Over the years, we have had somewhat of a reputation when it comes to not being able to fill nurse vacancies within the Trust.
Back in February, our vacancy position was a focus of discussion due to the fact that we had over 200 full time healthcare support worker (HCSW) vacancies.
In response to this the trust undertook a recruitment campaign with the aim of reducing our HCSW vacancies to zero and recruiting 100 registered nurses from overseas, by the end of April.
The actions we took to achieve this included:
- Offering bank staff permanent positions.
- We enlisted the help of a recruitment agency to assist us in identifying candidates who had not previously worked in healthcare, to support them in applying for a position here at ULHT. The recruitment process was made very easy and the candidates were supported with a dedicated induction programme. This resulted in 225 posts being offered and now means that the Trust has a zero vacancy position for HCSW at this time.
- International nurse recruitment was already doing well within the Trust with over 30 nurses recruited between August 2020 and January 2021. The Trust agreed to recruit 100 international nurses in a concentrated recruitment drive from February to April. Our aspirations were high but we achieved our goal – although there have been some delays experienced due to the COVID pandemic and quarantine requirements.
- We continue to support nursing career development which was devised to support staff who wish to develop their careers, and makes it possible, using the apprenticeship programmes available, to develop from nursing cadet up to advanced clinical practitioner.
- We have identified the need to support two cohorts of staff through the trainee nursing associate programme at the University of Lincoln each year as well as the opportunity to progress from registered nursing associate/assistant practitioner/nursery nurse to become a registered nurse through an apprenticeship route, again through the University of Lincoln. This is an example of how we value the ability to grow and develop our own staff and commit to recruiting from within our services and local areas.
- We continue to develop our relationships with our student nurses, and we are currently in the process of offering jobs to more than 70 students who are due to qualify in September.
This is a great success story, and one which should make a real difference for our patients and our colleagues.
There is still more work to do and we also need to consider why nursing colleagues want to leave our Trust and what actions we can take to encourage nurses to stay.
This will be a focus of efforts in the next year. We will continue to make sure that we have the right staff, in the right place with the right skills.
A career in nursing is massively rewarding and as a nurse of 30+ years it is a privilege to be able to care for people who need our help. If you want to find out more about working for ULHT, check out our website.