Sunday 19 November 2017

EXCLUSIVE: 'Nurses like me will be promised the world to return to Ireland but we know those promises won't be kept'

An Irish nurse on why she won't leave her job abroad to return to the HSE

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
The HSE is hosting three open recruitment days at its Dublin headquarters from December 28 to 30 and is inviting any nurse interested in a job back in Ireland for an interview. Photo: Getty Images Stock
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

As the HSE looks to attract Irish nurses working abroad back to Ireland and the overcrowding crisis in hospitals continues spoke to one nurse who has no intention of returning.

Jennie Reid (26) works in a large hospital in central London in a management position and she said she and her friends would never glance at the HSE’s recruitment material because they are so disillusioned with the Irish health system.

Jennie Reid has been working as a nurse in the UK for two years and has no plans to return
Jennie Reid has been working as a nurse in the UK for two years and has no plans to return

She went to work in London in January 2015, having qualified as a general nurse and she said she has “no regrets”.

Her initial plan was to work in Ireland alongside her sister who works a radiographer but it became clear that there was much more on offer across the water. 

“The hospital I trained in in Ireland was offering us jobs at a salary of 80pc of a general nurse and I thought going to London would be a better opportunity,” she said.

“I haven’t regretted it since.”

Jennie said the recent coverage of the record number of people on trolleys in Irish hospitals has highlighted the differences between working here and working in the UK.

“I see that there are a lot on beds [in Irish hospitals] at the moment and that is unheard of. There might be an overflow ward that they put our patients into but you’d never hear of 50 people in A and E waiting on a bed for two days,” she said.

“If they waited on a bed for more than 12 hours it’s a major incident in the hospital.”

“For us patient flow is a big thing but patients don’t suffer as a result of it,” she added.

A recent recruitment fair held to target nurses who were home for Christmas failed to attract big numbers, despite the fact that there are 1,000 jobs on offer.

But Jennie said she is not shocked at the poor attendance.

“I’m not surprised because I think in Ireland we are promised the world but we know that if we come back nothing will change,” she said.

“They’re not going to follow through on the promises. I went over there with ten Irish nurses and there are still ten of us over there, we know that they won’t keep their promises,” she said.

“At the time [before I went] I would have liked to stay because I would have liked to work with my sister. It was always the dream that we would work in the same hospital but now I don’t think that dream will ever come true.

“I only went over and that summer they were recruiting for us to come back, they are still recruiting for us to come back. None of us would ever even acknowledge it, or be interested in even reading about it.

“We’d never mention coming home.”

Training and progression opportunities abroad are the key factors keeping Jennie aborad, as well as better working conditions.

“Incentive wise Ireland is not offering anything to bring me back,” she said.

“I’m leaving my current job to become a clinical nurse specialist... I wouldn’t have that opportunity if I was 15 years qualified in Ireland,” she said.

“In the UK they see you as young talent and they want you to progress and they want to give you as much as they can. They want to offer you training and get you up the career ladder.

Irish nurses are known worldwide as some of the best trained nurses in the world but I think the Irish [Government] are wasting it,” she said.

“If Irish nurses were given a chance and the support and the training we get elsewhere the HSE would really flourish under us.”

Online Editors

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