Cash Strapped Nurses Turning Using Payday Loans to Stay Afloat
October 26, 2016
As any student nurse can attest to, it can be rather expensive and time-consuming to become a nurse.
Because of the financial pressures involved in becoming nurses, midwives, and healthcare professionals, a growing number of students are turning to payday loans and food banks, says a new survey.
According to Unison, a public service union, 20 percent of nursing students took out payday loans from services that offer instant money with no credit check to make ends meet. Also, 10 percent conceded to using food banks to feed themselves or their families. The survey revealed that there are numerous financial pressures facing student nurses.
Moreover, the poll discovered that two-thirds of student nurses work additional jobs to supplement their income. This means that not only are they studying to be nurses, they are also taking on extra work. Many of them are working in the healthcare industry, while others are working as servers or bartenders.
Overall, 86 percent of student nurses admitted to being in the red and owing thousands of dollars.
“There appears to be no end to the misery heaped upon healthcare students by a government that seems to driven by cutting costs,” said Christina McAnea, Unison’s head of health, in a statement. “This report shows many healthcare workers are already suffering from debt and working excess hours just to keep their heads above water.”
The survey was conducted between September 2015 and June 2016 with 726 student nurses.
Is this a shock? Not really, says Josie Irwin, a member of the Royal College of Nursing.
“It is no surprise,” Irwin told the Metro newspaper. “They put up with the rise in the cost of living because of their commitment to caring for patients, but they can only be stretched so far.”
This isn’t the first study to find that student nurses are utilizing payday loans. In 2015, CashFloat, a British payday lender, discovered that 11 percent of nurses applied for a payday loan. This is up from six percent in 2013. With payday loans remaining ubiquitous, the numbers likely rose this year.
Is this negatively affecting their studies or their career? If one-quarter are working up to 10 hours per week and one in seven working a minimum of 21 hours, it can be deduced that it is hurting them.
“Students want a salary that reflects their unpaid work onwards and which stops them worrying about running up huge debts or taking on other jobs that will prevent them from concentrating on their studies. They won’t have to work excessive hours or revert to relying on food banks to eat,” McAnea added.
With many nurses, both professional and students, having families at home and having to bear the brunt of inflation, payday loans remain an attractive option for many of them.
“Besides long hours and intense pressure at work, I am forced to take payday loans to pay my bills and support my family,” another National Health Service (NHS) nurse told the British newspaper.
As Great Britain faces a nursing shortage and tight budgets, it is quite likely this trend of being overworked, underpaid and stressed out will continue. There is no relief in sight.