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Student nurses at four London universities first to be guaranteed job offers under new scheme

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Student nurses from universities in north central and east London are to be the first in the city that are guaranteed an offer of employment at local NHS trusts, under a new initiative.

The initiative is part of a city-wide project, called Capital Nurse, aimed at retaining more nurses in London, after research revealed almost a third of staff leave the NHS within five years of qualifying in the capital.

Capital Nurse was launched by trust chief nurses, universities and workforce body Health Education England in 2015, with a key goal being to simplify the process of securing a job in nursing and to foster a greater sense of loyalty to NHS trusts.

This month, jobs are being advertised for all final year student nurses from City University, the University of Hertfordshire, Middlesex University and London South Bank University across 15 local NHS organisations where trainees have completed placements.

Interviews are being held from 5 March onwards, with conditional offers guaranteed within one day for posts that will begin this September and October.

All 15 NHS trusts, which includes organisations such as Barts Health NHS Trust, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, have agreed to advertise jobs at the same time so nurses “can move seamlessly from university to employment”.

Newly-qualified nurses who take up the posts through the scheme will also be guaranteed support in their first year in practice, according to those behind the scheme.

Newly-qualifieds will be assigned a member of staff who will help them with learning – known as a preceptor – and assist with career development through a framework drawn up by Capital Nurse.

The Capital Nurse programme recently launched a set of voluntary preceptorship standards agreed by NHS employers across the city, as well as a free digital tool designed to help nurses progress in their careers.

The standards state that the preceptorship period should be a minimum of six to 12 months and that every trust should have a member of staff who leads the support programme.

The digital tool, described by those behind it as the “nursing skills Fitbit”, allows nurses to reflect on and record their career progression – and provides a template for a discussion with a senior staff member about how to advance.

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