Post from “incredibly stressed” student nurse goes viral on Facebook

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Sarah Biddlecombe

They are the backbone of every hospital and doctor's surgery, but it is a sad fact of life that nurses rarely get the recognition they deserve.

Despite being at the forefront of patient care - and more often than not going far beyond their usual duties of drawing blood, doling out medication and liaising with friends and family - many nurses still feel they are both underpaid and overworked.

Now, a number of nurses, midwives and students working in Irish hospitals have taken to a Facebook group, called 'Support for Nurses, Midwives and Frontline Staff in Ireland' to share their frustrations. One story in particular has hit such a nerve that it has since gone viral.

Written anonymously by an "incredibly stressed" student nurse struggling to make ends meet on her salary, the post begins, "Today, yet again like so many other times, I have broken down crying wondering why the hell I bothered pursuing a degree in nursing."

"This morning I woke up ill, with a sore throat, blocked sinuses, a headache and to top it off I have vertigo. I contemplated phoning in sick but thought the day hospital are already short of staff and over worked. They need me." 


"I contemplated phoning in sick... but they need me"

The post, which has garnered nearly 10,000 likes since it was broadcast last Monday, describes the conflicting struggles faced by the student, who is also a single mum, as she attempts to look after her child, make it through 12 hour shifts and put food on the table despite her low salary.

"Off I drove, rushing to try get my daughter to school (I am a lone parent) in a car I can’t afford, wondering how I am going to pay for petrol as I am already nearly out, AGAIN. Also worrying about how I am going to pay for food for the rest of the week as I only have £21.54 and need to buy petrol. 

"When I got into work I received a phone call from the only other nurse due in that day to tell me she was sick with a fever. I had only been placed in the day hospital 3 days previous and was told that day I would be left with full responsibility of approximately 20+ patients suffering from various mental health issues... I had very minimal knowledge and how to manage the place, in fact nearly no knowledge and I feel that amount of responsibility should not be left with a student who has never been in a day hospital." 


"I feel that amount of responsibility should not be left with a student who has never been in a day hospital."

In between detailing the various factors that might her job as a nurse feel unmanageable, the student shared some heartbreaking words of advice to anyone hoping to go into a career in nursing - namely saying that they should reconsider their future career.

"Words cannot express how miserable I was today and have been on so many occasions in the past. If anyone asked me advice on pursuing a career in nursing I would strongly advise against it. It is by far the worst decision I ever made. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive for Great Britain) is shockingly understaffed and over worked. 

"When I qualify I will still be struggling and getting paid fuck all! It’s not fair that the only option that will see me and my daughter have the quality of life we are entitled to and deserve, is to leave my own bloody country. It makes no sense whatsoever. It makes my blood boil."

She signs the post, which has also attracted over 800 comments of support, with, "from a really worn out student nurse on the brink of giving up".

You can read the full post below.


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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