Letter: Nursing ambitions

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The Independent Culture
Sir: With reference to your report "Alarm at shortage of new nurses" (5 August), my 22-year-old daughter returned from working abroad in January and decided she wanted to become a nurse.

Our local hospital had an open day to recruit nurses. There was a large empty room with a few leaflets and two people to talk to. They agreed my daughter was ideally qualified but did not have any application forms and sent her upstairs. She was informed that she had to apply through NMAS and was given a telephone number. When telephoned, NMAS informed her that, as it was after December, she had to apply to the institution direct. She recontacted the hospital who said they would put her on the waiting list for the application form. The form arrived two months later. My daughter filled it in and returned it. Some time later she received a reply from the university running the course to say that they were not recruiting until the year 2000.

Wisely, she had not relied on this hospital and during January and February had obtained and returned about eight other application forms direct to nursing colleges and hospitals. One college carefully followed up all her references and then wrote to inform her that funding had been withdrawn from the course. Another posted a letter on a Tuesday, which arrived on Wednesday, expecting her to attend an interview at 9am on the Thursday some distance away. However, she persevered and by March she had been interviewed by a London hospital and was delighted to be given a place.

The saga continued. In July a letter came from one of the other hospitals she had contacted five months previously asking her to an interview for a place in September. When she telephoned to decline they admitted they had taken a long time over the applications.

The hospital that has now accepted her was also slow in replying to her initial application. Mind you, it had a really good excuse - it had been waiting to find out if it was going to be closed down!


Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire