Why training is at the heart of a groundbreaking NHS recruitment campaign

Andrew Stewart looks at nurses and midwives leaving the profession

New figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have revealed that more UK nurses and midwives are leaving the profession than joining for the first time on record, with the number of nurses departing having risen by 51% in just four years.

What can the NHS do to solve this problem? A group of leading healthcare providers in Northamptonshire may have the answer.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and St Andrew’s Healthcare, a leading charity providing mental healthcare, have joined forces with the University of Northampton to launch an innovative recruitment campaign.

The Best of Both Worlds seeks to promote the many diverse career and training opportunities across Northamptonshire.

At KGH, there are vacancies for 50 nurses and 50 consultants. At Northampton General Hospital, nurses, consultants and trust grade doctors are required across radiology, A&E, oncology, respiratory and orthopedic wards, as well as theatres and surgery wards.

As many nurses retire in their 50s, I hope this initiative will encourage them to prolong their careers.

St Andrew’s Healthcare needs to recruit up to 130 nurses this year, including mental health and learning disability specialists and RGNs. There are also many opportunities at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides 130 different services at over 50 sites – delivering many outside the hospital within the community.

The University of Northampton is one of the UK’s leading universities for nursing training and was recently awarded a Gold mark, the highest possible rating for teaching excellence, from the government. A key part of the campaign is to encourage student nurses to build their careers in Northamptonshire.

Training and development opportunities

The training and development of nurses and doctors is at the heart of the campaign. There are extensive training opportunities and training is viewed as being key to attracting and retaining talent.

The Prince William Education Centre is a dedicated clinical and medical centre, and offers programmes and courses for all medical and non-medical professionals looking to improve clinical practice. It also supports medical and nursing students throughout their training.

Both KGH and Northampton General Hospital run a successful Return to Professional Practice (RtP) course for qualified nurses who have had a break from practice to enhance their skills so they can confidently return to professional practice.

Additionally, KGH runs a programme for international nurses working towards NMC registration and the right to work in the UK. We also retrain staff to work in different areas, for instance nurses who want to retire from clinical duties to work in administrative roles. As many nurses retire in their 50s, I hope this initiative will encourage them to prolong their careers.

Two years ago, we set up a three-tier leadership programme to develop staff at all levels of management which has been very successful and this programme is continually developing.

I’ve attended several training programmes delivered by NHS elect, an NHS body set up at Kettering to develop people. Following eight days of training across six months, the courses enabled me to reflect on my management style and become more aware that certain areas need improving.

I’ve also been on the advanced leadership course where I was mentored and coached. The course helped me hone and develop my management skills and contributed significantly towards to my own professional development. I then won the non-clinical employee of the year last year and it felt great to be developed and recognised for my contribution to KGH.  

Staff should be proud of where they work and I want them to think of ways to improve the hospital. An example of this is one staff member, Jayne Chambers, Capital Programme Operational Delivery Manager, is developing a dementia garden at the hospital.

Without any funds, she canvassed support from local councillors, MPs and businesses; Jayne achieved this in her spare time and so far, has raised more than half the money needed to fulfil that ambition.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has a diverse workforce delivering over 130 services so there are many interesting vacancies at all levels, including community nursing, mental health and learning disability services. Many of the roles allow for flexible working.

Hopefully this campaign will show people the scope for training and development across Northamptonshire.


About the author

Andrew Stewart is clinical resource planning manager at Kettering General Hospital. For more information on the campaign visit the Best of Both Worlds.


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