The Welsh government has announced a new international recruitment campaign, promoting the country for its “amazing work-life balance” opportunities and confirming that student nurses in Wales will continue to receive bursaries next year.
As with this year’s students, those who receive the bursary in 2018-19 will have to work in the country for at least two years after they have qualified.
The move follows similar pledges made earlier this year for Scotland but is in contrast to England, where bursaries for tuition fees and living costs are to be removed from this autumn and trainees will take out loans instead.
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The new “Train, Work, Live” campaign is being targeted at newly-qualified nurses, more experienced nurses, and also those who have stopped practising but may be looking to return to the profession.
It promotes the chance for junior staff to choose what setting they work in, while more experienced nurses are supported to progress to becoming an advanced practitioner.
“We are committed to investing in supporting the training and development of nurses”
Materials accompanying the campaign highlighted that Wales was the first UK country to educate all its nurses and midwives to graduate level, and has also recently become the first nation in Europe to introduce legislation protecting nurse staffing levels.
Nurses and public health specialists, including health visitors, who have been out of practice are eligible for a £1,000 bursary to update their skills, while midwives can receive a £1,500 bursary if they come back into the profession.
Meanwhile, the campaign highlights the diverse landscape, opportunities for outdoor activities and city entertainment as all contributing to the “amazing work-life balance” on offer.
The recruitment drive is being launched alongside a new website that will explain the career opportunities and benefits of living in the country, as well as a dedicated phoneline.
The Welsh government said the move was part of its commitment to take action to attract and train more nurses, GPs and other health professionals across Wales.
“Encouraging these individuals to work in Wales must continue until we see stable workforce levels”
Unveiling the campaign today, Wales’ health secretary Vaughan Gething said investing in nurse education and training was key to developing the country’s workforce.
“In Wales, we are committed to investing in supporting the training and development of nurses, midwives and other professionals working in our NHS,” he said.
“Wales is a great place to train, work and live; we value the professional judgement of nurses and we want to get that message out to attract more nurses to come and experience what we have to offer,” said Mr Gething.
“I’m pleased to announce the bursary will continue to be available to those who commit in advance to work in Wales, post qualification, for two years,” he added.
Chief nursing officer for Wales Professor Jean White said: “The Welsh government has significantly increased investment in nurse education with more nurses educated annually now than at any time since devolution.”
”Wales has a lot to offer, from our fantastic coastline, mountains, to our towns and cities, and I want to encourage nurses to consider Wales as a place to train, work and live,” she added.
Commenting on the campaign, the Royal College of Nursing in Wales said the messages that the campaign conveyed were “vitally important in the current healthcare climate”.
RCN Wales director Tina Donnelly said that it should act as a “reminder of the benefits our country truly has to offer to those who decide to train, and remain, as a healthcare professional in Wales”.
“Encouraging these individuals to work in Wales must continue until we see stable workforce levels that our NHS requires to function efficiently and effectively,” she added.