Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital aimed to plug a staffing gap with a special nurse recruitment event in Lynn yesterday.
The trust was aiming to encourage nurses in the area to come and join its ranks, and to urge former nurses back into the profession, amid a national nursing staff shortage.
But several students and local people looking for a complete change of career were also among those to attend the event, which was held at Yours Business Networks in the Tuesday Market Place.
Potential new employees were queuing outside before the event had even started, and was such a success there are plans to hold another nearer the summer.
Val Newton, the hospital’s deputy director of nursing, explained that the trust had recently invested £2 million into recruiting more nurses to make sure national healthcare standards were met.
Some nurses have already been recruited from Spain, with more on the way from the Philippines and Portugal, but the hospital is keen to harness the skills available in West Norfolk.
Miss Newton said: “There is a real shortage of registered nurses across the UK so we are trying to do what we can to address that.
“We want to highlight to the local population the opportunities available at their local hospital. When some people think about working at a hospital they think ‘doctors and nurses’ but there are so many other roles as well.
“It’s about talking to people to find out what they’re interested in, and asking what their experience is and then finding the right path for them. The career development and support at the trust is fantastic.”
One of the attendees at the event was 19-year-old Lottie Sutcliffe, from Lynn, a part-time customer service assistant at a local convenience store who wants to pursue a dream of becoming a mental health nurse.
QEH nurses and recruitment staff were on hand to tell her about the different options available to her, including becoming a nurse auxiliary and then taking a funded foundation degree while working and gaining experience on the job.
She said: “I thought I would have to go to college and university and then go into nursing when I finished, but this makes it really accessible. I’m definitely going to apply.”
Bernadette Fitzharris, the hospital’s workforce planning and redesign manager, said the hospital liked to ‘grow their own’ staff by offering continuous career development opportunities.
“The trust is really committed to supporting its staff through various development opportunities,” she said. “For example, people can join the trust as healthcare assistants and we can help them become a registered nurse through part-time courses.
“There’s so many different opportunities available and it’s about getting that message out there.
“We also want to promote the trust as a good employer with good benefits for staff such as generous annual leave entitlement and flexible working.”
Ms Fitzharris said the trust had permanent and bank posititions available, with bank roles being perfect for people with limited hours available, such as mums with children at school.
Anyone interested in becoming a nurse at the QEH can contact the hospital on 01553 613613.