A refresher training programme in hospital nursing is being rolled out at a trust in Somerset to try and attract community nurses back into the acute sector.
The programme comes at a time when there are many calls to encourage more hospital nurses to move the other way and work in the community.
The trust said the move was designed to appeal to staff who went to work in nursing homes when they started families, but now wanted to return to a career in hospital nursing.
Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust introduced the two-week course in March and intends to run four more courses throughout the rest of the year.
“Although [the nurses] had wanted to work in the acute care sector for some time, because of their lack of experience they had not been offered the opportunity”
Following completion of the course – which is paid for by the trust – 13 of the 14 registered nurses that took part now work for Yeovil Hospital.
The trust hopes to employ at least five extra hospital nurses for every training programme it runs.
Aimed at qualified nurses working in care homes, in community or other domiciliary settings, who want to return to work in an acute hospital, the course provides both academic and clinical training.
Nurses accepted onto the course are guaranteed the offer of a job at the trust. If they accept, they then also take part in a three-month preceptorship programme in which they are supported by a mentor.
The hospital’s associate director of nursing, Maddie Groves, said around half of the nurses on the first course had been from outside the UK, with the other half divided equally between local nurses and those from across the country.
She said that many nurses had felt “rusty” or lacked confidence in their acute skills after being away for some years.
“A common theme among the nurses was that, although they had wanted to work in the acute care sector for some time, because of their lack of experience, they had not been offered the opportunity,” she said.
Ms Groves added: “Some of the nurses who attended the course began working in nursing homes and community care when they started their families, but now felt that the time was right in their life to return to a career in hospital nursing.
“There was a general feeling that they missed the variety and challenge of care in an acute setting and that they wanted to be able to progress and develop their skills in a larger and more diverse arena.”