A nursing home in Scarborough is trying to lure nurses to work there with the offer of a free holiday in the sun before they start.
Managers at Saint Cecilia’s Nursing Home said they hoped the holiday offer would help their setting “stand out” amid the national nurse recruitment crisis in the nursing and care home sector.
“We thought that nurses are stressed out and this might be a nice way of doing something a bit different”
The home’s managing director, Mike Padgham, said: “We have tried all sorts of recruitment things and nurses are very difficult to get hold of.
“We lose a lot to the NHS but at the same time the NHS need us, because they are discharging out of hospital into homes like ours and we have got to staff it – but it’s tough,” he said. “We can’t always get agency staff now either, so we get left in a difficult position.
“We thought that nurses are stressed out and this might be a nice way of doing something a bit different – work for us and go on holiday before you even come,” he told Nursing Times.
Mr Padgham said he was looking to recruit two or three registered nurses to work at the home, which provides care for up to 44 residents with acute and life-limiting illnesses.
“We have got enough staff at the minute but one or two are retiring and we don’t want gaps so that’s why we’re offering the holiday up front,” he said.
“That doesn’t happen in the health service or many other places, so why not? We need to stand out because we need nurses,” he added.
“We just want to get somebody who feels they are working in a family environment and that we are caring”
He said the home had tried more conventional recruitment methods but like others across the country had struggled to fill nursing posts and it was “getting harder and harder”.
“We mainly lose them to the hospital because they have more to offer in the way of pay and the NHS pension is better,” he said.
“We have some nurses from overseas but with the European issue going on they’re not as keen to come over now as they were,” he noted.
He added that he had previously written to the health secretary and prime minister highlighting the sector’s immediate struggles in the face of policy pledges on workforce pledges on future supply.
As well as the holiday, the recruitment package St Cecilia’s is offering includes use of a car, £31,000 a year salary and other benefits.
When it comes to the holiday, newly-recruited nurses would get between £600-700 each to spend with a local travel agent, Mr Padgham explained.
“We’ve teamed up with a local travel agent and worked out that will get about two weeks for two, somewhere in Europe like Spain or Portugal,” he said.
Saint Cecilia’s Nursing Home
“It will be a three/four-star holiday for two, so hopefully quite attractive to people. They can go before they start and then the idea is they come back and work for us afterwards,” he said.
“We’re prepared to take that risk because we just want to get somebody who feels they are working in a family environment and that we are caring,” he noted.
He said the holiday was flexible and it was up to the new nurses how they chose to spend the money with the travel firm and when they took the holiday, which could be before or after joining.
“For two people £6-700 will get a holiday in a nice destination with a reasonable hotel and the flights,” said Mr Padgham.
“If they want to add a bit on – say if they have a young child – they can do it or they might prefer to stick within the budget and go somewhere not quite as nice but for three. It’s not fixed,” he said.
While the NHS may be able to offer better terms and conditions, he said there were advantages to working for a small company including role flexibility and the chance to impact on care standards.
“We can give them training and a sense of job satisfaction and I would hope we could help them with their career,” he said. “Not that you want them to leave you – but if they are interested in progressing, come and see what we do, get some skills. Some might want to be in a charge of a home themselves in the future and we’ll help them with that.”
“We can give them training and a sense of job satisfaction and I would hope we could help them with their career”
He said nurses who came to work for St Cecilia’s would also have the opportunity to influence practice in a meaningful way.
“Small brings different things – we know all the staff by name, so they won’t be just a number, and they can help shape and influence the care that goes on better perhaps than they can in a big organisation,” he said.
“We want to give the best possible care we can to people and they can change things for the good if they want – there’s not layers and layers of bureaucracy,” he added.
The nursing home – which is part of a wider group of Scarborough-based care services – is also opening its doors this Saturday as part of the National Care Home Open Day event.