Nursing students learn about career opportunities during International Nursing Day

Being a "digital nurse", head of education in a medical technology company and working and specialising abroad are some of the options available to professionals in the sector

The nurses Meritxell Flavià and Anna Sort during their presentation at the International Nursing Day seminar.

To commemorate International Nursing Day (12 May), the Faculty of Nursing at the Catalunya Campus held a seminar on finding employment in the nursing sector so that students could learn about the various opportunities open to them in the area, including the chance to pursue an academic career. Professionals in the sector described their personal experience in jobs that differ widely from those that students often have in mind while completing their degrees. As such, students heard presentations from, among others, Anna Sort, who graduated in nursing at the URV and created the company PlayBenefit; Meritxell Flavià, head of diabetes education at the medical technology company Medtronic; and Sílvia Roca, a nurse with experience in the United Kingdom, where she specialised in neonatal care.

One of the possible career opportunities for Nursing graduates is working abroad, as is demonstrated by Silvia Roca, who graduated during the economic crisis and saw moving to the United Kingdom as a good opportunity. She contacted a company that recruits nurses for British hospitals and passed the selection process. Once there, she decided to specialise in Neonatal Nursing at the hospital of Cambridge, where she was interested to note the multicultural backgrounds of her colleagues.

Silvia Roca, nurse with experience in the U.K, during her presentation at the employment seminar.

The journal was also attended by the recruitment officer at Global Working Jobs, David Vinaches, who recruits nurses to work in Norway. Vinaches gave the students certain recommendations for passing the selection process, in particular that they need to demonstrate emotional maturity, motivation regarding acquiring professional experience, open-mindedness and a desire for new experiences. He also explained the working conditions attached to the various job offers, which are  very different from those found in Spain: nurses in Norway have a 35.5-hour working week, a permanent contract, a gross annual salary of €50,000 a year and an average ratio of 8 to 10 patients per nurse, among other benefits. In fact, four former URV students are currently in Norway working as nurses.

David Vinaches, from Global Working Jobs, explaining the working conditions of nurses in Norway.

Going abroad, however, is not the first or the only option available to nursing graduates. In fact, Anna Sort and Meritxell Flavià both told students about how they decided to become nurses outside the sector. Anna Sort was a nurse at the gaming company Blizzard Entertainment in France, when an experience with a colleague made it clear to her that health education needed to be taught through games. She therefore trained in ITC to become an expert in the ‘gaming’ of health education. She is currently head of her own company, PlayBenefit, which currently has an application for improving health, Benergy, in the beta phase of development. Sort regards herself as a “digital nurse” and believes that nurses have the necessary skills to create content for health prevention and education: “We are highly creative because we have been trained to see not only a patient, but also the family behind that person, their background, what will happen when the patient goes home, and so on … We are expert health designers”.

Meritxell Flavià was working as a surgical nurse at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital when she decided on a change of career to have more free time. Consequently she contacted the medical services and technology company Medtronics, where she is now head of diabetes education. The company sells a pump that automatically administers insulin to diabetes patients 24 hours a day via a subcutaneous catheter, as an alternative to multiple doses with a syringe.

Nursing students in the Conference Room during the Employment Seminar.

On 11 May the Terres de l’Ebre campus celebrated International Nursing Day with various round tables and talks. Prizes will also be awarded for the 5th Photography Competition. Competition entries can be seen on the website of the Faculty of Nursing.

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