COLUMN: Trainee nurses set to benefit from new loan system

Chesterfield launch. L-R Michelle Brown Dept Hd of Healthcare Practice, Duke of Devonshire, Mayor/Mayoress � Steve Brunt, Jill Manion-Brunt and Kath Mitchell VC University of Derby
Chesterfield launch. L-R Michelle Brown Dept Hd of Healthcare Practice, Duke of Devonshire, Mayor/Mayoress � Steve Brunt, Jill Manion-Brunt and Kath Mitchell VC University of Derby

As the government pledges to find 10,000 more nursing, midwifery and allied health training places for the NHS by 2020, Michelle Brown of the University of Derby’s Chesterfield Campus – St Helena, explains how a new funding system will enable more people to take the undergraduate route into this rewarding career.

There has been a great deal of controversy over the announcement of changes to the way nursing and other health professionals training is funded, but one of the aims of the new system is to increase opportunities for everyone.

The government has decided to stop nursing bursaries, which paid student nurses as they learned. From August 1, pre-registration nursing students – those entering the profession before registering as professionals with Nursing and Midwifery Council – will be on the same loan system as other undergraduates.

The idea of taking up a student loan should not be a barrier to training at the University of Derby, and under the changes some grants are more generous than in the past.

And the good news is that for a nurse starting on an NHS band five salary of £21,909 a year, loan repayments could work out at just £6.81 a month.

At the spectacular new Chesterfield Campus, the University of Derby has invested in the latest equipment in order to prepare nurses for current and future healthcare provision. A variety of teaching approaches have been incorporated into the curriculum and areas like ‘mock’ wards and the use of interactive mannequins as patients to practice on helps to make learning meaningful and transferable to the clinical setting where they currently spend half their time learning. The aim is to open up careers in the health service to local people.

There are also a number of additional health and social care programmes which can lead you into varied careers in the health and social care.

When you make an application to the Student Loans Company the tuition fees are transferred to the University automatically – you don’t have to get involved with that process. The living cost loan is paid directly to you. And you only start paying back the loans when you earn above £21k when you pay nine per cent of any income above £21,000. If your income drops below the threshold you stop having to repay it.

There are also special allowances, for example the Childcare Grant, Adult Dependant Grant and Parental Learning. For more: www.derby.ac.uk/chesterfield.