Medway NHS Foundation Trust has unveiled newly-refurbished nursing accommodation, including access to Wi-Fi, in a bid to help boost and improve staff retention.
Its Medway Maritime Hospital is set to welcome a contingent of overseas nurses in the New Year and hopes the refurbished area will help persuade them to stay in Kent.
“Given Medway’s close proximity to London, it is inevitable we do lose some of our nurses seeking career progression”
The on-site accommodation at the hospital has new flooring, refreshed colour schemes, modern fixtures and fittings in the kitchen, bathroom and toilets, a newly-converted communal social area, flat screen TV and improved Wi-Fi access.
The nursing accommodation quarters have capacity to accommodate up to 25 members of staff at any one time.
While the improved facilities are being used as an incentive in the trust’s efforts to recruit nurses from overseas, they will also be made available to other clinical staff working on site.
The trust – like many others across the country – currently has a shortage of nurses.
In order to reduce the reliance on agency staff, it has been running a recruitment campaign to attract more permanent nurses.
This has seen the recruitment of 114 local nurses over the last six months and it will also be welcoming the arrival of up to 25 qualified nurses from overseas early in 2016.
Nursing staff will be offered the opportunity to live on site at Medway Hospital for up to three months.
Once they are familiarised with their new work environment and local area, the trust will help and support them in finding accommodation in Medway and its surrounding areas.
Karen McIntyre, deputy director of nursing for women and children, said: “We are delighted to be opening our newly-refurbished nursing accommodation, which we hope will prove an enticing factor in helping attract nurses to come and work here at Medway.
“We recognise that we need to recruit more nurses – a situation faced by many other NHS trusts,” she said. “What is essential is that we have the right factors and benefits in place to help us retain our nursing staff.
“Given Medway’s close proximity to London, it is inevitable we do lose some of our nurses seeking career progression, once they have acquired the right level of experience,” said Ms McIntyre.
She added: “Offering our new nurses the option to live on site at the hospital, while they adapt to their new surroundings, is just one example of how we can help strike the delicate balance of recruiting and retaining staff.”
Dr Pete Green, chief clinical officer at NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We welcome the hospital’s improvements to nurses’ accommodation, and see this as a positive step towards supporting and enabling frontline staff to do the best for their patients.”