‘Gateshead Guardians’ – supporting new starters and valuing the experienced workforce
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust have developed their ‘Gateshead Guardian’ initiative to give long-serving nurses an opportunity to share their experiences and advice with newly qualified nurses.
The guardians, who all have many years of experience in the NHS, provide support, advice and knowledge to the new nurses joining the organisation for the first time. By doing this, Gateshead Health has made new staff feel more welcomed and supported in their new role, while also ensuring their more experienced workforce feel more valued.
Every year around 50 newly qualified nurses join the trust and the new nurses get one-to-one support from their guardian to develop confidence, refine skills and gain access to expert advice.
Sadie Chambers, a newly qualified staff nurse said: “To have the support and guidance of someone who has been in the role for a number of years is a great help.
“I think everybody has worries and concerns about starting a new job but having someone there for me who I could trust meant that settling in was a much more comfortable experience than I could have imagined.”
Under the guardian scheme, each new nurse is allocated a personal guardian for twelve months. The guardians, experienced nurses who have a significant service record with the trust, emphasised from the outset that this was as important to them as it was to the new recruits.
Chris Fawcett, dementia nurse specialist and guardian said: “As an experienced nurse to still feel appreciated by your organisation is very important.
“Although I have been in the profession for a number of years, I can still recollect my first experiences in the role. In those days, there was no one to go to and discuss my fears, worries or concerns, or just someone to run something past. There was a fear of knocking on the ward sister’s door and being made to feel inadequate.
“I made a promise to myself all those years ago that whenever there was a newly qualified nurse I would try my best to ensure they knew who they could turn to when feeling a little vulnerable. This is something that has always been important to me.”
Vicky Jobson, lead nurse for recruitment and retention and the nurse responsible for the scheme, said: “The scheme is part of our wider strategy to not only attract, but also retain the very best nurses around. We want to show just how much we care about them and their careers from the very start of their employment with us.”
“Starting a new job is an exciting time but it can also be quite daunting, so anything we can do to ease these fears is a real positive.”
To find out more about the Gateshead Guardian scheme, contact Victoria Jobson, firstname.lastname@example.org.