A RECRUITMENT open day has successfully increased the number of nurses at a North-East hospice.

Butterwick Hospice Care’s Adult In-Patient Unit at Stockton has not been able to open fully because of the impact Covid-19 had on staffing levels.

With restrictions relaxing, and handling covid issues becoming easier, the team decided to fast-track their recruitment process.

“We were looking for two or three permanent nurses, plus a number of bank staff, so we had a think outside the box  about how to encourage people to consider coming to work with us,” explained Clinical Lead, Suzie King. “One of our team suggested holding an open day for people interested in working in palliative care, to come in to have a look around, and speak to the staff.”

After setting up some strict covid-secure arrangements, the open day was held on May 5, and the hospice managed to successfully recruit to all their permanent current nursing vacancies.

Suzie said: “We’re different from a hospital setting and we wanted to demonstrate that through the open day. Our aim is to meet all the needs of our patients, and to give our staff time to care.

“We have an experienced and passionate nursing team, and I’m confident that the new staff joining us will soon be an integral part of the Butterwick family.”

Barbara Krec zak, the nurse who came up with the idea of the open day, worked at North Tees Hospital for 37 years before joining Butterwick Hospice Care.

“We used the Butterwick for many of our palliative care patients over the years, and we very much admired the work that they do. After I retired, I decided to do some voluntary work for them. I liked it so much that I joined the bank staff,” said Barbara.

“A permanent Registered General Nurse position came up, which I applied for, because, for me, it’s what true nursing is about – having the time to provide care and compassion to people who are really ill, and being able to be with them when they go through that journey.

“The open day has been a great success. We had a brainstorming session to evaluate the feasibility of bringing people in while we had no patients, and we worked out a way we could be covid-secure in order to show them round and offer an interview on the day.

“We should be operating 24/7, but, we had to close at the start of the pandemic. We have been able to offer limited respite care to some patients recently, but once we are fully-staffed again, we should soon be up and running.”