An international recruitment drive in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean has led to twelve new nurses joining The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

The nurses have joined the specialist orthopaedic hospital from countries including Kenya, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Their arrival is timely, given the well-recognised shortage of nurses currently available in the UK, which has made conventional recruitment challenging.

One of the nurses who has joined the Oswestry-based hospital is Felix Otieno from Kenya, who will be working as a Scrub Nurse in Theatre.

He said: “It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but it’s been a smooth ride. I think the change in culture, and the weather, has been the biggest shock.

“Everyone we have met so far has been amazing and really supportive and I know I speak for the rest of the cohort when I say we all look forward to being part of RJAH, which is an incredible hospital, and caring for our patients.”

As well as the hospital’s Theatre department, the overseas recruits will also work on the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI) and Kenyon Ward, one of the Trust’s inpatient orthopaedic wards.

Deb Hughes, Recruitment and Relocation Support Officer, has been supporting the new recruits, while the Trust’s Practice Development Team have been involved in facilitating and teaching the recruits.

She said: “All the nurses who have joined us are trained and experienced in their home countries and we are currently supporting them with their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). If passed, they are able to obtain registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and work as a registered nurse.

“There have been a lot of extra challenges that have come with recruiting during a global pandemic, however I am delighted they are here in the UK and are getting settled into the hospital and their new homes – I am proud of how well they have adjusted to their new environment.

“I’d also like to say thank you to our colleagues at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital who have supported us with hosting our overseas recruits.”

NHS England support the recruitment of nurses joining from overseas and ensure processes are ethical and that nurses are not being recruited from countries where they have their own shortage of qualified staff.

Sara Ellis-Anderson, Interim Chief Nurse and Patient Safety Officer, said: “There is a well-recognised shortage of nurses in the UK and with the challenges we have experienced in the past 18 months through covid-19, we are greatly in need of some further expertise and support.

“I am thrilled to welcome our overseas nurses to RJAH – they will be a huge boost to both our staff and our patients.”

The overseas nurses joining RJAH are Felix Otieno, Dimple Sebastian, Alesia Morris, Tabitha Bera, Rochelle Lazarus, Meenakshi Nagaraj, Sathyalekshmi Vijayalekshmy Sathyapalan, Tania Shaji, Muhammad Ihsan, Sinto Jose, Jane Eze and Swapna Thomas.

Pictured: The first cohort of international nurses who have joined RJAH.