Medacs Healthcare

MAY 30/2014

Rising number of overseas nurses 'need more linguistic support'

A new study has outlined the need for stronger induction and ongoing support programmes for overseas nurses seeking jobs in the NHS.

Research carried out by the National Nursing Research Unit at King's College London shows that recruitment rates of nurses from other European countries have risen sharply in the last 18 months, as NHS trusts seek to remedy longstanding staff shortage issues. This trend is only set to accelerate in the coming months, due to the introduction of safe staffing guidelines and mandatory reporting rules in the wake of the recent Francis Inquiry.

The rise is also a consequence of more medical professionals choosing to exercise their right to work across the EU, coming at a time when tighter controls have been implemented for nurses coming from developing nations.

According to the Nursing Times, these findings tie in with its own recent research, which showed that one-third of UK trusts are actively recruiting overseas, with Spain and Portugal particularly popular.

The new study - which encompassed an online survey and in-depth interviews with nurses from EU nations such as Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Romania - revealed that workers' existing knowledge of English was a key motivator for coming to Britain.

However, it was also suggested that employers could do more to ensure overseas staff are provided with the requisite training to help them overcome potential difficulties arising from regional linguistic differences.

Study author Ruth Young, a reader in health policy evaluation at King's College London, said: "It's things like words for different types of pain, or colloquialisms and ways of speaking that are not part of the standard English you have learned in your home country.

"Like any new job, it's a learning process when you first start and the organisations that are receiving migrant nurses need to take account of that kind of thing in their induction."

Such training could also make it easier for foreign nurses to prepare themselves for differences in working cultures between the UK and their countries of origin, according to Ms Young.

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