Since 2010, the number of NHS mental health nurses in England has dropped by 15%. The nursing shortage is partly caused by an ageing workforce that is not being replaced quickly enough. In 2013, more than 32% of mental health nurses were over 50.
Also, new figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have revealed that more nurses and midwives are leaving the profession in the UK than joining it for the first time on record, with the number departing having risen by 51% in just four years.
In Northamptonshire, a new joined up recruitment campaign entitled the Best of Both Worlds from four healthcare providers in partnership with the University of Northampton is addressing this problem.
The campaign unites the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital (KGH) and St Andrew’s Healthcare, a leading charity providing specialist mental healthcare, in a joint bid to solve their recruitment needs.
Together, they want to highlight the wide range of career opportunities offered by the providers, and the excellent quality of life people can achieve, with great schools, affordable housing, easy commuting and great transport links. They believe the career opportunities are endless for medical professionals at all stages.
Student nurses can study at the University of Northampton, which 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. Students from the University are on placement at several hospitals in the country and then they can choose to work wherever they wish.
Each of the healthcare providers here offers their own range of opportunities.
St Andrew’s is an award-winning, highly specialised mental health charity, providing care for people with complex needs. We need to recruit 130 nurses annually, which include mental health nurses, learning disability nurses and RGNs. There are opportunities at all levels from experienced nurses, to those newly qualified or thinking about becoming a nurse.
This is an exceptional place to develop a nursing career. There is teamwork and support, and a huge sense of collective pride across the nursing team. Many say you can tell a ‘St Andrew’s nurse’ by their healthcare knowledge, their advanced clinical skills and their values, dedication and professionalism.
St Andrew’s is committed to developing responsible, accountable and competent nurses and supporting their continued professional development, from new nurses to those who are highly experienced.
St Andrew’s Nurse Preceptorship programme is designed for newly registered nurses – it recognises that they require support, encouragement and a period of preceptorship to help them make the transition from novice to skilled practitioner.
They also have a dedicated nursing career pathway which enables nurses to move through the profession without them having to leave the charity. Staff can progress from Heathcare Assistant to Staff Nurse through our ‘Aspire’ programme, before moving onto more senior positions. Our pathway also offers opportunities for people to develop their career clinically as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, or to take a managerial route and become a Nurse Manager.
As part of their nursing degree, staff nurses do placements in the community with us and all the other Trusts in the county including Northamptonshire NHS Foundation Trust, KGH and Northampton General Hospital.
St Andrew’s also works hard to continually develop and improve our facilities. Currently, a new Research and Development department is being established, which will give the charity more access to practical research.
It also places importance on environment for staff and patients. St Andrew’s is set in 140 acres of parkland, with horticulture facilities, an outdoor gym, walks around the park and access to allotments, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a football pitch.
Such facilities give patients the freedom to be outside in nature if their security level allows, rather than being inside a secure environment every day. Patients are also encouraged to continue learning – from core subjects through to vocational skills. For our younger patients, we have a college which is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
There are also mental health and learning disability nursing opportunities at the Northamptonshire NHS Foundation Trust, which has a diverse workforce delivering over 130 services at over 50 sites. There are interesting vacancies at all levels, including community nursing, mental health and disabilities services.
Other hospitals in the county offer different opportunities. At Northampton General Hospital – just a stone’s throw from St Andrew’s Northampton site - nurses, consultants and trust grade doctors are required across radiology, A&E, oncology, respiratory and orthopedic wards, as well as theatres and surgery wards.
This hospital provides acute care services for 380,000 people and has an accredited cancer centre, with a recently opened chemotherapy suite and wonderful clinical and non-clinical training facilities for doctors and nurses.
It is also the first UK hospital to sign up to the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center scheme, ‘Pathway to Excellence®’. This programme seeks to raise nursing standards and boost nursing recognition.
This initiative is a key part of the hospital’s strategy of recognising the fantastic work of all their nurses - from the millennials to the wise owls nearing retirement age and making sure there are career opportunities and support for all. Plus, they are one of the first UK hospitals to introduce the DAISY award, which celebrates the skillful compassionate care that nurses and midwives provide.
And Kettering General Hospital is a district general hospital based in the heart of Kettering and known for its friendly, community atmosphere. It also has a brilliant cardiology service which operates 24/7 and its respiratory department has won national awards.
No matter what field people work in or what type of medical site they prefer, there are vacancies across Northamptonshire for people to develop, train and achieve their career ambitions.
For more information on the campaign visit the Best of Both Worlds.