The NHS has embarked on a challenging campaign to encourage young people to consider healthcare as an exciting and rewarding career choice, with 14- to 18-year-olds the initial target audience.
Research has revealed some startling results in the country’s perception of the NHS when considering healthcare as a future profession. The campaign aims to ‘educate’ parents and young people about the hundreds of roles that the NHS has to offer. To get this message across, a multi-million-pound campaign of adverts in print, on TV, radio and social media will attempt to redress the misconception that a career with the NHS is simply about nursing.
In one piece of research, it was found that just three in ten parents could come up with the names of roles in the NHS that did not involve bedside care. Nursing and midwifery are fundamental to the service, of course, but there are over 350 other jobs that the NHS has to find staff for in addition to these critical positions. The target is to generate at least 22,000 new applications.
Recent years have seen a steady flow of employees moving elsewhere. The campaign is hoping that this trend can not only be reversed but also that previous employees can be attracted back. In addition to the original campaign, 800 new nursing and midwifery ‘ambassadors’ will work to improve the current perception of working in the NHS.
Jeremy Hunt, the health and social care secretary, is keen to stress the need for the future employees of the NHS to be recruited from within the UK. The ‘This is your NHS’ campaign wants to appeal to the inherent good nature of young British people, at the same time stressing the satisfaction and benefits that can be gained from a career working for others. The Royal College of Nursing has estimated that there could be as many as 40,000 current vacancies, so the task ahead is significant.
The challenge is certainly great, but one major factor certainly works in favour of the campaigners. The NHS is a much-loved service in this country and the people who work in it – the doctors, the nurses and all the support staff – are some of the most respected people in our society. If the campaign can convince the public that they can help, it may stand a good chance of success.