Young nurses speak out: ‘Here I’m just being thrown into the muck’
Two young Irish nurses say their overseas counterparts get a much better deal
Tara Moran: “It’s just the opportunities and salaries are better abroad”. Photograph: Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation
Ms Moran has already been offered a permanent contract from a British hospital as soon as she finishes her 36-week nursing placement and final year of studies this summer.
The UK National Health Service has offered her £1,000 to cover moving costs, £250 spending money to help her settle in when she arrives, six weeks’ free rent while she looks for a new home, and a nursing mentor to show her the ropes at the new hospital.
Her new place of work will also offer further training in oncology and the possibility of completing a master’s degree.
She is one of four in her nursing class of 38 who have already been offered a job abroad. She says the rest are looking for work in the UK and Australia, while those opting to stay in Ireland are looking for opportunities in the private sector.
“It’s just the opportunities and salaries are better abroad,” she says. “I did a 12-week placement in the UK and I could already see the difference between working here and working abroad. It’s just so much more appealing.
She is completing her nursing placement at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, and she says Irish hospitals provide little support for their interns and graduates.
“Here I’m just being thrown into the muck and told this is what my job is. I understand that, but at the same time I want some sort of guidance.”
Ms McLoughlin decided she wanted to become a nurse after doing work experience at a local hospital during transition year. The final year nursing student is now faced with the harsh reality that she may not be able to pursue her dream at home in Ireland.
She is currently working as an intern nurse in Galway and is already in contact with a representative from the Australian healthcare industry about jobs for new graduates. She says conditions in Irish hospitals are terrible and that nurses are “underpaid and undervalued”.
Most of her friends have already found work in hospitals in Leeds, Birmingham and Edinburgh, which they will begin later this year. She says at least 70 per cent of her class are planning to leave the country.
“They would stay here if it was worth it. I’m working with nurses who have been qualified for years but they’re saying it’s not worth it. They love nursing but they’re just like, ‘It’s not worth the stress, it’s not worth this.’ ”
McLoughlin loves her job but needs more support to keep going.
“I like the caring aspect and meeting people. Even when I was young I always looked after my granny when she was sick. I liked biology in school, so the whole thing tied in together for me, really. I love nursing, I want to do this job but I don’t know what to do. I will definitely keep looking abroad.”