A HOSPICE is urging qualified children’s nurses who may have taken a break from work to consider getting back into it.

Helen and Douglas House Hospice has said recruiting nurses is one of the biggest challenges it is facing.

Nationally there is a shortage of children’s nurses, but Helen and Douglas said it faced a combination of added competition from the John Radcliffe Hospital and high property prices in the city.

Earlier this year Oxford University academic Danny Dorling said house price rises in Oxford outpaced London last year.

Clinical lead Liz Leigh said: “One of our challenges is recruiting nurses, particularly clinical nurses.

“Sometimes we are struggling to deliver the services that I know we need to give.

“That’s the toughest part of the job, when I know there are more people out there who need our help and we haven’t physically got the number of staff to cover.

“There’s a national shortage of children’s nurses and we are competing with huge well established places, so we end up sharing people around.

“If there are any people out there who are children’s nurses, who may have had a career break, we would be delighted to have them back.”

The hospice currently has three nursing vacancies.

Karen Guy, head of clinical services at Sue Ryder Nettlebed, said the South Oxfordshire-based hospice faced similar staffing issues – which she put down to the location of the hospice.

She said: “In my geographical area the biggest challenge is to recruit, retain and support first rate staff who really care and can be developed to become excellent palliative care professionals.

“We are in an area where housing and cost of living is very high so we have to be very creative how we attract people to join us.

“Once they are through the doors they absolutely love hospice care, but it’s being able to attract those staff in the first place and to retain and support them in an area of nursing that really challenges you to the core.”

Non-qualified medical staff are also a valuable part of the care team.

Kayleigh Gaul, 27, started working as a nursing assistant at Sobell House, last May. She previously worked on a help desk, supermarket and in a clothes shop within the Churchill Hospital, but always wanted to work with patients.

She said: “It’s the best job I have ever done.”

Deputy matron Sharon Yates said: “I interviewed Kayleigh and gave her the job on the spot.

“For nursing assistant recruitment we use value-based interviewing, where we ask a couple of particular questions to elicit a response to see whether their values are aligned with ours.”