Monday, 30 June 2014

Recruiting newly qualified nurses

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

There has been little research into the recruitment of newly qualified nurses. The issue has been brought into focus recently in the UK due to some of the well-publicised scandals in healthcare such as that reported by Lord Francis. One of his recommendations, also mentioned by Lord Willis in his report, was that recruitment processes should be revised and improved. These referred both to the recruitment of nurses into the profession as nursing students and into the workforce. A recent paper by Newton et al. (2014) titled ‘Exploring selection and recruitment processesfor newly qualified nurses: a sequential-explanatory mixed-method study’ and published in JAN reports an extensive and detailed piece of work, comprised of four stages, which investigates the issue of recruitment of newly qualified nurses into the workforce across several recruiting organisations in London.

Newton et al. (2014) draw some parallels with recruitment of newly qualified teachers and there are some similarities. The main thrust of research into recruitment policy and practice of newly qualified nurses appears to be concerned with issues of supply and demand – i.e. matching up what the service needs to what is available – rather than the practices associated with the specifically selecting individuals. Therefore, research into selection instruments is scarce. A survey of organisations recruiting nurses showed some variation in practices and there was little evidence for the reliability and validity of any instruments used in selection processes. Of course, the ultimate question is whether or not any of this will make a difference in healthcare and, in their own words, Newton et al. conclude:
‘Prospective, longitudinal and cohort data on selection and recruitment are required to link the selection and recruitment of newly qualified nurses to career development and any subsequent impacts on the healthcare system.’


Newton P, Chandler V, Morris-Thomson T, Sayer J, Burke L (2014) Exploringselection and recruitment processes for newly qualified nurses: asequential-explanatory mixed-method study Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12467

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