Student's anger at lack of nursing jobs

A MOTHER-of-three who is just weeks away from fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse last night hit out after she was told there was no guarantee she would find employment within her local hospital.

A MOTHER-of-three who is just weeks away from fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse last night hit out after she was told there was no guarantee she would find employment within her local hospital.

Despondent Nicola Roberds , from Great Cornard, near Sudbury, now faces an uncertain future as she desperately searches for a job within the cash-strapped National Health Service.

And she described the thousands spent on training new recruits as “money down the drain” as she called for local politicians to support her cause and lobby the Government.

“It has been really hard in the last three years trying to juggle studying with working part-time and looking after three children,” said Mrs Roberds, who had hoped for a job at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.


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“I have always seen nursing as such a worthwhile and rewarding thing to do, but the current employment situation has made me so despondent.

“When I started training, there were jobs available every week - now there are none. I just feel that I have given up a full-time job to train, for three years and for a career with less money, and now it seems like it was for nothing.”

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Mrs Roberds, 38, was a full time weaver for a firm in Sudbury before signing up for a three-year adult course at West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds.

Though she has combined studies with placement at West Suffolk Hospital, bosses said they could not offer any guarantees to any of the 14 students - just three months before she completes her course.

Mrs Roberds met Suffolk South MP Tim Yeo last week as hundreds of nurses descended on Westminster as part of a rally organised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Now, in a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr Yeo has described the situation as “appalling” and called for urgent action.

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said they had met students on Tuesday morning and told them nothing would be decided until the hospital's trust board made a decision on its financial recovery plan later this month .

But Jan Bloomfield, director of human resources and communication, said: “It would not be in our best interests for any quality nurses to be on the dole queue.

“Up until last year, we were begging these nurses to stay - that is how much the situation has changed. It would be a dreadful investment if we trained these individuals and not offered them employment.”

A spokesman for the RCN said: “The scale and impact of deficit-driven cuts are there for all to see - nurses are losing their jobs, vacancies are being frozen and patients are losing out on receiving the best possible care.

“Unless the Government gives NHS Trusts more time and flexibility to balance their books then this situation will continue.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “There are still jobs for newly-qualified staff in many different areas of the NHS but, as a consequence of the measures to reduce vacancy rates, there is more competition now.

“We still need more newly qualified staff to replace those who retire or take career breaks but some graduates may not always be able to find the job they want in the location they want and may need to be more flexible.”

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