Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is offering former mental health nurses a £500 bonus if they complete a free training course and come back to the profession.
The initiative, which is supported by Health Education England (HEE) and aimed at mental health nurses of all ages, is part of a drive to recruit 150 new nurses to work in Hampshire and Sussex.
“People go into nursing because they’re a certain type of person and that never leaves you”
All training fees are covered and the £500 bonus is paid to nurses who successfully complete the return to practice course.
Those who go through the training will be offered a job at the trust but there is no obligation to stay, said a trust spokeswoman, who explained that the scheme was being funded as part of HEE’s national return to practice programme.
Courses are split between classroom learning at the University of Brighton and clinical placements at the trust, across a range of locations and different types of service.
The trust said participants could normally choose where they did their placements and it offered flexible and part-time working.
“There is no age limit and it doesn’t matter how long you have been away from nursing,” said the organisation.
Kate Stammers, a nurse consultant at the trust who herself successfully returned to practice after a six-year break to raise a family, is among those urging former mental health nurses to take up the opportunity.
Trust trying to tempt ex nurses to return with £500 bonus
“I remember saying to my husband, ‘I can’t do this, it’s going to be too difficult, I’ve been out too long’ – but I was supported by the trust every step of the way and it’s amazing how quickly it all comes back,” she said.
“I can’t imagine not having this job as part of my life and part of my identity,” she said. “I think people go into nursing because they’re a certain type of person and that never leaves you, no matter how long you might have spent away from the job.”
Ms Stammers, who first qualified as a mental health nurse in the 1990s, did various jobs after her children started school including waitressing and running her own tanning salon, but said she always missed nursing.
As a consultant nurse, she now supports more than 150 nursing working in Sussex Partnership’s children and young people’s, perinatal and early intervention in psychosis services.
“I was really nervous when I started back. I remember sitting in a meeting surrounded by all these really professional people,” she said. “I felt overwhelmed but also inspired and now I am the one running those meetings.”