Nursing students AUT cared for convicts, put in uncomfortable or dangerous situations on internship – student

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Photo: Unsplash / Hush Naidoo Jade

More harrowing stories have emerged about the treatment of nursing students AUT.

Nursing students have been required to work a minimum of 1,100 unpaid clinical hours in addition to full-time studies, with no payment or reimbursement for gasoline or hospital parking.

Many were also juggling jobs to make ends meet.

And while AUT said it took student wellbeing seriously, more students have come forward describing placements in uncomfortable or dangerous situations.

“Just go out and eat some fruit and you’ll be fine,” AUT responded to the concerns of its nursing students on clinical internships, said third-year student Chelsea Torrance.

Every day, Torrance saw new posts on a Facebook group for nursing students that showed how concerned the students were about their degrees.

Concerned for their well-being, Torrance collected the stories of 20 more students into a Google doc in which the students could remain anonymous.

“I’ve done countless internships, with 40-hour weeks being unpaid – 60 minutes of driving each way, parking fees, gas and free time,” said one student.

“AUT is disgusting, disorganized, distasteful and harmful to the well-being of students – especially nursing students,” said another.

“AUT knows you by your student number, not by your name or your face.”

Torrance said AUT placed students in uncomfortable or dangerous situations during clinical internships during training.

In an extreme example, she said that last year AUT placed her in a dementia ward as a sophomore with convicted rapists and murderers.

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“We literally feared for our lives because they could snap in one second and then a six-foot man holds you against the wall.”

She asked to be moved, but her clinical educator told her there were no other placements available, other than the women’s section of the same department, she said.

Torrance said AUT continued to send students to this clinical internship even after the students raised serious concerns about their safety.

“Even if we had started our next internship a little later, we wouldn’t have mind – we just wanted to get out of there.

“Everyone was terrified to go to that placement every day, but we still had to make those hours or we would fail.”

In a response from AUT, the university says it has taken student feedback into account and will no longer use this internship.

But other students shared Torrance’s fear that the university was failing them:

“There is no such thing as a B or C pupil.”

“You have to be an A student, otherwise you have to retake it.”

“This creates so much stress and pressure that I ended up on ED with an anxiety attack and palpitations before I had to take an exam.”

“I’m 21 years old. This is not okay.”

AUT Auckland University of Technology

File image.
Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Chief of Nursing at AUT Stephen Neville said that while the university focused on student success, it also had to consider public safety when graduate nurses enter the workforce.

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“Some students may fail, but we will give students other opportunities to be successful.”

Neville said the school gave students several opportunities to demonstrate competence, which could result in a student’s graduation being delayed rather than being written off completely.

Responding to criticism that students have to travel long distances for their clinical internship, he said there was only a limited pool of internships that universities shared among themselves.

“The option is either no clinical experience for the student, in which case they will not be able to complete the requirements for the course, or to be able to travel to the other side of Auckland – and I’m sorry if a student has to do that, but I would prefer they have the opportunity to be successful in the program through clinical [placements].”

Neville said AUT had a fund to support students financially.

The fund did not specifically cover student travel costs, but was kept flexible to accommodate the diverse needs of students, he said.

However, some students said that this support was difficult to access and that students had little say in the location of their internship.

A third-year AUT nursing student told RNZ she wouldn’t advise anyone to take a nursing degree:

“F*** no, stay away from it – don’t even think about it.”

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RNZ presented this opinion to Neville. He replied, “I think it’s totally unprofessional of someone wanting to be a nurse to use the F-word. It doesn’t resonate particularly well with me.”

Neville also said any student who had concerns about anything related to their degree or internship could contact him directly.

Figures from AUT show that of the 1,085 students enrolled in 2017-2019, only 612 or 56 percent had completed the three-year degree.

Neville said he was not aware of the statistics.

Te Whatu Ora, Ministry of Health looks at further support

Health Minister Andrew Little acknowledged “there are some problems” in nurse training.

“Especially at the end of that third year, in the final placement,” he told Checkpoint.

The Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora were looking at what measures or further support could be offered to stop the dropout of students in their senior year, he said.

When asked whether third-year nursing students should be paid, Little said they “should receive some form of support during that final internship as they are about to graduate and are therefore eligible to become a registered nurse.” to become”.

Little said that AUT was not the only place training nurses in New Zealand and in fact there were “record numbers of students in our nursing schools … and we are producing a record number of graduates”.