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Nurses from the Philippines Web
Skilled and experienced nurses join the Island’s NHS
01 August 2019

The NHS on the Isle of Wight is successfully recruiting talented nurses from overseas to bolster its work to build a home-grown nursing workforce. 

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has welcomed this week the first group of registered nurses from the Philippines to join the nursing team at St. Mary’s Hospital. 

The Trust has been working with International Healthcare Recruitment Agency, Drake Medox, for the past 4 years to attract nurses from the Philippines to take up the opportunity to live and work on the Island to boost the number of nurses on the wards. 

Like many other NHS organisations across the country, the Trust has struggled to recruit enough registered nurses to fill vacancies and has had to look further afield to places like the Philippines to recruit skilled and experienced nurses. A trip to the Philippines in January and again in May this year has led to the successful appointment of 66 registered nurses who will be arriving to the Island over the next 8 months. 

Overseas recruitment is happening at the same time as an innovative programme to invest in the home-grown nursing associates through better use of apprenticeships. 

Alice Webster, Director of Nursing said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome more qualified nurses to join us. A shortage of qualified nurses is not something that is unique to the Island and we have been looking at different ways to recruit more nurses from growing our own newly qualified nurses to looking to international recruitment to bring more staff to our hospital wards. Overseas recruitment has been such a success in the past that it made sense for us to return to the Philippines again this year and shows our commitment to increasing the number of nurses on the Island.” 

Before arriving in the UK the nurses have already passed an English language test and nursing theory exam set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  Once in the UK they must successfully pass a practical exam required to practice to UK standards, known as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). The OSCE covers all aspects of the delivery of nursing care. Nurses are required to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge, understanding and practical application of skills in the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of nursing care; testing specific clinical skills such as Aseptic Non-Touch Technique and In Hospital Resuscitation.  The nurses are then able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and work as a Registered Nurse in the UK.

Jackie Humphries, Human Resources Manager has been involved in the recruitment drive. Jackie said: “Each time we go out to the Philippines we are bowled over by the passion and enthusiasm from the nurses we meet who are excited to come and live and work on the Island. The nurses we have appointed are caring, compassionate and experienced and are really committed to a long career in the NHS.”

Christian Grageda, Acute Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital came to the UK 4 years ago.  Christian said: “The Trust has given me so much in terms of career opportunity and improvement. I started as an adaptation nurse in the Stroke Unit and I am now an Acute Oncology Nurse Specialist. None of this would be possible without the support, trust and guidance given to me by the Trust. The Island is extremely beautiful and the people are kind and respectful.”

Lina Yusuf is a Senior Staff Nurse on the Intensive Care Unit. Lina said: “I moved from the Philippines to this beautiful island in 2016.  Surrounded by lovely beaches and picturesque landscapes, it’s always been like working and being on a holiday at the same time. 

“People at work are always willing to lend a helping hand and are very considerate of everyone’s welfare. We get good compensation, lower cost of living, good work-life balance and more opportunities to travel.”

Donna Parkinson, Head of Practice Education and Development supports nurses with their clinical development. Donna said: “It is important for our Filipino nurses feel welcome when they arrive. They are very much an integral part of our Nursing Family. Many are leaving behind family and friends and it can feel overwhelming for them so we make sure we do all we can to ensure they have everything they need for when they arrive from transport and accommodation to support with their transition to nursing practice in the UK and more specifically on the Island.  We now have a well-established Filipino community who planned a lovely welcome for them and are helping them to settle in to Island life.”

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