Nursing numbers at the Trust have been boosted, thanks to a successful overseas recruitment drive, with a group of around 100 nurses from Indian set to be working on hospital wards by the end of March 2020.
Like many others across the country, the Trust has been struggling to recruit qualified nurses in the UK, so looked further afield in order to boost its staffing complement.
Tina Lloyd, Assistant Director of Nursing said: “The shortage of qualified nurses is something which Trusts up and down the country are experiencing, so increasingly we’re all competing to attract the same, limited number of people.
“As well as our ongoing work with the University of Brighton, which is regularly helping us to recruit approximately 45 newly qualified UK nurses each year, we have also been looking to international recruitment as a means of bringing more qualified and experienced nursing staff onto our wards.
“We have undertaken eight recruitment drives overseas in the last four years with our attempts to recruit from Indian and the Philippines being the most successful. We are very proud to have a very skilled and well established Indian and Filipino nursing community here in East Sussex.”
A total of 26 nurses from India have so far arrived in the UK, of which two have successfully passed the practical, language and knowledge-based examinations required to practice to UK standards, known as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OCSEs). They are now working on the wards with remaining working in clinical support roles to gain experience of local hospitals, pending successful completion of their OSCEs.
One of the new arrivals Nivya Velloor Mathews, who is now nursing on the Acute Medical Unit at Eastbourne DGH said: “I was a nurse for two years at a hospital in Mumbai, India before coming to East Sussex. I wanted the opportunity to improve and progress my nursing career. On arrival in England it was a bit of a cultural shock but now I have been here three months and passed my exams I am thoroughly enjoying it and very happy.”
Susan Godden Nurse Educator said: “We are used to supporting overseas nurses from all over the world. Often nurses from overseas have experience of working in mixed speciality wards which means they can have a wide variety of experience including medicine and surgery as well as other specialist areas like critical care and theatres.
“As nursing practice and expectations can differ between countries, the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) assessments which nurses coming into the UK have to pass are very stringent. The OSCE covers all aspects of care from dressing changes and infection control to care planning and administering medication, so in passing this examination, we can be confident that our newest recruits are able to work to the required standard.
“The new recruits are all so positive and enthusiastic about coming to work in East Sussex, it’s really fantastic and refreshing to see. In many cases they are leaving family and friends behind to come and work here and help us care for local people, so it’s important that we make them feel genuinely welcome and valued in return.”
As of 30th September 2019 the headcount of Registered Nurses and Midwives at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was made up of 80% British, 7% European Union and 13% overseas.