The survey included 500 newly-qualified nurses and more than 2,200 student nurses. Seventy-one per cent of the newly-qualified nurses were still looking for a permanent position and 86% stated that they were not confident about finding a job.
Nearly all of the nurses questioned in this survey believed that recruitment freezes were the root cause of their difficulties. Eighty-five per cent of the survey participants said they would consider retraining or moving to another sector if the problems continued.
General secretary of the RCN, Dr Beverly Malone, said: ‘Short-term, quick-fix recruitment freezes in the NHS not only disillusion staff, they have a direct impact on patient care. We desperately need these nurses in the NHS now - not sometime in the future when trusts have solved their financial problems. We need the Government to give Trusts more time to sort out the deficits crisis so that they can put an end tojob freezesfor newly qualified nurses.
‘What message are we sending out tothe nurses of the futureif we spend tens of thousands of pounds training them, only to see them without jobsright at the beginning of their careers? The period straight after qualifying is the single most important time in a nurse’s career - unless we welcome them into the profession then, we risk losing them forever.
‘We know there are 180,000 nurses due to retire over the next ten years - if the new generation of nurses are finding it so tough that the majority are considering changing careers, then we clearly need to take action now. If we don’t, then the long-term consequences will be extremely damaging for patient care.’