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The Union of Students in Ireland (USI), student representatives and student nurses gathered outside Dáil Éireann today (Thursday 6th February) at 11.30 am to launch the ‘Everyone Loves Nurses’ campaign. The launch is taking place ahead of a larger demonstration that will take place in a fortnight at the HSE.

The starting salary for newly graduated nurses is now €22,000, a drop of €4,000 from the past starting salary of €26,000.  The same graduate nurses can earn far more abroad, up to €43,614 in Canada.

When student nurses are interning they earn €6.49 per hour for the duration of the 9 month intern-ship, this works out as 50% of the starting graduate salary. In previous years this used to be 80% of the starting salary.

USI and student nurses from across the country are telling Minister James Reilly, who previously said they can “emigrate or work in a fast food service if unhappy”, that they’ve had enough.

USI President Joe O’Connor said: “The message to Minister Reilly today is loud and clear; change the starting salary level back to €26,000 for newly graduated nurses.

This drop in starting salary is actively encouraging young graduate nurses to emigrate. Our hospitals need nurses to stay in Ireland to work. Understaffing is already a massive issue in the healthcare sector; conditions need to change now, starting with increasing the starting wage. Everyone has a right to a living wage, especially hard working nurses”.

There will be photo opportunities at the launch, with student nurses dressed in scrubs and using hospital props to get across the message to Minister James Reilly that salary changes need to be made before under staffing and emigration reaches epidemic levels.

USI President Joe O’Connor, USI officers, local Students’ Union officers and student nurses will all be available for comment on the day.

Follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #everyonelovesnurses.

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