Date of release: 12 May 2020
Me as a newly qualified nurse
Welcome to my weekly blog. This week I want to promote International Nurses Day as we focus on the contribution our profession makes worldwide.
2020 was designated as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife by the World Health Organisation in recognition of the contributions they make, and today’s International Nurses Day is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
At our Trust, we are commemorating International Nurses’ Day in the following ways:-
- Our Emergency Department is going to be lit up in blue this evening
- Rainbow posters on the main corridors of our three hospitals are displaying a ‘Then and Now’ photo montage celebrating the nursing profession and how it’s changed over the years. These pictures have been posted on the Trust’s social media accounts (search The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)
- Nurses sharing photos of their pin badges and buckles, along with a quote about how they came to own them and why they are proud to be a nurse. For newly qualified nurses, we have asked for photos and a comment of what they’re looking forward to in their nursing career. These will also feature on social media
- Celebrating the nursing history of the Trust by sharing archive photos, largely from The Royal Hospital in Wolverhampton, to show how things have changed over the last 100 years
- Celebrating overseas nurses and their cultures by them sharing messages in their native language of why they are happy to be a nurse
Shining the light on ‘our’ day as nurses reminds me of my own journey in the profession. As a youngster I was very keen on sport and wanted to become a sports physiotherapist, but unfortunately didn’t have good enough ‘A’ Level grades. I applied to the Nursing School in Leicester but wasn’t accepted. I went to night school to redo my ‘A levels’ and at the same time became a Health Care Assistant at the old Groby Road Hospital in Leicester. A year later I was accepted on to nurse training at Nottingham School of Nursing.
I think it was that early rejection which has inspired the academic part of my career, and from there I managed to progress and steer my own pathway. I have been lucky to have worked nationally and internationally, proving nursing really is a global profession. I have worked in countries as diverse as Qatar, Egypt and China, and the opportunities are phenomenal and open to all. During my career, nursing has diversified beyond recognition. Investment in education of nurses has allowed people to develop further than ever before through clinical and management pathways. It really is a career where you can be what you want to be.
At our Trust, we take our role in the development of nurses very seriously. We recruit nurses from the UK, overseas and internally on our clinical fellowship programme which allows them to complete education, a degree or Masters alongside valuable experience in clinical areas.
International nurses must be registered in their own country but they then have to be registered in the UK. To do this they have to go through the Objective Structural Clinical Examination (OSCE) boot camp. This is a four-week training programme followed by a test at one of our four national test centres. If they pass this, they gain entry on to the Nursing and Midwifery Council register (NMC).
We recruited 32 overseas nurses in March, just before the Covid-19 outbreak. These nurses are waiting to start their bootcamp but were instead redeployed almost immediately on to the front line. Some of these have opted to join a temporary NMC register so they can work with more accountability. Since April 2019 we have recruited 110 international nurses through the OSCE pathway who have become NMC registered. Some of these are on the Clinical Fellowship Programme. Nationally, second and third year nursing students have been given the option of opting for an extended placement for six months within the Trust on fixed-term contracts. We have had an excellent rate of recruitment, with currently 200 student nurses and midwives from universities in the UK starting placements in April and May.
Over the last few months (within the Covid-19 period) we have made 118 offers to Health Care Assistants (HCAs) who want to join the nursing bank and made 22 offers to HCAs who want to work in substantive posts, which demonstrates their commitment to the patients we look after and the NHS as a whole.
The Trust is attracting nurses who want to work and develop here and I am proud of our nursing service which cares for the people of Wolverhampton. Take time if you can today to reflect on the amazing work you do and the nursing community that you belong to. Hopefully by celebrating in different ways and across these platforms, it will enable us to remember that nursing is a profession to be proud of and we can promote it to future generations.
Take care and stay safe,