Two Black Country NHS Trusts have welcomed another 60 international nurses from all around the world – with more to follow.
Walsall Healthcare and The Royal Wolverhampton (RWT) have recruited a total 60 nurses from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and The Philippines, with 28 starting at RWT and 32 at Walsall this week.
After flying into the UK and arriving at GTG Training Centre Willenhall, the nurses – who range in age from 22-55 – attended a week-long pastoral programme to support them in settling down and in their transition to the UK.
Following this they are attending a week of a bespoke induction programme, called Preparation for Practice. After Christmas they will attend the OSCE (Part two of the Test of Competence – a practical exam that tests nurses on clinical and communication skills) preparation bootcamp to support them sitting the examination.
All nurses are provided with accommodation – in university campuses or a local hotel – for their first 30 days. Each nurse meets with Lola Omotoso, Matron for International Nurses across both Trusts, and her team on a weekly basis to check to see how they’re settling in and to help solve any issues they might have.
To help them acclimatise further, Christmas parties are being held for the new RWT nurses on December 9 and for the Walsall group five days later. There they will have a talk on what a traditional Christmas dinner is here and be asked to chat about how they celebrate the festivities back home.
They will sit the OSCE exam in the first few days of February, and on completion, they will be working across most departments and wards, including medicine, surgery and theatres.
Lola was an international nurse herself after arriving from Nigeria in 2005 and so she knows first-hand what her new colleagues are experiencing. Now, as well as being a Matron, the mother of three also helps international colleagues to settle in via her roles as a Professional Nurse Advocate and Mental Health First Aider.
“It’s always exciting to welcome the new nurses to our workforce, and to be part of their incredibly brave journey is a great privilege,” said Lola.
“They are excited to be a part of our workforce and are looking forward to adding value to the Trusts. I would like to personally welcome them into our brilliant organisations.
“I look forward to celebrating great wins with them as they settle in and advance in their careers and hope they make Wolverhampton and Walsall their homes.
“I would love to see them transition smoothly and for them to love working for the Trust and be really happy here. From the Clinical Fellowship Pastoral Team, we say welcome in their respective language – Ekaabo, Kaaribu, Akwaaba, Maligayang pagdating, Machiegni and ‘Nnoo’.
“We enjoy – and are grateful for – the full support of both networks for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and LGBTQ+ staff across both Trusts which helps them settle into their new lives.”
Mavis Obosu, 26, a registered nurse from Ghana, has arrived with her older sister, Akosua Asare, 27, leaving husband Richard, a farmer, at home for the time being.
“I’m settling in well,” said Mavis. “I was assigned a buddy straight away and she is very helpful – checking in on me regularly and asking if I’m OK.
“The induction is going well too – they are giving us lots of information which is very helpful and I’m looking forward to making a career here. I like the culture and I feel I will learn more in this country.”
Olivia Rachuonyo, 39, has arrived from Kenya, after being attracted to the Clinical Fellowship Programme, which provides nursing fellows with excellent clinical practice exposure and access to structured and supported educational development at degree or Masters level.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve had so much information,” said Olivia, who has brought her eight-year-old son with her. “Most people put you straight on the wards but here the process is quite thorough so when we go to the wards, we will do so with a lot of confidence.
“I believe I’m doing the right thing at the right time and I’ve been made to feel very welcome. I only hope other Trusts do this for international nurses.”
The latest 60 international nurses will be supplemented by a further 41 at the end of December and another 48 at the end of January 2023.
They will make up a total of 1,100 new nursing recruits since January 2022 joining the four Black Country NHS Trusts with The Dudley Group and Sandwell and West Birmingham.