UNISON is the UK's largest health union. Over 400,000 people working in the NHS and for private contractors providing NHS services are members and more than 60,000 UNISON members work in the NHS in Scotland. UNISON is the largest trade union representing student nurses and midwives. We recognise the value that students bring to the workplace, and are proud to represent the future professionals in healthcare in our country.
We are dedicated to campaigning for a better deal for nursing and midwifery students and run several campaigns around areas such as bursaries for nursing. Nursing and midwifery 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, and UNISON are there to help.
UNISON Scotland provides assistance and advice for our members throughout their three-year training and should something go wrong UNISON provides legal assistance and is the only trade union which provides full Professional Indemnity which covers malpractice claims for all health care employees. This is vitally important as indemnity cover is now a legal requirement on a professional register. For information on our indemnity cover have a look at the leaflet link below.
UNISON, the union for students in Scotland's caring professions
Get all the benefits of a union now and in the future. Become a member of UNISON and your first, second and third year will be covered by your UNISON Scotland branch. This means your cover is absolutely free.
The NMC regulates the professional standards that nurses and midwives must uphold in order to be registered to practise in the UK. The code is structured around four themes – prioritise people, practise effectively, preserve safety and promote professionalism and trust.
UNISON Scotland defends many cases where a professional’s fitness to practise has been called into question. For more information on the Code of Conduct, accountability and fitness to practise, click the following links
NMC Code of Conduct
Duty of care
UNISON has a duty of care document and more recently an app to allow health care professionals to exercise their accountability by reporting incidences of unsafe or unacceptable standards of care in the workplace, highlighting areas where safety or professional registration may be at risk.
For more information on the importance of duty of care follow:
Check out https://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/health-care/representing-you/nursing/ for UNISON advice about workplace problems especially for students and young employees.
Getting the most you’re your placements
Finding a Job
Managing your Bursary
UNISON Scotland 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.
In 2018, the government decided not to implement the pay rise via the normal route as recommended by the independent pay review body. A successful campaign led by UNISON forced the government to negotiate with the trade unions and brought about the biggest rise we have seen in many years.
negotiations resulted in an improved pay offer for NHS staff in England,
Scotland and Wales. The deal in Scotland ensured that the majority of staff, especially the
lowest paid, would get a consolidated pay rise of 3% in 2018 and cumulatively 9% or more over a 3 year period.
Maternity and paternity rights
A UNISON member, was told she would be denied maternity pay because she was only a student midwife. UNISON demanded that she 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.
Have you ever considered getting actively involved in UNISON?
Maybe you have or maybe you haven't. Either way here are ten good reasons to consider getting involved:
1) Know whats going on. You'll get to know more about what's going on at college and in your practice areas.
2) Go further. It will help you develop by providing new opportunities for education, training and personal development.
3) Become a representative. You'll be contributing something, no matter how little you do. You could be a college contact - making sure members receive information, acting as a link, between members and the union.
4) Provide a link. You will participate in the democratic structures of the union - lots of opportunities for all kinds of people. As well as local branches, there are regional and national levels to the union that need people like you to get involved. There are also groups for members, to allow them equal access to and an equal voice in the union - for women, black members, lesbian and gay members, retired and young members.
5) Make it happen. You'll help ensure that UNISON is the kind of union you want it to be. It's only as good as you make it.
6) Speak in UNISON. You'll be part of the biggest union in the country - contributing towards our influential voice on a huge range of issues. Ensure that your members are heard!
7) Work as a team. You can get together with friends and colleagues and meet new people.
8) And if that’s not enough. If you become a UNISON steward, we'll send you on a training course, give you advice and support.
9) More of a say. You can have more of a say on what UNISON does in your college and practice areas - bring up issues that you really know are of importance to you and your colleagues. Whatever the issue, the only way you can change it, is to bring it up in the first place.
10) Get to make a difference. You get to
make a difference in your college, at home, in your life, and in the world at
You can do as little as putting up a poster or become a UNISON
UNISON is currently looking for Nursing and Midwifery students who would like to become more involved. Let us know if you are who we are looking for.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, your region, and what you are interested in doing (e.g. putting up a poster, attending a meeting, becoming a rep) or if you would just like further information.