A paid internship programme to help 380 newly-trained Scottish nurses and midwives find work has opened for applicants this week.
As revealed by Nursing Times in January, applicants will be offered a part-time, one-year job, starting in March.
The programme will be available to those who have registered with the One Year Guarantee scheme. Currently 380 people are registered with the scheme
The posts will be paid at Agenda for Change band 5 (point 16) pro-rata at 22.5 hours per week.
Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “We have always guaranteed newly qualified nurses a job in the NHS, but due to a high number of applicants requesting extra help we have had to work hard to ensure that we can meet this commitment.
“I am pleased to say that the internship scheme will give newly-trained nurses and midwives the opportunity to utilise their skills and gain additional experience in clinical practice.”
Royal College of Nursing Scotland director Ellen Hudson said: “It costs around £45,000 to train a nurse. This scheme will help make sure that this investment is not wasted.”
Royal College of Midwives director Gillian Smith added: “We know if we don’t capture these graduates as early as possible we will lose them from the profession which they have chosen, this would be a waste of the three years intensive training.”
The positions will involve the offer of a one year, fixed-term, part-time, employment opportunity as a staff nurse/midwife in clinical practice, linked to rotational placements.
As with the existing One Year Guarantee scheme, offers may not necessarily be in the applicant’s local area, although the government said NHS Education for Scotland is working to support the spread of opportunities across the country.
Following initial matching and interview, applicants will be selected by NHS Boards. If not successful in gaining at that stage, they will be offered further opportunities through re-matching.
The scheme is not compulsory and newly-registered nurses and midwives are still encouraged to seek employment through their own means, the Scottish Government said.
“The interns will be fully registered professionals accountable and responsible for their practice in the same way as any new staff,” it added.
In a manifesto document, published last month ahead of the Scottish elections in May, the union Unison Scotland called on student nurses to be employed on “proper salaries” rather than given bursaries – in order to tackle high course drop-out rates.
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