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Fourteen nursing ambassadors across Frimley Health are embarking on a programme of inspiring young people to choose nursing or midwifery as a career and encourage those who have left back into the professions.

The NHS aims to transform perceptions of what people understand a career in nursing and midwifery to be and to raise the status and profile of nursing.

With 40,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies across the NHS, our ambassadors are part of Nursing Now, a three-year global campaign run in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organisation.

Neil Webb, safe staffing matron, said: “We want to think of different ways to inspire future generations to come into these professions and our nursing and midwifery ambassadors are at the forefront of that.

“Our ambassadors’ professional backgrounds reflect a range of nursing and midwifery roles across the Trust. All are very inspired and enthusiastic and will bring a lot of energy to the role. This will be an opportunity for them to engage with young people in our communities and share our highly skilled career opportunities within nursing and midwifery.

“We are also looking into having some allied health professionals ambassadors as they are another healthcare profession with great career opportunities.”

The Trust is working with its partners in the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System (ICS) to increase awareness of the breadth of Frimley ICS career opportunities, supported by an extensive social media campaign.

The Trust’s investment in nursing and midwifery ambassadors means that each one is released from his or her day to day work for up to 10 days each year to fulfil their ambassador role.

They will use that time in a variety of ways, for example, visiting schools, giving career presentations to colleges and attending careers fairs.

Ambassadors even have mini-me nursing scrub tops for children to take to primary schools to help change perceptions of traditional nursing uniforms and encourage both boys and girls into the profession.

Cardiology and stroke matron Ozma Ashiq is one of the Trust’s first nursing ambassadors. She and fellow ambassador Lisa Barbier, lead nurse for patient safety, were involved in the chief nursing officer’s summit in 2018 which included developing the role of nursing ambassadors nationally.

Ozma has already seen a number of work experience students interested in an NHS career after going to careers fairs.

“It has opened their eyes to the vast career options within nursing that they weren’t previously aware of,” she said. “It’s an exciting time in nursing especially with the national campaign taking place. I am passionate about nursing and would love to see more people embrace it as a career.”

But it is not just the younger generation that our nursing ambassadors hope to inspire. They will also be looking at ways to attract people back into nursing and midwifery and those who may be considering a career change.

Neil explained: “There are many routes into nursing and midwifery at Frimley Health. Alongside the traditional university route pre NHS employment we now also have apprenticeship pathways while working within the NHS and as a Trust we are passionate about developing our workforce to maximise their potential.

"For example, somebody can now start in a non-clinical role, such as a porter, and follow a career pathway working right up to the role of a senior nurse or midwife if that’s their aspiration. It’s never been a more exciting time to join the NHS.

“There are people at Frimley Health now who have travelled similar career pathways. Our ambassadors will celebrate their stories and encourage more people to do the same.

“It is important to recognise that nursing and midwifery are not the poor relations to careers into medicine. Nurses and midwives are not only a caring workforce but are in their own right highly skilled individuals who are academically credible. People interested in coming into the profession will have a wealth of opportunities available to them!”