The combination of a lack of future workforce planning across the UK healthcare sector, increased demand brought about by an ageing population and improved ward staffing ratios has combined to create a perfect storm for UK nursing. State, voluntary and private sector providers are struggling to recruit nurses from their local areas and even national level.

In a recent conversation with a nurse who was returning to the sector, she described how on the day of submitting her CV to several agencies, she was interviewed by four providers - each one bettering the terms and conditions of the last to recruit her. She described how she was overwhelmed by the demand.

The NHS has tried to negate the impact of failing to train and recruit in recent years by using agency nurses. This has been to date a very expensive short term solution with an inevitably long term effect on quality. The long term solution is to rapidly grow and develop the nursing workforce and this now seems to be a political priority. In recent years the NHS and the wider healthcare sector has been actively recruiting from the EU and overseas to help to control and minimise the impact of the shortfall.

International recruitment is at face value a simple solution to failing to recruit locally and nationally but in the wrong hands it can be a complicated and unsatisfactory experience for all concerned. Failing to understand, at the outset, the skills and human dynamics of individual candidates can cost an employer dearly. Employers that understand the initial challenges of assimilation, re-training and supporting candidates often end up with a great nurse.

The key to success is having a recruitment partner like Nurses Now that has the integrity, drive and experience to deliver excellent candidates, control the process and minimise the challenges.

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