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Over half of nurses 'looking for new job', survey suggests


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”.


Nursing Times careers week

From 24 to 28 February we’re going to be teaming up with recruitment experts from Nursing Times Jobs to offer you free job-searching articles, discuss how to bag your dream job and find out from specialist nurses how they found their career pathways. Not one to be missed!

Visit our Careers Page to find out more


Readers' comments (5)

  • Having worked at Milton Keynes, I witnessed the deterioration of care over several years. The people who oversaw this disaster, are largely still in place. Jane Naish may be repeating something similar in a year or two.

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  • What's new here? The days of staying on one ward for your entire career are largely gone. I think most people have a look at the jobs bulletin when it comes out.

    Is anyone surprised that a 5h1th0le like Mid-Staffs is struggling to recruit and retain staff? It should be closed and raised to the ground after what went on there!

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  • Very disheartening to read as a current student nurse. I am finding there are a lot of negative comments around nursing the more I research it.

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  • I have loved most of my 41year nursing career, but now- I'm gone, getting out and retiring!!!!!

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  • Why the surprise? This Government and their odious media has been nurse bashing since the moment they came into office, blaming us for the ills of the NHS.

    There is also an abundance of low paid jobs outside of nursing; management bleating about not being able to 'afford' to pay the living wage; and an enormous influx of migrants who live in cramped conditions and are willing to work for minimum or below minimum wage, as it is still higher than they would get from wherever they come from where the cost of living and housing is much cheaper.

    Most jobs on NHS Jobs are band 5, so it is pointless looking now. Our pay structure was introduced to keep us low paid in comparison with other professions so that the health service salary bill could be kept low. Very few benefit from this structure.

    Why would any young person with good potential and exam results get into debt training to be a nurse with such poor and negative prospects for the future?

    I would never recommend any young person to enter nursing, especially if they have aspirations of owning a home or expecting career progression to enter this unappreciated profession.

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