Julie Greenwood is the Managing Director of Hays Healthcare in the UK. We’re extremely pleased that Julie’s given her time to answer some questions about Hays Healthcare and the UK nursing industry in general, including her view that nursing is as secure a job as ever, and her concerns regarding the degree-only route to a nursing career. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

About Julie Greenwood, MD Hays Healthcare

Julie joined Hays Healthcare as MD in 2009, bringing 10 years of healthcare and nursing recruitment and staffing experience to the job. Her previous roles included Nestor Healthcare and Match Healthcare. Her working career started as a registered nurse and midwife when she qualified as an RGN and RM in 1992. She therefore has an excellent understanding of the UK nursing industry from a 360 degree vantage point. She brings this experience to bear on her current job where she is responsible for Hays’ NHS national frameworks commitments and overcoming the challenges faced by an industry with severe skills shortages.

Julie is driven, energetic and committed to implementing positive change in systems, strategy and staffing.

You’ve been with Hays for just over a year. What interested you about this position at Hays Healthcare?

The Hays approach of fully supporting our customers in the public sector, the real passion for candidates and clients, the inquisitive nature of the company and the drive to gain and maintain expertise. Hays is the largest provider of non clinical staff in the UK and the opportunity to capitalise on the brand continues to excite me.

Your background is a little different to some at your level in recruitment. By that I mean you have a nursing and midwifery (RGN) qualification. What nursing work experience do you have? In what ways does this qualification and your specific background help you now in your role as Managing Director of Hays Healthcare?

I practiced as a nurse and midwife in Scotland where I trained. I also worked in London in the NHS for 10 years. My nursing job and midwifery background has given me a unique insight into how to manage people, plan, respond to critical issues and how to find solutions to problems.

It also supports me having an insight into the day to day issues faced by our clients, where, no matter what other issues seem pressing, patient care is the critical factor in their day to day operations

Soon after your arrival it was announced that Hays Healthcare had “been awarded a place on the new NHS framework agreement for nursing”. As a market-leading recruitment brand what are the pressures to win tenders like this? And what are the challenges now faced by Hays to meet the NHS framework recruitment requirements?

For Hays a place on the NHS frameworks for all temporary and permanent supply is central to our status as a trusted partner of the NHS. The pressure for Hays is to take the framework and use it as a tool to supply the highest quality candidates.

The recruitment requirements whilst exacting, support the placement of highly vetted candidates, as we do not supervise the candidate when they are working we welcome the highest recruitment standards.

Compliance, checks and nurse candidate vetting processes seemed to be one of the key aspects of winning the bid with the NHS. Is this an area you feel particularly focused on given your own experience and training as a nurse, and what kind of changes would you like to implement in this respect?

As a nurse in charge of a unit, it is critical that you are able to rely on a professional flexible workforce. An agency nurse has to be able to orientate themselves, understand the unit policies and procedures, and fit in immediately into the team on arrival for a placement. I feel strongly that the compliance checks and the vetting criteria for an agency nurse should support finding that particular type of nurse.

You had a very busy start to your career at Hays... soon after you joined a new scheme was launched - Hays Healthclub. Briefly explain that scheme, whether it’s worked and why you thought it was timely for Hays to do this?

At Hays Healthcare it is important for us to differentiate ourselves from other recruiters and we are always looking for new ways to support our loyal workforce. Hays Healthclub is a benefits scheme, which rewards our candidates with professional training and loyalty bonuses so that we achieve an upskilled and committed workforce.

The Healthclub has more than doubled its size in a year as we now attract over 100 applicants per month.

You clearly have a skill at planning and re-structuring. Do you think nursing recruitment will be in special need of these skills over the term of the current Government - if so, in what way and why?

Nursing recruitment will have to be fleet of foot in this term of Government, with record numbers of nurses due to retire in the next four years there has to be a concerted programme of planning for the new workforce to take forward the challenge of the next 20 years of the NHS. In addition, the requirement for a flexible workforce will have to be at the heart of any restructuring required to achieve the best patient outcomes.

We’re told that frontline nursing staffing numbers are as safe as anything can be in the current climate. Can you imagine any staffing cuts in nursing over the course of the next 5 years? If so, in what areas and do you think it’s feasible to imagine such cuts positively impacting the independent nursing jobs market?

The Government white paper has clearly identified that nursing staffing numbers will be consistent. In the next five years, community nursing will be linked to GP Consortia and I believe that nurses will be at the forefront of the development of home-led nurse care. The management of chronic illnesses will become under auspices of nurse practitioners, this is where I see further development.

With the increasing age profile and the increase in births, I truly believe that the nursing profession is as secure a place to have your career as it has been for the last 20 years.

Last year, after the NMC and Labour Government announced that all nurses must complete a nursing degree course from 2013 (as opposed to a degree or a diploma), you said that “it may discourage” those nurses with no current qualifications. Do you still feel this, and why?

I trained as a nurse in 1988 and in my class of 40 over half were over 30 and many had worked tremendously hard to gain the necessary qualifications to gain entry to nursing. I have kept in touch with many of my classmates and their feedback to the degree course was that it would have discouraged them from entering the profession. This was due to financial implications and the fear of not being able to manage the course work required whilst managing family life.

With so much competition for University places, the drop out rate of over 40%, and some as high as 78%, the 2013 degree status will have an impact on the graduate numbers in 2016 and beyond.

Interview by Matt Farrah, Director - Client Services,

About Hays Healthcare

Hays Healthcare is part of Hays plc, the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. It operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. Hays employs over 6,700 staff operating from 345 offices in 28 countries across 17 specialisms.