University Hospital of North Staffordshire Foundation Trust is attempting to expand its nursing establishment by 300 over the next 12 months, its chief nurse has said.
It will be looking for half of these registered nurses from the European Union, notably Portugal, Italy and Spain and Greece.
The trust currently employs over 2,500 nurses, including the vast majority of students graduating from Keele University and Staffordshire University each year.
“It’s important that we ensure we maintain our excellent nurse to patient ratios and reduce agency staff”
The trust noted that it had “historically low vacancy rates”.
However, it said more nurses were needed as it prepared for integration with Stafford Hospital, following the break-up of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust in the wake of the Francis report.
North Staffs will take over running Stafford Hospital from November.
Trust chief nurse Liz Rix said: “Many hospitals are recruiting at present so it is getting a very competitive market and we need to look internationally.
“If we can recruit locally we do so, but it’s important that we ensure we maintain our excellent nurse to patient ratios and reduce agency staff,” she said.
Ms Rix added: “We are looking to visit Portugal and Spain in the first instance because their nurses have similar training to us and speak excellent English, thereafter we may also be visiting Italy and Greece. We are also seeing if we can bring in qualified nurses who have taken career breaks.”