I became a nurse to help vulnerable people, now we're the vulnerable ones' - Student nurses share their experiences

Caitlin Griffin goes behind the headlines to speak to student nurses about how the health system affects them

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Caitlin Griffin

Recent figures have shown that hospitals in Ireland are understaffed and their nurses are over worked, but student nurses are especially feeling the strain.

As a part of their degree, student nurses are required to do work experience in different wards and in different hospitals. Here they see first-hand what is expected of them and the daily pressures of being an over-worked nurse.

Maeve (20), a nursing student at the National University of Ireland Galway, knows first hand the demands and pressures that nurses are facing on a daily basis.

“Overcrowding and inadequate staffing levels put too much pressure and stress on nurses every day. It’s only getting worse as time goes on,” she said.

Maeve described the working conditions as “an exhausting and intolerable environment to work in” and said it has a knock-on effect on patients as “it impacts the quality of care they receive”.

She said that “staffing levels need to be increased” if Ireland wants their new nurses to stay.

NUIG nursing student, Niamh (20) said she never dreamed that nursing would be so stressful.

“I once dreamed of being the person who makes someone better, reassures someone at a time they feel most vulnerable, but most importantly care for someone in a manner that you wish to be treated. But now, we the nurses, are the vulnerable ones. This is what scares me."

She explained that it was “disheartening” when a qualified nurse tells you to “leave [the country] as soon as you get the chance”.

"We can’t learn to care for others if the nurses teaching [them] aren’t cared for themselves. It’s time nursing became a caring profession again."

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