Hola to a New Health Career with NHS Forth Valley
A student nurse in the Day Medicine Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital is appealing to Spanish nurses at home and abroad to get in touch to help support healthcare colleagues in Spain who are considering a move to the UK as well as those who have recently arrived.
Ana Casillas was part of a group of healthcare workers, mainly nurses, who wanted to provide support, advice and guidance to Spanish nurses already working in the UK and to new recruits coming from Spain. After a year of hard work, The Isabel Zendal Association of Spanish Nurses and Healthcare Workers in the UK was recently founded and is in the process of obtaining charitable status. The Association was named in honour of an inspirational Spanish nurse who supported efforts to eradicate smallpox through vaccination in the early 1800s.The aim of the Association is to support Spanish health workers who are both new and settled in this country and to help reverse the decline in recruits coming from Spain since Brexit. As part of this they want to set up a mentorship program to help bring healthcare staff currently living in Spain, as well as those who have recently relocated, in touch with Spanish nurses and healthcare staff already working in the UK.
Ana, who graduates in May 2022, explained: “I moved to Stirling in 2013 because of my husband’s job. My English wasn’t good and I had a two year old and was three months pregnant. Once I settled, I started working in different jobs as a cleaner and at the Wallace Monument. When my English improved, I did an HNC in Dental Nursing and then applied to the University of Stirling to become a nurse, my dream job.
“I am now on my final placement in the Day Medicine Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, my first since the pandemic started and I’m finding things really different. However, my team and my mentors have supported me to settle well. I feel really lucky to have trained in NHS Forth Valley and would like to help more nurses to come and work here. I’ve personally felt very welcome in Scotland and believe it is one of the best places in the world to develop a health service career.”
Figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council showed that the total number of people on its register who first trained in Spain dropped 50 per cent between September 2016 and March 2021, from 7,825 to 3,843.
Isabel Zendal Gómez (born 1773) was a Spanish nurse from Galicia who took part in the Balmis Expedition (1803-1806, Real Expedición Filantrópica de la Vacuna), which took smallpox vaccination to South America and Asia.