Spanish nurses proving a hit at the hospital
PUBLISHED: 16:06 06 September 2013
WHILE many dream of swapping a winter in Weston for a bit of Spanish sun, 44 nurses have made the opposite move to North Somerset.
The Mercury exclusively revealed in June that Weston General Hospital bosses flew to Spain to interview and hire European nurses because of a shortage of British ones.
To ease their transition into working at the hospital, the 44 carefully selected new employees have joined in batches, with the final group starting at the Grange Road site this month.
Chris Perry, director of nursing for Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT), said the phasing-in process had gone smoothly.
She said: “The nurses from Spain have all embraced this opportunity.
“They’ve settled in incredibly quickly, are delivering professional and compassionate care and are fast becoming popular members of the nursing team. Some have already brought partners and pets to settle with them in Weston.
“Madrid was the venue for the recruitment drive in June. It attracted more than 100 applicants from different cities and regions including Madrid, Seville and Malaga.”
The applicants were put through a variety of tests, ranging from English and maths to analysing drug charts.
The recruitment drive was held off the back of a critical Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which ordered WAHT to hire more nurses.
Recruiting extra staff, among other changes including the introduction of more regular rounds by matrons and senior nurses, saw the trust’s two formal CQC warnings lifted in July.
Nurse Nerea Rodriguez Amago was one of the first to arrive in Weston and the 24-year-old has liked what she has seen so far. Having left Madrid to take up the job, she has noticed a number of differences in the way the British healthcare system is run.
She said: “I’m a trained nurse and I saw this as a chance to develop my career and nursing skills.
“We also have a free national health service in Spain, but there are differences.
“In Spain you have more patients to look after, so for example I’ve looked after 22 patients at once. However families do a lot more of the caring and sleep in the hospital, they aren’t restricted to visiting times.
“In the NHS you spend more time with patients and there’s more focus on dignity and comfort. You have much more time to take care of all the needs of the patient, not just their clinical health.
“The people of Weston have been very nice and friendly and are always happy to help.”
In a poll run in June, 60 per cent of Mercury readers said they were not concerned that nurses were being recruited from abroad.