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No Rest for the Dedicated

The debt that students are accumulating is more than their work’s worth in debt - and given the pressures of work experience on the wards, it speaks volumes.

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How is it possible to lead a fulfilling nursing career when you leave your degree bundled in debt?

When it comes to university studies, final year is defined by extended working hours, high-pressure situations and life-changing decisions.

It seems a bizarre concept that students are paying to work. Just let that sink in for a second.

It harks back to 2020, when students started their careers early to support the NHS response to the pandemic.

There is certainly a larger conversation to be had about the pressures on our healthcare industry and university fees respectively.

But with tuition fees showing no sign of slowing, is it fair to students to have to pay so much as well as work long and challenging shifts?

We’ve heard it from the picket line already - "there's so much work on the wards that everyone is burnt out,” which could put students off studying medicine and nursing altogether.

Ultimately, those in medical professions are leaving their degrees with an average of £30,000 to think about. It gets worse, as the longer they spend studying, the more likely they are to accumulate study debts of £100,000.

A life riddled with debt and a high-pressure job amid a cost-of-living crisis? It doesn’t bear thinking about. So how can we fast-track this debt to being paid off?

How can we unload the debt?

There is no quick-fire way to eradicate debt but there are ways and means to take back financial control for students.

If you’re feeling anxious about your financial situation, the most important step is to have an overview of your finances. What’s coming in? What’s going out? How could you cut back your spending or increase your income?

Of course, no one wants to be told to cut back on their spending or change their lifestyle in drastic ways and anyone’s reaction to this is likely to be negative, especially for students already facing financial setbacks.

There are two main options when it comes to clearing debt. With options for those who can afford to pay off their debts and those who can’t.

If you belong to the latter, you’re not alone.

Despite leaving university with a large amount of debt, it’s important not to feel isolated by your financial worries. There is help and assistance available so you can get back to your life, without an added burden to think about.

If you’re in a position to pay off debts, it’s important to prioritise them:

  1. Debt Emergencies

  2. Priority Debts

  3. Non-priority Debts

Once you have this clarity you’re then ready to move forward.

Of course, it really shouldn’t have to be this way. But until a logical way to provide work experience and make up for the extra work carried out by soon-to-be graduates, it’s best to stay one step ahead of the curve.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed but that doesn’t mean you have to feel powerless. It might be difficult to believe, but in nursing and healthcare, it’s very much possible to earn more than your average starting salary - even as a new graduate.

Want to know how? Stay tuned for our next issue.

If you’re struggling and can’t afford to pay off your debts, the Money Advice Service offer a whole host of debt management plans, debt relief orders and free debt advice.


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