Nurse jobs in abundance, but why the shortage?

Posted September 1, 2011 no picture Andystep

no picture Andystep View Profile
Member since September 1, 2011
  • Posts

It has become increasingly apparent that despite the abundance of available vacancies and nursing needs of near enough every UK care service in existence, it appears to get more and more difficult to actually fill the gaps. Why, you ask? Not because there aren’t thousands of nurses out there applying for jobs, but simply because of this ‘strain’ on the system causing the ever increasing need to find the perfect nurse!

Source: http://www.careworx.co.uk/blog/2011/05/nurse-jobs-...

It has become increasingly apparent that despite the abundance of available vacancies and nursing needs of near enough every UK care service in existence, it appears to get more and more difficult to actually fill the gaps. Why, you ask? Not because there aren’t thousands of nurses out there applying for jobs, but simply because of this ‘strain’ on the system causing the ever increasing need to find the perfect nurse!

Source: http://www.careworx.co.uk/blog/2011/05/nurse-jobs-in-abundance-but-why-the-shortage/#more-44

With nurse jobs set to rise more rapidly than the average nursing jobs growth throughout 2012, it becomes an increasing concern that our healthcare system will quickly fail to cope with demand, but we have to ask why the shortage?

In 2003 the BBC reported the ‘NHS “race against time” to replace the 50,000 nurses who will retire over the next five years’ and here in 2011 there are still reports of shortages of up to 14,000, not forgetting the growing requirements throughout the private health, community and care home jobs jobs sectors. This coupled with the imminent retirement of the ‘baby boomer’ generation and fears that many of those will require care in their own right not only leaves more nurse jobs vacant throughout the country but adds huge concern to an already straining system.

As former recruiters in the care and nursing sector it has become increasingly apparent that despite the abundance of available vacancies and nursing needs of near enough every UK care service in existence, it appears to get more and more difficult to actually fill the gaps. Why, you ask? Not because there aren’t thousands of nurses out there applying for jobs, but simply because of this ‘strain’ on the system causing the ever increasing need to find the perfect nurse!

The ‘perfect nurse’ puzzle

To explain my humble opinion, and it is only my opinion, as advertisers and previous recruiters we receive applications from qualified nurses with UK NMC PIN numbers for nearly all of the nurse jobs we post, but because they don’t fit the ‘perfect nurse’ mold for the employer in one way or another, the candidates are quickly rejected. Though there are countless potential reasons for this I wanted to put a few significant difficulties out there that we encountered to see if anyone agrees, or has anything to add…

Work permits

Although we’d all like to believe in this day and age that this wouldn’t be a factor, it clearly is! For the time it takes to obtain a valid work permit for a foreign nurse to actually start work, many organisations and managers would understandably ‘prefer’ to hold out for applicants who don’t require a permit at all. Considering also the expense and administration involved in overseeing the process through to the finish, it is in no way a surprise that care providers try to avoid work permits wherever possible.

I can only speak from our own perspective, of course, and am willing to broadcast that we personally found ourselves losing huge sums of money in language tests and work permit applications to see them fail for even the smallest of details. Even, as just one example, for a nurse with years of UK experience whose application for indefinite leave to remain was failed due to a required English language test certificate being submitted in error as a photocopy and was therefore considered as ‘fraudulent.’ Having arranged and paid for them ourselves we knew of the tests’ authenticity and the original document could have been produced in a short time, plus this information could have been verified with the official test centre. Rather than putting in every effort to ‘approve’ the application to help our struggling and short staffed health system after literally months of waiting, the powers-that-be point blank rejected the permit! The impact of this decision not only caused the employer to rescind their offer due to cost and the unknown timescale of an already overdue start date, but the nurse in question was forced to return back to their home country!?

With events now being held in this country to encourage UK trained nurses to work in Australia and the Minister of Immigration granting ‘priority processing’ of UK nurse visa applications to meet their growing demand, surely we need to do something drastic to improve this process here in the UK.

Experience

We used to get literally hundreds of newly qualified nurses asking for our help in finding work every year and despite fielding them out to organisations and managers in droves, the return on effort is minimal. In the end it’s heartbreaking getting involved and having to tell each one that despite their fresh drive and enthusiasm to work, there are just no takers. Obviously a care provider may be a little averse to paying an agency or recruiter to employ a newly qualified nurse; however we began to pitch them out for ‘no fee’ and would still get very little response.

The evident problem is that everybody needs relevantly trained and ‘experienced’ nurses who can ‘hit the ground running’ immediately and share the workload. Very few care services, unless they specifically run nurse adaptation or training programmes, are in the position to take the time and resources needed to develop staff to the required level, especially those that are already understaffed. Even nurses from other EU countries get ‘knocked back’ quickly if they don’t have previous UK experience as despite being clinically capable, they don’t understand our systems of work and regulations so struggle to gain the opportunity to learn.

What’s the answer?

Who knows? It appears to be a vicious circle that will certainly be difficult to break, but in times where we can ill afford to be fussy there seems to be a lot of missed opportunities and new systems need to be put into place quickly to recognise these issues.

I’m interested to gain your opinions and any similar stories to see if we’re alone in this please.




comments powered by Disqus

Learn More