Claiming a Tax Refund As a Student Or Recent Graduate

There’s a popular misconception here in Britain that nursing students are exempt from paying income tax. In this article, we uncover the fact and the fiction behind student nurse taxes, and take a look at how to claim back any overpaid tax that you’ve already paid.

We have a popular misconception here in Britain that nursing students do not have to pay Income Tax – and whilst we hate to be the bearer of bad news, we’re not going to lie. You students are just as liable to pay Income Tax as anyone else in Britain.

The confusion is most likely down to the fact that a great many nursing students earn less than the annual tax-free allowance – the threshold which determines whether you earn enough to have to pay tax in the first place. It’s currently set at a little over £8,000 per year, and with most students earning far less than this figure, the fact that you’re a student nurse is completely irrelevant.

And yet, despite the overwhelming majority of nursing students earning less than £8,000 per year, a ridiculous number of you end up paying too much tax each year.

Nursing students applying to our service have generally paid too much tax for one of three reasons;

– They’ve paid tax on the wrong tax code

– They’ve left a job prior to the tax year end

– They’ve failed to claim the correct nurse tax relief allowances

We’ll cover the issue of tax on savings income in a later article. For now, let us consider the first two scenarios – how they arise, how they can be avoided, and what to do if you’ve already overpaid.

Paying tax on the wrong tax code

This situation often arises where nursing students are holding down multiple jobs. Complications arise because your annual tax-free allowance is not split up and shared across all of your jobs. HM Revenue & Customs generally allocates your tax-free allowance to the first job in full – so the first £8,000 or so that you earn with this employer will be tax-free. But by doing this, none of your tax-free allowance is set against the income on your second job. Any income earned here will therefore be taxed at the full basic rate, and you’ll need to claim it back manually.

If this sounds familiar, it’ll be worth checking the tax codes you’ve been given for each job – whether that’s with the NHS or down your local pub – they should be printed on your pay slip. A ‘810L’ tax code indicates that you are receiving the tax free allowance, and a ‘BR’ tax code indicates that you’re not. If you have two jobs, you’ll probably have one of each.

If your combined income for both jobs does not exceed the tax-free allowance, this situation will almost certainly lead to an Income Tax overpayment and you’ll need to apply for tax relief at the end of the tax year.

If you’re just about to take on a second job, it might be worth speaking to the tax office about splitting your personal allowance between the two of them. If you have an estimate of how much you’ll earn in each job, this arrangement will generally avoid the need to pay any income tax at all.

Leaving your job prior to the tax year end

The second scenario is just as common, and tends to occur when nursing students have taken on full time work over the summer (such as bar work). HMRC rather primitively calculates your tax on the assumption that you’ll be in that same job for the rest of the tax year (i.e. through to 5th April), so when you finish at the end of summer you’ve not earned as much as the tax office had anticipated – and have therefore almost certainly overpaid. Again, you’ll need to claim for nurse tax relief yourself if you want to obtain a rebate sooner than later.

This situation is particularly common for nursing students who take part in summer work placements, where pay tends to be higher than with most temporary summer jobs.

Example

Lets suppose your 12-week nursing placements starts on 1st June, paying 1,500 a month. Throughout the placement, HMRC will tax you on the assumption that you’ll earn 15,000 by the tax year end (1st June – 5th April). When you finish the placement in late August, and have only earned 4,500, it’s almost certain that any tax paid will have been taken in error because your 4,500 income is far less than the annual tax-free allowance.

How to avoid paying tax as a student nurse

If you’re applying for a nursing placement or internship for Summer 2013, or if you’re looking at taking on some part-time work during term time, be sure to provide your employer with a P38(S) form before your first payday.

This is a student nurse tax relief concession, allowing your employer to pay you without tax provided your annual income does not exceed the personal allowance. (Just bear in mind that employers are not obliged to play ball – some are not prepared to process students’ pay separately).

How to get your tax back as a student nurse or recent graduate nurse

If you are studying nursing at university or have graduated as a nurse since April 2007, and have been given the wrong tax code, not worked for the full tax year, or earned less than the tax free allowance (currently around £8000) whilst at nursing college, you can almost certainly claim nurse tax relief from HMRC – right back to April 2009.

