More than 260 nurses will be taking up roles at Walsall Manor Hospital by the end of this year thanks to a number of initiatives to support and develop staff and reduce agency reliance.
A nursing workforce plan has been developed to address Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s current and future staffing challenges. Its aim is to increase student nurse numbers, attract and retain experienced registered nurses, recruit international nurses and develop a strong base of Clinical Support Workers.
One of the key elements of this drive has been the introduction of the Clinical Nursing Fellowship (CNF) programme which aims to recruit nurses both from the UK and internationally.
Since establishing the programme in May, the Trust has welcomed an additional 67 international registered nurses, with a further 200 due to arrive from overseas before the end of the year.
Professor David Loughton, interim Chief Executive of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, vowed to address its reliance on agency staff when he took on the role in April this year.
He said: “Our priority has to be the delivery of high-quality care while retaining our committed nursing workforce and attracting additional staff to join us.
“This will enable us to reduce and ultimately stop the need to supplement the Trust workforce with agency nurses.
“The CNF initiative allows access to funded clinical professional development and career development support. We are then able to up-skill our registered nursing workforce to Bachelors or Master’s degree level; studies have shown that higher levels of educational attainment by nurses are associated with lower levels of patient mortality.
“We need to look after our staff if we are asking them to look after our patients. At The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust the success of the CNF has meant that since February 2020, it has had the highest nurse retention rate in the West Midlands. That is something we can all be proud of and something that we should strive to achieve in Walsall.”
The CNF also has a strong emphasis on supporting nurse fellows as they settle into their new work environments.
In Walsall, the BAME Shared Decision Making Council will be welcoming the international nurses and helping them adjust to their new lives over the coming weeks and months.