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Former nurses urged to return to the wards of Suffolk hospitals

PUBLISHED: 11:25 29 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:25 29 December 2014

Nursing recruitment drive aims to get ex nurses back into the profession, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Chris Skyes and Oliver Inwards.

Nursing recruitment drive aims to get ex nurses back into the profession, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Chris Skyes and Oliver Inwards.

The NHS is calling on former nurses to come back to the profession in a bid to help boost nurse numbers.

Nursing recruitment drive aims to get ex nurses back into the profession, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Chris Skyes and Oliver Inwards. Nursing recruitment drive aims to get ex nurses back into the profession, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Chris Skyes and Oliver Inwards.

In Suffolk, 12 nurses have already signed up for or started University Campus Suffolk’s newly created return to practice course.

The campaign’s organiser in Norfolk and Sufolk, Chris Sykes, was keen to stress the benefits were not just for the NHS, with flexible hours and work outside of hospitals on offer.

She said: “Nationally, the aim was to get 1,000 back into nursing by Christmas. We hit 800 about a month ago, and the campaign started in September.

“People have left nursing for all sorts of reasons. It could be they have had families, and have left to care for them.

“Sometimes they left to care for an elderly member of their family or maybe they had to relocate.

“Some people who maybe did not find hospital nursing suited them, we have nursing in the community and vacancies in GP surgeries.

“The staff in GP surgeries are aging, we are facing a shortage there, so maybe they could come back and work in that role.”

The education development manager in the NHS, and former nurse herself, said that the route to getting back into nursing was not as difficult as some might expect.

She said: “It is a part time course, to obviously bring your education up to date. It does not cost and if you already have a part time job, you could fit them round each other.

“The longest time out we have seen is 16 years, but for most it is much shorter than that.

“In some cases, where they have been caring for the elderly or bringing up children, the role is very similar to nursing.

“If they left to have families and have two or three children, they can come back and work part time. What ever they think would suit them best.

“It can be a real benefit to them, getting back to work. It doesn’t just benefit the NHS.”

To apply or find out more about returning to nursing go to www.hee.nhs.uk/comeback

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