A CITY mum who was forced to give up her family home and move back in with her parents just to retrain as a nurse has made a heartfelt plea to ministers not to make it harder for mature students to enter the profession.
Grace Paige, who is in the second year of a mental health nursing degree at the University of Worcester, was part of a group invited to Westminster by the Royal College of Nursing to share their personal experiences with both MPs and peers.
The aspiring nurse spoke out ahead of a proposal in Parliament today which calls on the Government to reverse the planned axe on financial support for those on postgraduate nursing courses.
“I think it is a disgrace the Government is removing bursaries for postgraduate nursing courses,” said the 30-year-old.
“They have already removed bursaries for undergraduates, which has led to a massive drop in applications, and this will further damage our ability to attract new people into the profession.
“I’m lucky I was part of the last group to get a bursary, so this doesn’t directly affect me, but I have to stand up for those students coming forward in the future,” she added.
Grace and her husband made the decision to give up their family home in Cirencester and each move back in with their parents 18 months ago, so Grace could pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
“We have a young son and I didn’t want to have to work alongside my studies to get by,” she said. “This way I can focus just on my studying, training and looking after our son.”
Grace moved back into her parents’ home in Worcester, with their three-year-old, while her husband moved back in with his parents in Cirencester so he remained close to work.
“We see each other at weekends,” she said. “It’s not ideal, but it’s only for a short time until I finish my degree.”
The former Rushwick Primary School and The Chase pupil said: “It was a fantastic experience to have the opportunity to go to Westminster and be part of this campaign. I really hope that we can make a difference.”
More than 60 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) to call on the Government to drop its plans to remove the student nurse bursary.
The EDM was set up by Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, and has been backed by a number of other MPs including former nurse and Conservative MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield.
While its unlikely to lead to a debate among MPs, campaigners hope to draw attention to the issue and force the Government to rethink the proposed axe.