Healthcare students

UNISON is the largest trade union representing Health Care students.

We are dedicated to campaigning for a better deal for all healthcare students including Nursing, Midwifery Occupational Therapist, Operating Department Practitioners, Children’s Health, Health Visitors, Nursery Nurse Paramedics & Paramedic Practitioners, Social work, Podiatry, Mental Health and Dietetics students and run several campaigns around areas such as bursaries for nursing.

Health Care students are in a unique position as they work on the wards but do not have employment rights, and are students but do not adhere to a typical student calendar. Many nursing students work additional hours as healthcare assistants to survive the financial hardship they face. This is often exhausting and potentially detrimental to their studies.

UNISON has vast experience in representing students while they work as healthcare assistants throughout their training. As the future of the NHS, student nurses often need guidance. UNISON provides assistance and advice for our members throughout their three-year training

Even before you qualify, UNISON is there for you – standing up for students to make sure you get the most out of your training and placement.


Success stories

UNISON is the biggest union in healthcare and we are very good at looking after the interests of our members. This can be illustrated by a look at some of our recent successful campaigns that will affect you both as a student and when you qualify

NHS pay

In 2014, the government decided not to implement the pay rise recommended by the independent pay review body. A successful campaign led by UNISON forced the government to negotiate with the trade unions.

These negotiations resulted in an improved pay offer for NHS staff in England, Scotland and Wales. The deal ensured that the majority of staff, especially the lowest paid, would get a consolidated pay rise of 1% or more in 2015.

Maternity and paternity rights

Clare Fletcher, a UNISON member, was told she would be denied maternity pay because she was only a student midwife. UNISON demanded that Clare and other students be repaid bursary payments lost during maternity leave.

An employment appeals tribunal ruled in favour of the students and affirmed that they worked in the same environment, put in the same hours and undertook the same duties as qualified staff. The ruling, secured by UNISON, continues to benefit thousands of healthcare students.