Nurses recruited from overseas offered free housing and transport
Support package is designed to ease foreign nurses’ transition to working and living in the UK as NHS continues to depend on international recruitment
Nurses newly recruited from overseas are benefitting from financial advice plus a month’s free travel and accommodation thanks to an employers’ partnership.
Under the scheme, the nurses get a month’s free bus travel, 30 days’ accommodation and money advice through a collaboration between their trusts, a major bank, a bus company and a housing provider.
‘Support took away the stress I could have felt doing this on my own’
The nurses have been recruited by Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust from countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and the Philippines.
Staff nurse Virginia Enyidede, who came from Nigeria to work at Walsall Healthcare, said: ‘Settling in was very easy for me, right from when I entered the country till now, I never felt left out,’ she said.
‘The accommodation was comfortable, the bus pass helped me in navigating my way around and the account-opening session all contributed to making me feel at home.’
Fellow staff nurse Patience Ekuna, from Ghana, added: ‘It took away a lot of the stress and frustration that I could have felt doing all this on my own.’
International recruitment of nurses surging
Many trusts have ramped up international recruitment as part of efforts to fill widespread nursing vacancies. Latest NMC data show a surge in the number of overseas-educated recruits joining the register, with more than 25,000 arriving in the year up to March 2023.
Alongside recruitment drives, trusts are developing bespoke support programmes to help international nurses familiarise themselves with NHS systems and life in the UK.
Support for international nurses at Wolverhampton and Walsall is co-ordinated by a specialist recruitment team that recently achieved an NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award, which recognises good practice in supporting internationally recruited nurses and midwives.
The team oversees a structured training programme and offers practical advice for international recruits, who are also assigned a ‘buddy’, generally a fellow nurse from overseas who has been in the UK for at least six months.
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