Working As a Nurse in College Health Services

There comes a time when the hospital environment becomes unbearably depressing that you feel you need a change of scene. If you want to work in a more ‘vibrant’ atmosphere (a bit of a paradox when it comes to healthcare) you may want to consider working in college health services. The university or college setting can be a breath of fresh air, just what you need to recharge yourself.

Varied forms of college health services

Depending on the size of the university or college institution, college health services today are varied. The larger colleges will have a more extensive facility, usually directed by a physician, and have an available staff 24 hours a day so that student patients can stay-in overnight for observation. Smaller colleges are typically directed by a head nurse and a physician only comes to the campus for a few hours every week. The smaller college health services are usually open for five days a week, closed during weekends and do not provide services after-hours or in the late evening. If ever there is a medical problem after clinic hours, the student is referred to a resident assistant who follows a protocol of having the student be seen by a physician or sent to the emergency room in a nearby hospital.

Typical day for nurses in a college health service setting

On a typical day, nurses assigned in college health services will assess a student with a health-related complaint and make a diagnosis. The nurse follows protocols written out by the school’s physician in making a diagnosis. Depending on the severity of the condition, the nurse will treat the student according to the guidelines. Depending on the protocol and whether certain criteria are met, the nurse can administer antibiotics and other non-narcotic medications. If the student has special concerns or a critical condition, the nurse will typically call and consult the physician to get an assessment whether the student should be seen in the physician’s office, sent to the emergency room or be treated there at the health services. Depending on the school’s population, a nurse can see an average of 10 to 30 students with various medical concerns daily. Common complaints that students have are usually injuries such as strains, sprains, lacerations, as well as upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, food poisoning, migraines, and so on. Besides students, nurses will also provide healthcare to staff and faculty.

Medical services provided in college healthcare

As mentioned above, different institutions have different scopes of medical services, and the extensiveness of these can depend on the size and budget of the institution. Besides basic check-up and assessments, services can also include health screenings, drug tests, allergy shots, urine pregnancy tests, immunizations, and laboratory tests and services. Most college health services also have affiliations with local hospitals providing counseling and educational health programs. Some universities or colleges may also have their own hospital or an extensive medical facility and the latest technological equipments, particularly if they specialize in offering medical education or courses.

The Covenant School of Nursing – Methodist Hospital School of Nursing

Located in Lubbock, Texas, the Covenant Health System member Covenant School of Nursing (CSN), formerly called the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing, is the oldest school of registered nursing on the South Plains, a Board of Nurse Examiners for the State of Texas and NLNAC-accredited diploma program that prepares nursing students for licensure as qualified registered nursing graduates.

The Covenant School of Nursing program provides their students with meaningful training experiences in the classroom, lab, as well as in the formal clinical setting. The nursing school is dedicated in offering a full-time 76-week hospital-based diploma-nursing program that prepares their students for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) after completing 9specific prerequisite college courses, as well as giving 12-month Advanced Credit program to Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) for opportunities to complete their registered nursing education. This Advanced Credit program for LVN/LPN’s 12-month curriculum consists of 100-hours, a summer part-time Transition Course (classroom and laboratory experiences summarizing Level-1 course topics) followed by 38weeks of Level-II courses.

The Covenant School of Nursing is devoted in placing their curriculum in a supportive learning environment that makes nursing school a positive and nurturing experience that is also fun for the students. The registered nursing program consists of classroom, clinical skills labs, plus clinical field experiences at some 20different healthcare facilities in the Texas Lubbock area. Through the clinical field-work, the students are able to deal directly with patients hence developing their “hands-on” skills after only 2-months training and 2-days+ weekly exposure in clinical settings for 2-years.

Nurses aspiring for admission to the courses mentioned will find that the Covenant School of Nursing is an Equal-Access/Equal-Opportunity School that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, or disability, while also offering financial assistance such as Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Stafford and Federal PLUS loan programs, Covenant Health System’s HealthTraxx, as well as other aids including Scholarships (available during the second half of the student’s junior year), Discounted meals for the hospital cafeteria, the Possibility of part-time work, and Limited healthcare services for the deserving CSN students.

