Wolverhampton NHS trust enters collaboration in Sri Lanka to recruit nurses

Around 100 nurses from Sri Lanka are being supported and coached by a trust in Wolverhampton to join its multi award-winning clinical fellowship programme and some will eventually be working on the frontline.

The Clinical Fellowship Programme team
The Clinical Fellowship Programme team

Amrak Institute of Medical Sciences, a private healthcare group in the South Asian country, is planning to send 80-100 nurses to join the three-year clinical fellowship programme (CFP), which includes a work-study opportunity with the option to return to their healthcare system.

“This is a new partnership that will potentially be very special,” said Laurence Foure, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust’s head of international workforce operations.

“If this is successful, I can see us replicating it in other countries.

“It’s a massive opportunity for people. The recruitment has started already and we’re looking at nurses coming here as soon as possible.”

Rakshitha Tudawe, managing director of Amrak, said: “Amrak Institute has opened pathways to position Sri Lanka as a global player in the healthcare workforce.”

To be eligible, the nurses must have a minimum of two years’ clinical experience and on arrival, all nurses receive pastoral support days and are enrolled onto the trust OSCE bootcamp to prepare them for their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE – clinical exams).

Once they pass their OSCE and upon receipt of their NMC pin, they will become NMC registered nurses and will be working across a variety of areas, including on the frontline.

Nurses are provided with an opportunity to join a structured training programme in a range of clinical specialties, through secondary and primary care, gaining a broad range of experience by working within one of the leading acute and community teaching trusts in the region, or with one of the trust’s local NHS partner organisations.

All nurses on the CFP are given a scholarship opportunity to further their studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Laurence says: “We know how tough it can be to move your life and career to an entirely new country. Therefore, we aim to support nurses and midwives every step of the way. Safe arrival, induction and embedding of new people into the NHS workforce is our number one priority.

“We provide a lot of nurturing and pastoral care from the day they arrive, assigning each one with an ‘international pastoral nurse ’ to buddy up and to help them integrate.

“We put a lot of effort into making sure they integrate and that it’s a hugely positive experience for them.”

The recruitment work starts in Sri Lanka, in terms of vetting and preparing potential recruits.

Laurence added: “We know the type of nurse we’re looking for, so we work closely with Amrak who understand our requirements in detail. This enables them to identify and put forward the right candidates.

“These candidates are supported by Amrak and the clinical fellowship team, providing step by step support to assist with the processing of applications in line with good industry practice, helping applicants to prepare for the CFP and life in the UK.”

The nurses will spend time at placements at either RWT, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

In January 2022, it was announced by the Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System (ICS) that more than 1,100 international nurses will have been recruited across the Black Country and West Birmingham by the end of 2022, making it the largest ever such recruitment drive in the Midlands, but the Sri Lankan recruitment drive is in addition to that.

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