Student nurses will continue to leave the country in droves unless the government take action and address their concerns.
Hundreds of nurses across Cork were on strike yesterday as around 40,000 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) took part in industrial action across Ireland.
Student nurse at the Mercy University Hospital, Ethan O’Regan, is due to qualify in October.
He told the Echo that the government's action or inaction in the coming weeks will play a big part in whether or not he and his classmates stay to practice in Ireland or look abroad.
“What happens in the next two or three weeks will have a huge effect on my decision,” said Mr O’Regan.
“I have job offers from England where I’d be on the same pay as allied health professionals like physiotherapists.
“They offer greater advancement opportunities, they’re really big into further education,” he added.
“I’ve been assured that if I stay there for two years, they’ll pay for my Masters and pay for me to specialise.
“They want the best trained nurses from Ireland to work in their hospitals and they’re willing to pay what we deserve for us.
“At the moment, nurses are flooding over to the UK from Ireland because there’s nothing to keep them here.” While he said offers from abroad are coming thick and fast, Mr O’Regan revealed the HSE are yet to table any contract or interview offers.
“Simon Harris previously promised that every student nurse would be offered a job when they graduate,” he said.
“That came into effect last year but still so many left.
“We have been told by our senior staff here in the Mercy that we will be offered interviews here in July but I don’t think many will stay,” he added.
“I think across the board, students in Ireland won’t say unless our requests are met.”