A trust’s reputation as an employer is the first consideration for 20% of nurses when they are looking for a new job, according to recruitment consultants, who say they have evidence that over half may be considering leaving their current position.
Other key considerations for nurses include a good work-life balance, opportunities for career progression, salary and investment in staff.
Research commissioned by recruitment agency TMP Worldwide questioned 1,600 UK nurses – the majority band 5 or above – to understand the employment factors affecting career motivations.
More than half of respondents, 57%, said they are looking for a new position, 21% actively and 36% “quietly keeping an eye out for something new”. Meanwhile, 54% of nurses surveyed said they had considered working outside the UK.
Three-quarters of those questioned were wary of “high risk” trusts as a potential employer.
A report published on Friday highlighted that around 650 nursing staff had been appointed in just three months by a group of trusts considered to be struggling on safety and care standards. The report, by Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, looked at progress being made by 14 trusts currently in “special measures”.
In comparison, the chief executive of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust recently warned it may have to limit accident and emergency department opening times due to difficulties in recruiting enough nurses, as a result of the organisation’s reputation being tarnished by former high profile failings.
Nicola Bullen, strategic lead for health at TMP Worldwide, said: “The research highlights a clear need for NHS trusts to consider their reputation if they want to attract and retain top talent. Having the right nurses on board has never been more important as trusts implement new strategies for improving patient care against a backdrop of cost cutting initiatives.
She added that “identifying top talent” could have a huge impact on delivering consistent quality care that went “a long way in helping” to cut the cost of bank and agency spend and reduce staff turnover.
Commenting on the findings, Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust deputy chief nurse Jane Naish noted that “the priority” for her organisation was to establish “its reputation as a provider of high quality care with high standards of nursing practice”.
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