Andrew Stewart, Clinical Resource Planning Manager at Kettering General Hospital

August 24, 2017

Why training and development is at the heart of a ground-breaking NHS recruitment campaign

New figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)[i] have revealed that more UK nurses and midwives are leaving the profession than joining for the first time on record, with the number of nurses departing having risen by 51% in just four years.

What can the NHS do to solve this problem? A group of leading healthcare providers in Northamptonshire may have the answer.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and St Andrew’s Healthcare, a leading charity providing mental healthcare, have joined forces with the University of Northampton to launch an innovative recruitment campaign.

The Best of Both Worlds seeks to promote the many diverse career and training opportunities across Northamptonshire, and the excellent quality of life people can achieve, with great schools, affordable housing, easy commuting and great transport links.

There are extensive career opportunities across the region.

At KGH, we have vacancies for 50 nurses and 50 consultants. At Northampton General Hospital, nurses, consultants and trust grade doctors are required across radiology, A&E, oncology, respiratory and orthopedic wards, as well as theatres and surgery wards.

St Andrew’s Healthcare needs to recruit up to 130 nurses this year, including mental health and learning disability specialists and RGNs. There are also many opportunities at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides 130 different services at over 50 sites – delivering many outside the hospital within the community.

The University of Northampton is one of the UK’s leading universities for nursing training and was recently awarded a Gold mark, the highest possible rating for teaching excellence, from the government. A key part of the campaign is to encourage student nurses to build their careers in Northamptonshire.


Training and development opportunities

The training and development of nurses and doctors is at the heart of the campaign. We offer extensive training opportunities and view training as being key to attracting and retaining talent.

We have a dedicated clinical and medical centre, the Prince William Education Centre, which offers programmes and courses for all medical and non-medical professionals looking to improve clinical practice. It also supports medical and nursing students throughout their training.

Both KGH and Northampton General Hospital run a successful Return to Professional Practice (RtP) course for qualified nurses who have had a break from practice to enhance their skills so they can confidently return to professional practice.

Additionally, KGH runs a programme for international nurses working towards NMC registration and the right to work in the UK. We also retrain staff to work in different areas, for instance nurses who want to retire from clinical duties to work in administrative roles. As many nurses retire in their 50s, we hope this initiative will encourage them to prolong their careers.

Two years ago, we set up a three-tier leadership programme to develop staff at all levels of management which has been very successful and this programme is continually developing.

I’ve attended several training programmes delivered by NHS elect, an NHS body set up at Kettering to develop people. Following eight days of training across six months, the courses enabled me to reflect on my management style and become more aware that certain areas need improving.

I’ve also been on the advanced leadership course where I was mentored and coached. The course helped me hone and develop my management skills and contributed significantly towards to my own professional development. I then won the non-clinical employee of the year last year and it felt great to be developed and recognised for my contribution to KGH.

Staff recognition is a huge priority too. We host a celebration event for staff on the leadership course, as well as an employee award ceremony for people who have gone above and beyond their duty in their working life. The Chief Executive personally gives out ‘thank you’ letters to staff who have gone that extra mile at our monthly ‘CARE smile’ awards.

We want our staff to be proud of where they work and encourage them to think of ways to improve the hospital. An example of this is one staff member, Jayne Chambers, Capital Programme Operational Delivery Manager, is developing a dementia garden at the hospital. Without any funds, she canvassed support from local councillors, MPs and businesses; Jayne achieved this in her spare time and so far, has raised more than half the money needed to fulfil that ambition.

There are training opportunities across the county too. Northampton General Hospital was the first hospital in the UK to affiliate with the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center scheme, the ‘Pathway to Excellence®’. This programme seeks to raise nursing standards and it focuses on nursing recognition. The hospital is also one of the first in the UK to introduce the Daisy award, which celebrates the skillful compassionate care that nurses and midwives.

For nurses that specialise in mental health and learning disabilities, St Andrew’s Healthcare is a fantastic career choice. This is an award-winning, highly specialised, mental health charity, providing care for people with complex needs and its college for young patients is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has a diverse workforce delivering over 130 services so there are many interesting vacancies at all levels, including community nursing, mental health and learning disability services.  Many of the roles allow for flexible working.

We hope the Best of Both World’s campaign will show people what fantastic career options there are in Northamptonshire and the scope for training and development across the region.