Nursing students must be able to attend, fully participate, and successfully complete all classroom, lab and clinical components of each of the required RN nursing courses in order to graduate from Covenant School of Nursing. The CSN graduates then become fully-eligible to apply for the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN). Then one year after graduation, the graduates and their employers are surveyed and evaluated to indicate the high degree of graduate-and-employer satisfaction with the CSN graduate’s ability to meet objectives and perform as a proficient nurse in the workplace.

Requirements To Be Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nursing is a rewarding and enticing career for those who aim to practice in this area of nursing. It is a profession that allows practitioners to choose various career options. Nurses may choose to work in clinics, facilities dealing in health care and all kinds of hospitals. These nurses are responsible with taking care of infants, those in their childhood and even those who are already in their adolescence. Aside from these duties, pediatric nurses are also engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and sickness of patients within this age group. Furthermore, they act as a educators and support base for families.

Students undergoing training in pediatric nursing are fully prepared to render assistance in diagnosing various illnesses. They are also present and constantly assist in physical examinations in schools and perform duties such as the conduct of screening and immunization. These students are also trained to keep their composure while working with different kinds of patients suffering from acute illnesses. Furthermore, aside all these duties, students training in pediatric field are also educated to do normal tasks like conducting an interpretation of laboratory results or even requesting for medications. They are also given the option to engage in other areas of specializations like dermatology or even in critical areas like oncology.

Mandatory education and training requirements

As with all other nursing professions, those in pediatric nursing are mandated to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. They are required to undergo additional focused trainings in the area of pediatrics. These trainings are necessary before a student nurse may be allowed to work in hospital and clinical settings and other areas of practice. Once a nurse successfully passes these trainings, then he or she is allowed to handle cases involving children. As such, nurses are those who possess the skills in effectively dealing with members of different age groups.

A nursing degree is not sufficient, however. Those who plan to establish a career in pediatric nursing are required to be licensed practitioners. This means that they must successfully pass state examinations to be registered nurses. Holders of bachelor’s degree in nursing are qualified to take these examinations. Sadly, however, not all nursing schools offer degrees that cater to specialization in pediatric nursing. It is only after graduating and passing the state examinations that nurses may gain experience in pediatric nursing. One of the best ways to gain this much needed experience is to practice in a hospital setting, particularly in the area of pediatrics.

Extensive knowledge in pediatric cannot be gained through regular classes alone. It is best for a student to enroll in supplemental classes while still in the university. These supplemental classes must particularly deal with fields that are related to pediatric. Some of the well-known classes are those involving child or family related psychology. These classes will train students on how to properly build a trusting relationship with children and their families.

Experience is not the only necessary factor towards a successful career in the area of pediatric nursing. A nurse must be able to have a solid grasp of how work is conducted in an actual setting. This is to enable them to gain the necessary skills to excel in their chosen field of specialization. As such, it is advisable for nurses to be interns in a program dealing with pediatrics. This internship normally involves three months to one year of training before successful completion.

After successfully passing and graduating in these various programs, nurses are now qualified candidates for positions involving pediatric nursing. They are also qualified to apply to be certified nurses in pediatric nursing. This certification is issued only after a nurse successfully undergoes a certification examination in pediatric nursing. Once certified, there will be a whole new set of opportunities for a nurse to pursue a career in pediatric section. However, it is not enough to rely on stagnant knowledge. Pediatric nurses must continuously seek higher forms of learning to stay updated with new developments and methods in the profession.

The importance of being a degree holder and having a rich experience must be highlighted. A bachelor’s degree is not sufficient. Exposure to the actual practice is necessary. A nurse must be exposed to the actual conduct before he or she can be qualified to be certified. Aside from a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree is also advantageous. This will enable the nurse to be a licensed and registered advanced practice nurse.

Salaries and Compensation

Pediatric nurses receive good compensation. Staff nurses in this field receive an average of $57, 597 annually while nurse practitioners receive around $80,414 annually.

Nursing in pediatric is career rich with rewards and good compensation. Lately, there has been a higher demand for pediatric nurses especially those with rich knowledge and expertise. As such, there is nothing to lose but so much to gain when a pediatric nurse seeks to enrich his or her knowledge and experience through higher forms of learning and advanced training. In the end, the reward does not only come through the form of money but also in the altruistic feeling of contributing to the care of innocent children.