|As nearly half a million students get their A-level results today, NHS leaders are calling on young people to consider a career in nursing.
The NHS has worked with universities to offer more than 7,000 extra nursing places in higher education from this September, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan to build a workforce for the future of the health service and supported by its successful ‘We are the NHS recruitment campaign’.
The NHS is one of the top ten employers in the world, offering around 350 roles, employing more than 1.3 million people, and caring for around one million patients every day.
Tens of thousands of students will call the UCAS clearing line over the next few days to secure a place at a different university to the one they originally chose and in some cases, will change career paths.
Over 60,000 students secured a place through the clearing last year and Lynne Wigens, chief nurse for the NHS in the East of England, is urging people at a crossroads to join the health service.
As well as nursing, a career in the NHS can then lead to roles including psychiatrists, lab technicians, physios, paramedics, scientists, GPs, surgeons, anaesthetists and over 300 more roles.
Dr Lynne Wigens, chief nurse for NHS England and NHS improvement in the East of England, said: “The NHS is a fantastic employer and as a registered nurse, I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to work in a variety of roles. There are so many career options available, with many you might not have considered before and there are great opportunities to work with different people every day, to help people when they need it the most.
“It’s a hugely rewarding career in the NHS and an exciting time to join as we deliver our Long Term Plan, which will positively impact the health and wellbeing of thousands of people.
“There is also a wide range of non-clinical roles in the health service. Anyone thinking about their career options should seriously consider working in the NHS, which offers students more than simply a first job out of university; we give people a career and a sense of community that stays for life.”
The call on students to pick a career in the NHS comes as the NHS launches the next stage of the ‘We are the NHS campaign’ – the largest ever jobs drive of its kind, helping to bring in a workforce to support delivery of Long Term Plan commitments like speeding up diagnosis of killer conditions, expanding world class mental health services and introducing cutting edge treatments like proton beam therapy for cancer.
Launching last year, the campaign has resulted in a 4.5% increase in nursing applications, including a 9% rise in male nursing applicants as well as the number of 18 year olds applying going up by a fifth.
The campaign will encourage those going through clearing to Search Nursing Careers to find out more about the huge opportunities offered in modern nursing.
Nikki Kanani, acting director of primary care for the NHS said: “Joining the NHS was the best career decision I ever made and every single day being part of this amazing community that makes incredible things happen gives me a sense of pride I couldn’t get working anywhere else.
“To all students considering their options I say this, the NHS is ready to welcome you into our community with open arms.”
The health service is also running programmes focussed on developing Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff and getting them into senior leadership positions, helping make sure that the NHS is increasingly representative of the wider community.
Yvonne Coghill, director of workforce race equality for the NHS said: “The NHS prides itself on being the most diverse organisation in the country.
“We are lucky enough to have members of staff from all over the globe helping to make our NHS world class. We are very proud of the NHS and how it truly reflects the people we serve. No matter your background, when you join the NHS, you become part of the biggest and in my opinion the best organisation in the world.”