Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has appointed nearly 90 nurses as part of a recruitment drive that will see around half join the organisation from overseas by the end of next month.
The trust said 85 qualified nurses had either started work or would be joining wards at its Manor Hospital by September as part of a £3.5m investment.
“I believe we have found committed, enthusiastic nurses who are very much looking forward to progressing their careers”
Of these 36 of the new qualified nurses were recruited from overseas. The majority have come from Italy, with the rest recruited from Greece, Spain, Portugal, Croatia and Romania.
The trust also said an extra 35 healthcare assistants had been appointed.
Wendy Lear, head of hursing at the trust, said the decision to recruit from overseas was in response to the national nursing shortage and to boost the numbers of nurses recruited from this country.
“It was a very successful recruitment drive and I believe we have found committed, enthusiastic nurses who are very much looking forward to progressing their careers here in Walsall and joining a Trust that will support them to do so,” she said.
“All of the overseas nurses can speak English, albeit with an accent,” she said. “It wouldn’t have been in anyone’s best interests to recruit nurses who didn’t have a good command of English.
“Some nurses have started work already and all will be in place by the end of September,” she added. “I am really pleased with everyone that we have recruited.”
“It will probably take me a little while to get used to the Walsall accent, but I’ll get there”
Among the recruits is Sofia Fiouni, 28, who used to work in a Greek public hospital in intensive care but is now working on the trust’s gastroenterology ward.
“I love the interaction with patients which I sadly didn’t have on ITU back at home because of people’s conditions,” she said.
“It has made me think that I’d like to specialise in mental health or in dementia for example,” she said. “I feel I am making progress and gaining more skills and I’m glad I made the move here.
She added: “The patients have been very nice to me. I have explained where I come from when they ask me where my accent is from and they have been interested and want to chat to me about it.
“My colleagues are helping me too,” she said. “It will probably take me a little while to get used to the Walsall accent, but I’ll get there and I’m excited about the future.”