UK hospital to recruit more Pinoy nurses

By Rose Eclarinal - ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau
Like Filipino nurses who leave the Philippines to find better job prospects elsewhere, UK’s home grown nurses are also leaving the country to seek opportunities abroad.

To replenish their workforce with only the best, some of UK’s National Health Service (NHS) hospitals are going further afield.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust confirms its recruitment in the Philippines.

“Here at Princess Alexandra, we want the best possible nursing staff that we can recruit. We can’t recruit everything we need from the locality or indeed from the UK. I’m quite excited about going to other parts of the world including the Philippines. Hopefully, lots of nurses will sign up and they will have a very warm welcome here when they arrive,” said the chairman of Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, Gerald Coteman.

Pinoy nurses as valuable assets

It is not the first time the hospital has recruited Filipino nurses to join its work force, and it very pleased so far with the nurses that have joined its work pool, especially with the quality of patient care and work ethics Filipinos have brought with them.

Executive Director of Nursing/Patient Care Yvonne Blucher said the compassion of Filipino nurses in dealing with patients also sets a good example for their colleagues. She added that Filipino nurses at the hospital are “actually valuable assets to the organization.”

“They are very thoughtful, considerate in patient care, they look at the holistic approach not just of the patients but also of the carers,” said Blucher.

“The NHS has very good experience in recruiting nurses in the past including those from the Philippines. We still have nurses here who were recruited some years ago, and that’s the case elsewhere in the NHS, so we are very pleased to be able to go back to the Philippines to see if we can get more nurses to come and work in our hospital,” said Coteman.

‘Every area would accommodate Filipino nurses’

As a growing organization, there are various opportunities in the hospital for Filipino nurses, such as vacancies in critical care, theatres, the general wards like emergency medicine, emergency trauma, surgery, and pediatrics, among others.

“Every area would actually accommodate Filipino nurses, every specialty, we could probably accommodate, currently.”

“But they have to be of a certain caliber, of a certain standard that actually fit in with our (organizational) values,” said Blucher.

Nelia Jalandoni applied for work at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in December. She is now taking the adaptation course in the hospital. She said all the processing fees, including visa application fee and airport tax, were covered by the agency.

“Masyadong mabilis, actually. Nag-apply ako sa kanila, online lang. Pinadala ko yung curriculum vitae ko, right there and then tumawag sila sa akin, nag schedule ng interview. All it took was just 2 weeks, actually,” said Jalandoni.

Jalandoni is also happy with the continuous support she’s getting both from the hospital and the agency that facilitated her application.

100 nurses needed

Jai-kin Resource has inked the contract to provide 100 nurses to the hospital. But its Operation Manager, Nancy Cunniff is apprehensive that she might not be able to deliver the number on the agreed dates. She said recent applicants in the Philippines are not meeting some of the most basic requirements of the NHS Trust. Applicants are falling short of the mandatory IELTS score, which is a score of not lower than 7 for all the areas in the test for international English language proficiency.

“Ang major na problem nila ay yung pagpasa nila ng IELTS. They should have 7 score in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and once they are qualified, they can apply for NMC kasi yan ang number one requirement,” said Cunniff.

Cunniff clarified that the average score of band 7 for all the areas will not suffice.

Apart from the IELTS, a minimum of 2 years clinical experience in a hospital setting, medical and NBI clearance are also required. If applicants have met these requirements, Jai-kin will help them apply for their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) qualification in the UK.

She is looking at bringing the successful applicants to the UK in 3 installments: by the end of February, last week of April and mid July.

Interviews set for February

Louise Barnes, who is the head of Elderly Care and June Barnard, Matron of the hospital are flying to the Philippines to lead the screening process.

They said interested applicants need to sell themselves to compete for the vacancies.

“I think it’s important that they are sure with their communication skills. Communication is very important in the way that they are dealing with the public, with the family especially in the hospital environment when people are suffering from stress, etc. so it’s very important that people’s communication skills are very good,” said Barnard.

“They should have a degree of self-confidence because obviously it’s going to be daunting coming across the UK and working in a new environment,” said Barnes.

They are a little bit too shy. They have the clinical knowledge but too shy in challenging us, the medical team,” she added.

The hospital has done it in the past and it is doing it again. Its recruitment of foreign nurses, which aims to diversify its workforce and cut the shortage of staff means opportunities for work in the UK for Pinoy nurses.

But the chairman said what is imminent is not just employment for Filipino nurses but a chance to grow both personally and professionally in a culturally-diverse working environment.

“It’s a partnership. It’s not just telling our staff what they need to do to develop. It’s also asking them how they want to develop, where they see themselves in 3, in 5 year’s time. We can have that discussion and we can decide and we can support their aspiration in terms of development,” said Coteman.




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