East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) has used different approaches to improve staff recruitment and retention, reducing nursing vacancies to less than 5%. ELFT recruits 90% of City University graduates, by engaging with students six months prior to graduation. The best students they’ve supported City University to train are offered places.
They have taken a number of strategic approaches to building and developing the workforce. These include:
Using selection days has improved the quality of nurses recruited. The ability of staff to engage, understand the impact of their words and behaviour on others, and their self-awareness and resilience are assessed. The Trust is also one of the most ethnically diverse NHS workforces with over 55% coming from a black and minority ethnicity (BME) background.
Future nursing leaders are being developed on a local level, through ELFT’s Band 6 Nursing Apprentice Programme. As a result, recruiting Band 6 nurses is no longer a problem and external Band 5 nurses are attracted to the Trust. Over 300 Band 6, 7 and 8 inpatient nursing staff participate in clinical leadership development programmes. This covers clinical leadership and management, the art of engagement and recovery, understanding others, resilience and the service user’s experience.
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