Fresh drive launched to attract nurses from across the world to the Black Country

Hundreds more nurses are set to be recruited from across the world in the latest drive to attract more staff to the Black Country.

International nurse Beatrix Feldman
International nurse Beatrix Feldman

A campaign organised through The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) recruited more than 600 nurses from abroad in 2021 - and now an extra 465 are set to be recruited by the end of this year.

The nurses have arrived from countries around the world including the Philippines, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, Nepal and India.

More than 500 of these are already in work, with the remaining nurses set to arrive over the next three months.

Almost 300 have been recruited to work for RWT, which runs New Cross Hospital, while 189 are employed at the trust which runs Walsall Manor..

There are 75 each at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals and The Dudley Group and 15 at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The programme was developed to recruit nurses to help fill growing local demands, and it complements intensive efforts being made across the system to train and recruit more nurses locally.

The initiative is called the Clinical Fellowship Programme and was built on the success of a similar programme for doctors that launched in 2016.

To help international nurses settle in, a ‘buddying’ system is in place where each nurse is paired with an international colleague who has been here for six months or more.

Ms Marsh said: “Working collaboratively across Black Country and West Birmingham, all NHS organisations have been fundamental to the success of recruiting international nurses for our collective workforce.

“Our international nursing colleagues bring with them vast nursing experience, that supports us as a health and social care system in providing high quality patient care to the population we serve.”

As a qualified nurse in South Africa, 31-year-old Beatrix Feldman never thought that one day she’d be working as a nurse for the NHS in the UK, however that dream became a reality in March 2020.

International nurse Beatrix Feldman

Beatrix is one of hundreds of international nurses that have joined the CFP and is now a trainee nurse at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.

She said: “I first started nursing when I was 19 back home in Johannesburg and found it really fulfilling from day one.

"I did four years training and then spent another three years doing a second degree in nursing education so that one day I could also teach nursing to others.

"In my final year of my second degree, a friend of mine mentioned the NHS nursing programme here in the Black Country and West Birmingham and told me I should apply.

“I didn’t think I’d stand a chance of getting in but then I just thought what I have I got to lose, so I applied. After that, it felt like everything happened so fast and I couldn’t believe it when I got accepted on to the programme."

She moved to Wolverhampton in March 2020 and less than a week later the whole country went into lockdown.

"Admittedly it was overwhelming to move to a new country, not knowing anyone and with the uncertainty of the pandemic," she added.

"The first few weeks were a bit of a blur, but the support I had from the management team and other colleagues was amazing and I was made to feel at home straight away.

“For me, from one end of the world to the other, nursing is about providing care and looking after people and that doesn’t change. However, the biggest challenge so far has been getting used to the technology. Everything is far more advanced and up to date than it is back home, but I feel like I’ve learnt so much already.

“My original plan was to come over here for three years and go back to South Africa to use the experience and knowledge I’ve gained. I’ve been here for 19 months now and it’s been a truly life-changing experience, and I don’t think I’m going to go back. You can make your home wherever you are, with the right people and community.

“I truly believe that you can learn something new every day as long as you’re open to it, and since arriving here I feel like I’ve grown both personally and professionally, which I think is really special.”

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