Overseas nursing recruitment a resounding success

Overseas nursing recruitment a resounding success
Left to right – Daniele Fonte, Vera Duse, patient Lily Hughes, Joshua Pajuelo and Tracey Collins

Published: 14 August 2015

Torbay Hospital is celebrating the successful first year of its 2014 overseas recruitment campaign for nursing staff.

A national shortage of nurses means there are more vacancies than candidates. Like many other NHS trusts, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been looking overseas to attract high quality nurses and ensure safe staffing levels for patients. This also helps to reduce the use of costly agency nurses.

Tracey Collins, Associate Director of Nursing and Workforce, said: “It was our intention from the outset to personally select nurses to match our local patients’ specific needs and the needs of the hospital. Having met each of the 40 nurses at the interview stage and supported them throughout their recruitment and induction, I cannot praise them highly enough for the skills, compassion and enthusiasm they have brought to the role.

“Leaving home for the first time and starting a new job is a big step for most people, but when that also involves moving to a new country with a foreign language and culture, it can be even more difficult. They have all settled in really well with existing staff and many have received thank you cards and letters from patients. Some have even received nominations for our staff WOW awards.* I feel truly proud of each and every one of them.”

Joshua Pajuelo from Spain received the following WOW award nomination from a relative of a Torbay Hospital patient: “Josh nursed my mother for four days. He treated her with such kindness and respect. He was very gentle with her and my entire family appreciated his input. He was very knowledgeable and explained things well.”

Joshua said: “I studied four years for my bachelor’s degree in nursing, specialising in mental health. With the economic crisis in Spain I always knew I would have to consider working in another country.

“I started working in the Emergency Department at Torbay Hospital about a year ago. Since the very beginning the Trust has been hugely supportive. For the first couple of months whilst working shifts on our respective wards, we also attended a very useful preceptorship programme.** This gave us help and support with the potential barriers and difficulties of nursing abroad with a different environment and language.

“My experience has been absolutely positive; after 12 months I can say I am completely settled, living in a beautiful coastal area and working with an amazing team. I look forward to developing my career in the UK doing what I love to do.”

Italian nurse, Vera Duse, spoke of her experience: “When I was training to be a nurse, there were 30,000 unemployed nurses in Italy so when I heard that the UK was looking for nurses I was determined to come here and was delighted to be offered a position at Torbay Hospital.

“We had a fantastic preceptorship programme that I attended every Friday for two months which has given me greater fluency and confidence when I deal with patients, relatives and colleagues. Now almost a year later I feel a real part of this Hospital and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have a job that I love.”

Daniele Fonte from Italy added: “I was lucky enough to start this new adventure with a large group of nurses from Italy, Spain and Portugal. From day one we were welcomed with great kindness; my colleagues in Recovery are fantastic, they support me and help me like family would.

“Working with an international team is amazing, everyone can share their knowledge with each other and this will improve care for all patients. The British people are very lucky to live in a country where you can have free health care of the highest level, perhaps the best in the world, but this is easier to understand if you come from another reality with different parameters to compare.

“I am very happy to be working here in Torbay Hospital, my career has changed greatly and I know that with will and sacrifice no door is closed. Life can be wonderful and even more so if it is dedicated to helping those who need it.”

Because the 2014 recruitment campaign has been such a success and as it will be two or three years before sufficient numbers of newly trained UK nurses start to emerge, the Trust is looking again at further overseas recruitment over the next 12 months to help find another 70 nurses.