University Hospitals of Leicester Trust has announced that 49 new nurses joined from Ireland, Spain and Portugal earlier this month, with a further 50 due in February.
An increasing number of hospital trusts across England have been actively recruiting nurses from overseas – especially the Iberian peninsular – over the past six to nine months.
Of 105 acute trusts that responded to a Freedom of Information request by Nursing Times in October, 40 had actively recruited nurses from overseas in the last 12 months.
The move has been sparked by trusts seeking to bolster staffing levels in the wake of the Francis report and an apparent shortage of nurses in the UK applying for these posts.
Rachel Overfield, chief nurse at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We have had a phenomenally successful campaign to help recruit nurses from other countries
who want to come and work for us.
“We were pleased to see the first nurses arrive and are looking forward to welcoming 55 more on the 6 February, as well as the many more over the next few months as we reach our goal of recruiting 200 international nurses,” she added.
The new nurses have started an induction programme that will last for a minimum of four weeks, but could stretch to three months.
It consists of classroom based learning to understand the NHS, the organisation and adapting to cultural differences. The overseas recruits will then move onto wards and carry out training to get them used to NHS practices and protocols.
They will initially not be expected to take care of patients on their own, and will work with the full supervision of qualified nurses, the trust said.
Ms Overton added: “Our teams are working to ensure that we have a good balance of experienced and newly qualified international recruits working together whilst they acclimatise themselves.
“We are prepared that some of our new recruits may require at least a further two months supervision as they adapt, and my nursing teams are prepared to manage and support that,” she said.
The trust will also be supporting the new starters with hospital accommodation and a mentorship “buddying” arrangement with other nursing staff.
The new nurses are earmarked to work across women’s services, cancer and haematology, surgery, medicine and critical care.
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