Issue no.1 – Tears, sweat and placements

Often the work from nursing and medical students guarantees that the ward is ticking over. And what do they get in return for working 12-hour shifts? They get the privilege to pay for that pleasurable experience themselves. If you want to become a nurse in other European countries they at least have the decency to pay you. For students the rent situation is even more atrocious! No wonder that still one in four nursing students don’t finish their degree and that in 2022 there were 10% less new student nurses compared to the previous years. While 40,000 nurses left the job that year, less than 30,000 student nurses enrolled.

Medical and nursing students come in with a fresh eye and aspirations. For them the contrast between the ideal to put patients first and the reality of a health system in crisis appears still sharp and painful. The hope that we don’t just medicate patients, but that we get to the roots of what is making them and us sick is often crushed by hospital daily-life. We really need their fresh view and idealism! Most of us got a bit jaded by the job and had to accept things as they are. We should ask them how they see the new world they enter!

And they develop a lot of experiences during their various placements, from hospital to community settings. They can build a bridge between the hospital and the university. Social changes often started in universities and if we look at places like France we still see a lot of positive rebellious energies coming out of them. In Germany the group Kritische Medizinstudierende (critical medical students) discuss the shortcomings of the curriculum together, develop a more critical understanding of what role poverty and oppression has when it comes to illness, and they support local strikes of fellow health workers.

In the coming issues of Vital Signs we will interview nursing and medical students about their experiences. If you are interested in talking to us, get in touch!

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