How student nurses can help solve the staffing crisis

There are currently 39,813 vacancies for nurses in the UK (as of September 2021). This is a huge number, and a slight increase from last year. With high vacancies comes the opportunity to do things differently, attract great people and drive cultural change. This brings huge opportunities to attract and hire newly qualified nurses while building a strong and diverse team to drive retention.

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Focusing on Student Nurses as your Organisation’s future is key to reducing agency spend, reducing temporary staff and improving retention levels. At Just R we are passionate about not only attracting candidates in the right way but equally retaining them, and so we’d like to share with you some ways to hire and keep newly qualified nurses.

How to hire students overwhelmed with opportunity

Student nurses are the future of our NHS; young and vibrant minds with new ideas and ways of working, they are eager to learn new skills and can be moulded into a strong, dependable team. 

Here at Just R, we understand the importance of Marketing and Branding when it comes to recruitment; a strong employer brand which includes the core values of your Trust encourages your potential candidates to follow suit, attracting like minded individuals. A strong brand identity is crucial in attracting the right candidates, especially those candidates who aren’t actively job seeking. Along with strong core values, it is important to know your USP’s (Unique Selling Points) – why should a student nurse start their career with you? Showcase your Trust as an employer of choice through training and career pathways, showing you are invested in your candidates and the patient care they deliver. This makes your Trust stand out as a career for life, rather than a job for now. By investing in student nurse’s development and training from day one, you receive loyalty and drive retention, as qualified student nurses grow and develop within your Trust, as well as providing the best standard of care.

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Strip back the recruitment process

Once you have attracted a strong pool of candidates, it is important that they stay engaged in the process. Did you know that 60% of job seekers stopped filling out an online application due to its length or complexity? This is especially significant when you consider passive candidates who may not be looking for a job with your Trust in the first place. An alternative to long and complex job applications, that generate strong candidates while keeping them engaged, are recruitment events and short form online applications. Here at Just R we know how to effectively attract and engage with suitable candidates, we have developed processes involving short form application forms and online registration of interest which help speed up the application process for applicants whilst also driving a brilliant user journey and fast results to our NHS partners.

How to ensure a positive onboarding experience

Starting a career as a newly qualified nurse can be overwhelming, regardless of previous experience, so it is important to support new hires from day one; with both their professional and personal development. This can be achieved by building a strong support network within your teams. Nursing can be tough but it’s through a strong team that you can reap the rewards and keep staff engaged. Consider partnering your new hire with a mentor who can act as a role model and means of support, offering guidance and feedback. This will not only keep newly qualified nurses engaged, but also motivate them as they get stuck into their new role. A positive onboarding experience is essential in retaining your staff and building a strong, values based team. Here at Just R, we are committed to ensuring new starters have a brilliant onboarding process and we want to help you achieve this, so why not get in touch today.

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Develop a career plan with regular reviews and updates

New hires need to feel welcomed from day one, months in, and onwards. This is a dependable way of securing and earning loyalty from your staff to drive retention. Your staff need to feel invested in, wanted and rewarded for their hard work. A great way to ensure this is through a clearly developed career plan with regular reviews and updates from their mentor. If a newly qualified nurse can see career progression ahead of them, they are more likely to feel motivated and produce a higher quality of care to their patients. This is especially relevant when you consider nurses who have just graduated, the future is bright and they have lots of scope for opportunity and a passion for progression. 

Another fantastic way to ensure your staff stay engaged is by allowing them to have a voice. By encouraging them to share their thoughts and experiences within their job, you are granted with valuable feedback that you can use to develop and improve job satisfaction within your Trust. At Just R, we are experts in delivering employee surveys from point of hire through to leaving. We offer 12 month surveys which provide valuable feedback and insights into first hand employee experience, allowing your Trust to progress and retain as many brilliant staff as possible!