Perceptions of Nursing in the NHS
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Aim: To investigate the attractiveness to potential nursing staff of the NHS as an employer. Method: Individual and group interviews were conducted with school pupils, mature students, nursing students, healthcare assistants, agency nurses and independent sector nurses. Results: Eighty one people participated in the qualitative stage of the study. Analysis of the interview transcripts indicated that nursing as a career choice is perceived as hard work, involving high pressure and stress. Working with patients is seen as a source of considerable job satisfaction, but this is set against staff shortages and lack of flexibility about working hours. Increases in pay and staffing levels, coupled with improved retention strategies, are suggested as tactics to improve recruitment. Conclusion: Potential recruits see nursing in the NHS as moderately attractive, and this is predominantly based on interaction with patients. Improved satisfaction in current staff would help to advertise the NHS positively as an employer. Improvements in pay, greater recognition and more flexible hours would help to encourage staff working outside the NHS to return.-
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