Amid a widespread nursing shortage in the UK where it’s estimated there are 50,000 registered nursing vacancies, Rowcroft Hospice is planning to further develop its own nurses and healthcare assistant workforce through an innovative and multi-faceted programme of training, education, work placements and apprenticeships. In this pioneering approach, the charity seeks to address the current challenges in recruitment while at the same time ensuring that the hospice can achieve its future goals of enhancing and expanding its care to support more people in the local community.
“The recruitment crisis in the UK’s healthcare sector has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that many health and social care workers have left the industry due to experiences during COVID,” said Dr Gill Horne, Director of Care and Strategy at Rowcroft Hospice. “With the impact being felt here at the hospice, we’re responding to these challenges through a forward-thinking programme to grow our own nurses and healthcare assistants, enabling us to continue delivering expert care to our patients and families and to achieve our future strategic objective of caring for more people across South Devon.
“Our proposal includes the sponsorship of four trainee nurses at the University of Plymouth, as well as two apprenticeships for existing staff to train to become Nursing Associates by increasing their competencies, knowledge and experience in collaboration with South Devon College. In addition, we’re looking to enlarge our pool of healthcare assistants by offering placements to two students undertaking T-level certificates in health and social care at South Devon College and we’re exploring placement opportunities for students undertaking healthcare assistant diplomas.”
Rowcroft’s sponsorship scheme with Plymouth University will see four student nurses being offered the chance to have a career with the charity in return for financial support towards their university tuition fees. Student nurses will receive a bursary for one to two years, along with access to Rowcroft’s award-winning education programme. Once qualified, they will benefit from a permanent nursing role with Rowcroft.
Each year, Rowcroft cares for over 2000 patients with life-limiting illnesses through its care in the community and its Inpatient Unit in Torquay. Rowcroft’s care currently extends to one in three people with a life-limiting illness in South Devon, and the charity aims to support one in two people by 2023 and two in three by 2030. Furthermore, the hospice has long-term plans to expand and enhance its care through a remodelling of its Inpatient Unit, increasing the number of beds from 12 to 14, and through the development of a 60-bed dementia and complex nursing home. When these plans eventually come to fruition, there will be an essential requirement for increased staffing capacity.
Claire Booth, Head of People and Organisational Development at Rowcroft Hospice, said: “It takes a strong team of highly skilled and compassionate nurses and healthcare assistants to provide care for our patients and their families. We have plans to expand our care provision in the future and will need to increase our staffing levels significantly to do so. It’s therefore imperative that we invest now. Through this exciting new proposal to grow our own nurses and healthcare assistants, not only will we support the development of our existing employees, we are also keen to attract more talented and caring individuals who we can nurture through their career progression with us and who will benefit from and contribute to our enriching environment”.
“Rowcroft is a professional, friendly, positive and supportive organisation where our employees’ wellbeing is of the utmost importance, and we pride ourselves on being inclusive and values led.”
For further information about Rowcroft’s apprenticeships and sponsorship programmes, or to view Rowcroft’s current job vacancies, please go to: www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/vacancies
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