International Nurse Recruitment
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
Medacs Healthcare rapidly organised a series of Skype interviews with a pool of pre-screened prospective candidates, all of whom had already passed IELTS, with NMC decision letters in place. 15 nurses were successfully offered in September and 7 arrived in October, followed by a further 8 in November.
Following the rapid and successful deployment of this initial cohort, the Trust requested a further 20 nurses. Interviews were promptly arranged once again, and 10 of these new recruits arrived in January, followed by a further 10 in March.
Interviews took place to fulfil a further 30 nursing vacancies for the Trust (bringing the total to 65), where the first of these candidates arrived in May 2021. A priority focus on presenting high quality and thoroughly pre-screened candidates has kept the time spent by Trust representatives on interviews to a minimum, with an 85% interview-to-offer rate achieved across all hires to date.
As the Trust was unable to provide their own internal training resources for the OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) required for these new nurses to complete their NMC registration, Medacs Healthcare also provided a managed OSCE training solution.
This was resourced in partnership with an experienced training provider, currently supporting thousands of nurses with online, virtual and classroom based OSCE training courses. Training comprised a combination of online learning in preparation for exams (pre-arrival and during their mandatory isolation period in the UK), followed by an intensive 4-day face-to-face training course, including practical assessments, with a 1:4 trainer to nurse ratio.
Overseas nurses typically under go much longer OSCE training once they have arrived in the UK, spending up to 8 weeks on practical and classroom-based learning. However, with a need to boost staffing levels more rapidly and provide more virtual training options in response to Covid-19, many trusts are now adopting similar approaches to get nurses ‘ward-ready’ in a much faster timeframe.
There are many benefits to preparing nurses for their exams with online training while they wait for visas, flights, and other documentation to be confirmed. It allows trusts to monitor progress with regular updates and build a detailed picture of each nurse’s clinical strengths and weaknesses before they arrive in the UK.
This means their inductions and work plans can be tailored to meet their individual learning needs, supporting a more effective onboarding experience.
To date, 90% of the new nurses have passed their OSCE on their first attempt. The current UK average pass rate is currently 82%, proving that it is possible to achieve an equivalent standard of training via a more accelerated and virtual route to suit the current circumstance.
The results achieved by this recruitment programme in just over 6 months have successfully supported the Trust to improve safe staffing levels quickly, and reduce their future agency spend. To estimate what costs the Trust could have incurred over a year, had they been unable to recruit new substantive nurses, we calculated the annual cost of providing 65 full-time equivalent agency nurses*, incorporating a deduction for international recruitment costs. The potential annual saving on this basis would be £2.27 million.
The recruitment project has since been shortlisted as a finalist for a Nursing Times Workforce Award as ‘Best International Recruitment Experience’.
*Based on an annual cost of £35,000 for a WTE band 5 agency nurse, including a deduction for recruitment fees incurred for new substantive recruits