LETTER: Life of a nurse


In 1990 my wife qualified as a registered general nurse. She talks of the day the post man delivered the letter that told her she had passed her final exams. The pride was immense and she embarked on a career choice that she hoped would see her until old age!

She has since trained as a neonatal nurse, a midwife and a health visitor and these qualifications have taken her to the position she is in now. She has a diploma, a BA Honours degree and a Masters degree. She has worked shifts, weekends and Bank Holidays. She worked the Millennium until 10.30pm for not even a box of biscuits.

To be a nurse she has to pay an annual amount to the Nursing & Midwifery Council of £100 and this is being increased to £120 this year. This is not a union therefore she also pays an extra £160 per year for her union.

She is a community worker and has now had her monthly car user allowance removed. She drives over 200 miles a month and the petrol allowance is pitiful, not coming close to covering expenditure and even this is currently being reconsidered.

Yes there is an annual incremental pay increase in nursing but this only happens forthree-to-four years following a new job and is linked to performance. It prevents you ever having a pay rise with a “wow factor” as a better grade puts you on the incremental point above which you are already on. She has had no pay rise worth talking about for years and is currently on a pay freeze!

Her pension contributions have increased considerably and with the latest changes her pension now freezes in five years’ time meaning she cannot contribute into it after the age of 50 therefore it will be substantially lower than expected at the age of 60. This also means inputting into an alternative pension that she will not receive until the age of 67.

She went into nursing as she has a passion to care, not for the money. However over the years feels that nurses have been treated with utmost contempt by all Governments. She went on strike twice last year which is something I would never have thought possible.

She is so proud of what she has achieved in her career however in 25 years of nursing I have never known her work on a ward/in an environment that is adequately staffed, I have never known her to be anything but over worked and stressed and I have never known morale in nursing to be good. Consider carefully where you put your cross on May 7th.

Husband to a proud nurse

Name and address supplied