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Southend Hospital shortlisted for two Nursing Times Workforce Awards

22 August 2018

Joint working

Southend University Hospital Foundation NHS Trust (SUHFT) has been shortlisted for two Nursing Times Workforce awards thanks to successful initiatives for supporting age diversity and developing our own workforce.

The two categories that SUHT has been shortlisted for are 'Best diversity and inclusion initiative' and 'Best workplace for learning and development for over 1,500 nursing staff'.

Diane Sarkar, Chief Nursing Officer, Mid Essex Hospital, Southend, Basildon &Thurrock NHS Foundation Trusts, said: "I am very proud of all the teams on such a fantastic achievement. Southend University Hospital recognises that in order to be able to deliver high quality care to our patients and their families we need to attract high calibre staff and to retain the excellent, dedicated and talented nursing and midwifery staff we have."

Denise Townsend, Director of Nursing, added: "I am delighted that we have been shortlisted for two awards as it recognises and rewards the excellent work being done by our hospital to support the nursing and midwifery workforce."

Best diversity and inclusion initiative

With 335 nurses eligible to retire in 2020, and an attrition rate of over 50s at an all-time high, SUHT needed to better support its ageing workforce.

Our Flexible Retirement and Encore Career Programme provides the support, training and tools our employees need to make informed decisions about their future, and continue or change their career in the Trust. As a result we've seen: 

  • 60% increase in pre-retirement employees contacting the service for 1-2-1 advice 
  • 11% increase in retire and return numbers 
  • Positive survey feedback regarding feeling equipped to make decisions about their future
  • 0.7% reduction in over 50s turnover

Stephanie Wilson, Employee Retention & Engagement Programme Manager, said: "We are very excited to be shortlisted for this award. Over 31% of our employees are over 50, and we recognise their skills and years of experience are invaluable to the Trust. We want them to stay, continue or change careers with us in whatever capacity works for their future. Many of these employees have no intention of slowing down, instead they wish to progress their careers, or create "encore" careers in later life. Some may be driven by life changes, others wish to move to alternative roles or retrain. This programme encourages and supports this vital sector of our workforce to develop and stay with us longer."

Nursing Times 1

Best workplace for learning and development for over 1,500 nursing staff'

SUHT has faced challenges with Registered Nurse (RN) vacancies and have used national, EU and international recruitment campaigns, with varied success. We adopted an approach to nurture, support and develop our workforce to enhance our skill mix and improve recruitment and retention. 

A suite of education, training, clinical and pastoral support programmes were implemented to help improve recruitment and retention of new graduate nurses, nurses returning to practice and overseas nurses. We increased access to and support for our "grow our own" pathways. These provide a structured 'step on step off' career pathway from trainee health care assistant (HCA), through to registered nurse qualification.    

Julie Coleman, Lead Nurse Practice Development, said: "It's a fantastic achievement to be recognised for the support that we provide for our nursing workforce. The 'grow your own' approach to nursing is so important in ensuring that we have the correct workforce in the future, to deliver care to our patients. We have listened to feedback from staff groups to ensure that the programmes and support available is responsive to their needs, has high quality content and meets the needs of the services we provide."

Nursing Times 2

The awards will take place on
Thursday 4 October in London and will inspire and reward organisations for excellence in supporting the future of the health and care workforce.