Nicola is a loyal, full-time IKEA employee who is an enthusiastic hill walker stating that she loves "bagging munros" and spending lots of time with her dog. In her spare time Nicola volunteers as a Community First Responder for the Scottish Ambulance Service helping support medical emergencies while an ambulance is on its way she does all of this in her local community.
Financial difficulties and the lack of ability to save money to support herself whilst living away from home to study is something that Nicola is very concerned about however is looking forward to learning new skills and meeting new people.
Nicola highlighted her concerns as a mature student about her finances and ability to make ends meet each month. Nicola will be spending £100 alone on travelling via train to her university every month. For many students railcards are not available for use before 10am so general fares always apply.
I am extremely concerned. As a mature student, I now have a car to pay for, as well as all other bills such as mobile phone, car insurance, dig money etc. I will also be around £100 a month for the train to uni. I've taken out a student loan however will still be on less money than I am earning at the moment. I am really worried I will have to quit my job while studying and if placement gets too intense due to shift lengths and times. I am worried about how fatigued I will be working 30-40 hours per week at placement including nightshifts, and also keeping a part time job. I am worried I will not be able to save any money to move out from my mum's house.
Pay Student Paramedics asked Nicola a few questions about her current life and how she is expecting this to be impacted.
How is your life at the moment and how do you expect this to change?
Currently I work full time, so in order to manage a full time student life I will be cutting my hours. I am expecting to be spending a lot more money on travel and spending a lot more hours in my house studying. My life will become busier, although I hope to keep up my volunteering as a Community First Responder.
Imagine yourself in three years. What do you hope will be different about you compared to now?
I hope to gain a huge and vast range of knowledge into the job of Paramedic. I hope to gain confidence with speaking to patients and develop myself as a person. I hope that in 3 years I have been exposed to many different scenarios in life due to the course, therefore gaining life experience and widening my perspective and views on the world.
What does the Pay Student Paramedics campaign mean to you?
The campaign means a lot to me. If a bursary was given, it would make a world of difference to myself and all other students studying paramedic science. I deem the campaign to be necessary and not asking for anything too much. It is asking for fairness and support, which means a lot to me.
What would being granted a bursary like that received by student nurses and midwifes mean to you?
Receiving a bursary would take off so much stress and pressure. It would mean I can continue saving for my own house. It would mean I am not scraping by every month. It would mean I won't struggle to pay for the train to university every month. It would be fair.
Pay Student Paramedics also asked Nicola if she had anything that she would like to add. This is what she had to say:
I think a bursary for the Paramedic Science course is necessary. As with nurses and midwives, our placement hours will be intense and long. I deem it to be only fair to grant a bursary to the Paramedic Science course, as this has the same layout as the nursing and midwifery course and the same financial stresses that come along with full time studying.