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QA Hospital celebrates 'International Year of the Nurse and Midwife' with a record low number of nursing vacancies

Date: 02 January 2020

Rosalynn Austin and Sarah Parkinson

The year 2020 is ‘International Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ and the Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) in Cosham is celebrating with a record low number of nursing vacancies.

Following a highly successful year-long recruitment campaign to attract people to live and work in Portsmouth, overall nursing vacancies at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust have dropped by 29.5% for the period between January and November 2019.

Band 2 (healthcare assistant) vacancies have reduced by 56.6% and band 5 (newly qualified nursing) vacancies by 54.4%, with additional new starters scheduled to join in December and the New Year.

As of 30 November 2019, there were 3,188 full time equivalent nurses employed at the Trust, which is now reporting the lowest number of vacancies on record at the hospital in some areas.

This success has been a result of a number of different initiatives including a successful Newly Qualified Nursing recruitment campaign, as well as international recruitment success, with 245 international nurses arriving between January and November 2019.

Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It is fantastic news that our vacancy rate for qualified nurses has reduced so dramatically. We have made significant investment in recruitment and retention this year, which has led to a considerable reduction in our nursing vacancies and turnover.”

Turnover of staff has also reduced from 14.5% to a current rate of 11.4% as a result of a number of new initiatives including a comprehensive staff wellbeing programme for physical and mental health.

Liz added: “It has been a real team effort to achieve this result and we look forward to welcoming even more new recruits to the Trust. Our success over the last year has meant that we’ve had to recruit to fewer posts, which provides greater stability to our teams and enables us to ensure a better continuity of care for our patients.”

There are also more opportunities for nursing to take on more advanced roles and develop in their careers.

Rosalynn Austin, Specialist Research Nurse, says: “I am a ‘Clinical Academic Research Fellow’ so I work as a Specialist Research Nurse two days a week and the other three days I am working on completing my PhD. This means that in addition to helping make research happen at PHT, I have also written my own research study which has opened both here and at other Trusts.

“I love my role as I get to offer patients the opportunity to help increase our knowledge around their illness, so that others in the future will receive even better care. I get to help contribute and create new medical knowledge.”

Sarah Parkinson, Advanced Clinical Nurse Practitioner, added: “This is an exciting time to become a nurse as there are much greater opportunities to specialise and diversify in your career. I joined PHT as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Cardiology and have introduced a nurse-led service within the Fast Access Chest Pain Clinic.

“My role is different from a general nursing role as I have been trained to assess and diagnose patients myself, working autonomously to create a safe and appropriate management plan. I still work closely with my medical colleagues, but have advanced skills to allow me to have a more hybrid role within nursing.”

If you’re interested in joining the team at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust or thinking of a career in nursing, click here

Chief Nurse Liz Rix talks about International Year of the Nurse and Midwife:

Image shows: Rosalynn Austin (left) and Sarah Parkinson (right)

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