Manitoba nursing students push for compensation whilst putting in the clinical hours

Click to play video: 'Manitoba nursing students facing financial concerns'
Manitoba nursing students facing financial concerns
Some Manitoba nursing students are speaking out over what they say are financial barriers facing students while going through practical training. Teagan Rasche has more on the challenges - and changes they're advocating for. – Feb 26, 2024

Nursing student Luigi Imbrogno, a board member of the Canadian Nursing Students Association (CNSA), is passionate about helping others, whether it’s patients or his colleagues.

Back in January, he attended the CNSA national conference where he met with other like-minded students.

“Being compensated for the clinical hours we are putting in is very important to us,” Imbrogno said.

As a student at RRC Polytech, he returned home from the conference invigorated to create change and advocate for better compensation for nursing students.

“We are paying upwards of $2,000 for the clinical course itself and then there’s the gas and mileage. We can be placed anywhere within 100 km,” Imbrogno said.

He says despite the many out-of-pocket costs, students are also discouraged from having a part-time job as nursing programs are demanding.

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“On top of paying for parking, your uniform, your shoes, meals, it does really add up for students,” Imbrogbo said.

His fellow nursing student, Chelsea Wotton, can attest to the practical-related expenses and challenges.

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“The cost of parking. Depending on what time you arrive it can be up to $25 a day,” Wotton said. “Also, just preparation because we go in the day before so now you have to pay for an additional couple of hours of parking to research your patient.”

Imbrogno adds since March 2023, Grace Hospital has offered free parking to all students as a recruitment and retention strategy.

“They have seen great results,” Imbrodgno said.

He hopes other hospitals can offer that too.

Sarah Mohammed, who’s also a nursing student, understands the challenges her colleagues face.

“It’s not too much for me just because I can get dropped off; other than that it would just be busing expenses. But I have also been wearing the same uniform and shoes for two years now,” Mohammed said.

After consulting with nursing students across Manitoba, Imbrogno decided to take action.

Over the last few weeks he’s reached out to Manitoba hospital leadership teams and members of the provincial government hoping to start a dialogue, but says he hasn’t heard back.

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“Nursing programs across Manitoba are accelerating, they are adding more spots but those equal supports aren’t being offered to nursing students,” Imbrogno said.

Global News spoke briefly with Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara late Monday. The minister said they appreciate Imbrogno’s letter and are committed to listening to health care students. Asagwara added they encourage students to speak with their schools and placements with their concerns, too.

Imbrogno and his colleagues know change likely won’t happen while they’re still students, but they hope the next generation of nurses will have an easier time as they work towards their dream careers.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba to build stronger nursing capacity, move away from reliance on agencies'
Manitoba to build stronger nursing capacity, move away from reliance on agencies

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