England-based hospital, Yeovil District Hospital has recently offered 180 nursing jobs to Filipino nurses, as part of the effort in aiding staff shortages. The English hospital expressed its hopes to fill in at least 150 posts.

According to Director of Nursing and Elective Care, Shelagh Meldrum, Yeovil District Hospital faces staff turnover of 18 – 20% — an alarming high figure, compared to the NHS national average of 11%.

"We have got the retirement issue and we are up against big city hospitals," expressed Meldrum.

A Filipina Senior Sister, Gemma Perlas, is spearheading the overseas recruitment drive.

Perlas further lamented that the job mismatch is not uncommon to her fellow Filipino nurses. “Most of the nurses who have completed training have got no job. Some of them are working in call centres and it is a shame because they are not practising their nursing profession," she shared.

The hospital assured that hired Filipino nurses – from the existing Filipino nursing workforce and community association – will be provided support once they are in Yeovil. "When they come to settle, we pick them up at the airport, show them round the hospital, help them set up a bank account and show them where to go shopping and buy Filipino foods," added Perlas.

Obstacles faced in recruiting Filipino nurses

Even though there is a growing demand for Filipino nurses to work overseas, it is no secret that applying for jobs comes with many obstacles.

In a separate recruitment effort conducted by the Royal Bolton Hospital, the UK-based hospital failed to bring in 140 nursing professionals from the Philippines due to strict examination process. Instead, they were able to recruit only 21 nurses — all of which are still subjected to training.

As a result, the Royal Bolton Hospital is left with the ongoing manpower crisis for the winter season.

"The nurses in the Philippines want to work in the UK — they really, really do — but, it is such a difficult exam,” said Trish Armstrong-Child, Director of Nursing at Royal Bolton Hospital.

"They have to travel hundreds of miles for the exam, which they have to pay for themselves, costing three months of wages, and then it's a 70% fail rate the first time. It is harder than a GSCE in this country." MIMS

Suggested reading:
MIMS Primer: What is IELTS?
Overcoming obstacles to a career in nursing
Two foreign nurses said to put patients at risk because of poor English
A nurse’s journey to a dream job in Germany - Part 1 | Part 2

  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-somerset-40455234
  2. http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/bolton/15387366.Hospital_facing_nursing_crisis_as_overseas_recruits_struggle_with_English_exams/