Why is is difficult to find Nurses in UK??


I was just wondering why is so difficult to find nurses in UK? I would have thought that with the recession and everything there would be plenty of nurses looking for job? At my work we constantly need at least 3 new nurses but never seem to be able to find someone?

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Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 35 years experience.

are you having difficulty or is it just management telling you one thing when really it is something else?

Specializes in ER. Has 37 years experience.

In my experience, vacancies and the funding to fill them do not go together very often in the UK.

Short sighted management strategies means that vacancies are constantly filled by agency and bank nurses, often for years at a time.

For example, I applied for and got a band 7 post back in 2005, then got a phone call a few days later saying they had decided NOT to recruit after all due to funding issues and uncertainties about the future of the Trust. They opted to fill the vacancy indefinitely with agency.

I actually worked the job myself as an agency nurse when I was in England last year !!!

I do find it strange though that there are so many applicants out there, and yet trusts in East Anglia are recruiting in Portugal due to 'shortages'.


23 Posts

When people raise the issue of recruitment in nursing its always a delicate issue for the following reasons:

1) Current nursing shortage across the uk. Nurses leave posts and they are never replaced.

2) Current working conditions in the NHS and the increase in zero hours contracts

3) The NHS does not do enough to keep and develop qualified nursing staff particularly those from a BME background. The statistics for Senior nurses and Board Director from BME backgrounds are far and few between.

4) Its far easier to temp nurses abroad with nicer weather, better working conditions and better pay

The NMC is not currently registering Australian and NZ nurses unless thay have post graduate qualifications following their review last year. This might seem insignificant but many of us are leaving, sick of being paid as HCA's or not coming over in the first place now.


274 Posts

I agree :) they choose to opt for bank nurses, i am a bank nurse, however i only work in one ward , i cant take shifts anywhere else as i have full time hours in the ward i am in, i get my shifts 6 weeks in advance and get called to do extra, it does not bother me that am not in contract as i love my job and am a member of the team , my boss was refused to hire an extra staff nurse due to funding , even though we are always short staffed , so its filled with other bank staff and sometimes that is difficult! And the contract staff often come in on their day off! It does not make financial sense but hey ho! Its the NHS!

Has 5 years experience.

I work in a area deemed both heavy and busy and the whole directoate is having problems getting applicants.

nursing is always shown in a bad light in the press. The stress on the ward is immense. The paperwork ridiculous. Wage issues. Better money on agency and you dont have to put up with the ward politics, you dont like it there then dont go back! frequent 13 hour shifts with no break. Our band 5s got a letter saying they would get an extra 3k to stay in the medical directorate for 3 years, tax and pension deductible of course. The shift patterns are awful, mine this week and next is 2 nights on, 1 day off, 1 night so finish monday morning back in tuesday day for 12.5 hours. how can you stick a strawberry on that!!! i wonder why we struggle to find nurses.


5 Posts

The numbers of places open for student nurses was reduced a few years ago, meaning now we're feeling the pressures of not having enough nurses as people are retiring, choosing the leave the profession, moving abroad.

Not only that, but with what is going on in the NHS right now and how nurses are being treated, it's no surprise people don't want to be nurses.


6 Posts

Trust management are under continuous pressure- to meet targets, reduce costs. Xerox machine here faulty but not allowed to get new cartridge until end of financial quarter ! Lot of emphasis on using healthcare assistants wherever possible to supplement ( really means reduce) qualified nurses who are more expensive. Entry qualifications for HCAs are not high- reading, writing, no criminal convictions. Despite this, agency nurse use is high but they are here today, gone tomorrow. Wouldn't want to be a ward sister !


19 Posts

I'm a staff nurse in London in a critical care unit.

I can completely understand why no one want to be a nurse:

The workload is really heavy and the salary is pretty low in respect of the London standards


1 Post

You should come to Ireland. We have a huge shortage of nurses in all categories. Feel free to contact me if you want further information.