This year, however, seems different. The atmosphere is tense as there doesn’t seem to be many jobs around. Competition is fierce as students compete against each other for posts. I even know of some students who have been forced to accept jobs that they do not really want as they simply have no other options.
This shortage of posts seems to have been caused by numerous ward closures and the subsequent development of specialist community teams. The traditional hospital ward first post just isn’t available while adverts for community jobs are requesting that only experienced nurses apply.
So where does this situation leave the newly qualified nurse and where can they go?
I would like to make an appeal to the nurses who are involved in the recruitment process. Please think carefully about whether you really need a nurse with experience or whether, instead, a fresh-thinking newly qualified nurse could be given support to carry out the role. I would also like to see our preceptorship programmes revised to ensure that, with clinical supervision, nurses of all levels of experience can join specialist teams.
The addition of a newly qualified nurse into a team is a rewarding experience. It provides teaching opportunities for everyone as knowledge and practices are exchanged and personal reflections shared.
As our clinical working environments are changing, so should our attitudes about who can work in them. And that means making a place for the newly qualifieds.
Victoria Sharman is a community mental health nurse in Stevenage
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