Equality of employment opportunities for nurses at the point of qualification

An exploratory study
by Ruth Harris Ann Ooms Robert Grant Sylvie Marshall-Lucette Christine Sek Fun Chu Jane Sayer Linda Burke

Published online 09 November 2012.


Securing employment after qualification is of utmost importance to newly qualified nurses to consolidate knowledge and skills. The factors that influence success in gaining this first post are not known.


The study aimed to describe the first post gained after qualification in terms of setting, nature of employment contract and geographical distribution and explore the relationship between a range of factors (including ethnicity) and employment at the point of qualification.


An exploratory study using structured questionnaires and secondary analysis of data routinely collected by the universities about students and their progress during their course.


The study was conducted in eight universities within a large, multicultural city in the UK as part of the ‘Readiness for Work’ research programme.


Eight hundred and four newly qualified nurses who had successfully completed a diploma or degree from one of the universities; a response rate of 77% representing 49% of all graduating students in the study population.


Data were collected by self-completed semi-structured questionnaires administered to students at the time of qualification and at three months post-qualification. Routinely collected data from the universities were also collected.


Fifty two percent of participants had been offered a job at the point of qualification (85% of those who had applied and been interviewed). Of these, 99% had been offered a nursing post, 88% in the city studied, 67% in the healthcare setting where they had completed a course placement. 44% felt “confident” and 32% “very confident” about their employment prospects. Predictors of employment success included ethnicity, specialty of nursing and university attended. Predictors of confidence and preparedness for job seeking included ethnicity, nursing specialty, gender and grade of degree. Newly qualified nurses from non-White/British ethnic groups were less likely to get a job and feel confident about and prepared for job seeking.


This study has demonstrated that ethnicity does lead to employment disadvantage for newly qualified nurses. This is an important contribution towards recognizing and describing the evidence so that appropriate responses and interventions can be developed. It is important that universities and healthcare institutions work closely together to support students at this important time in their nursing career.

Implementing the Equality Act 2010: interim guidance for the NHS

From NHS Employers

The Equality Act includes specific deadlines that all public bodies are legally required to meet. NHS Employers has published interim guidance to support NHS organisations with this. The guidance signposts the best advice and answers the most popular questions asked in relation to employer responsibilities.


FREE equality and inclusion web seminar

Free equality and inclusion web seminar programme for 2012 – 9.45am, Wednesday 18 January

The Leadership for Equality team is continuing its series of free web seminars for anyone in the NHS working towards equality and inclusion in the service. The first seminar of the year is being held on Wednesday 18 January. Professor David Clutterbuck, one of the world’s leading authorities on mentoring, will explore the nature and skills of effective mentoring both generally and in the context of diversity.

Click here to register

Click here to find out more about future web seminars in 2012

If we can assist you with this event please contact the Staff Library on 01625 66 1362 – book a computer, headphones etc.

BMA opposes Health and Social Care Bill

British Medical Association (BMA)

Why the BMA is opposing the whole bill
This briefing outlines the BMA’s position on the Health and Social Care Bill and in particular, their concerns in relation to the bill.

Extract from the King’s Fund 9 Dec 2011

Home Office

Advancing transgender equality: a plan for action
This document sets out the Government’s vision and focus on equality for transgender people. It includes commitments that aim to make a difference to people’s lives.