By Lucy Ashton
Leaving your home and coming to a new country can be daunting, but for US nurse Grace Hayner, crossing the Pond to work in the NHS in Glasgow, meant being reunited with the person she loved.
Grace got married to her husband, a British trainee doctor, in 2021 and was thrilled when she was accepted as one of 52 foreign nurses recently recruited by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to support patients and teams on hospital wards.
Grace was working in Brooklyn, New York as an Advanced Practice Nurse, focusing on family medicine in a clinic offering care to uninsured and undocumented citizens. But when she married her husband, a trainee doctor who is based at Inverclyde Royal Hospital, her future was to be found elsewhere.
She said: “When you love someone, you want to be where they are. Because my husband is in the midst of his training, it was very clear after we married that I would come here too.”
Grace submitted her application to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in November last year and was offered a job in February. Although the process was relatively straightforward, being apart from her new husband was difficult.
She added: “I was in the US for about two months separated from my husband, which is quite difficult, waiting for that job to come through, but when the offer was made, the Home Office turned around the health and care worker visa very quickly, within about 10 days.”
Grace and her husband were finally reunited on 28 February. The couple moved to Govanhill, in Glasgow’s south side.
Grace continued: “People ask me about living in Govanhill and I always say it’s very peaceful and they seem to find that very funny, but compared to Brooklyn it’s very peaceful. The transition to Glasgow has been one of the easiest – the people are just incredibly friendly here and the pace of life is a lot more relaxed.”
She is now working on ward 5A at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, treating patients with medical diabetes. Grace says her new colleagues are ‘wonderful’, adding: “Everyone’s been really lovely and helpful and warm.”
Angela Wallace, Nurse Director at NHSGGC said: “I want to welcome Grace and all of our overseas nurses who are set to join us in the coming weeks and months. They will be very welcome additions to our NHS family and will help to relieve some of the pressure on our staff teams on the wards, bringing with them a wealth of experience for our patients.
“We are continuing in our efforts to recruit more nurses and here in Glasgow, there are a number of recruitment days for qualified nurses coming up in May.”
There are still processes to go through for Grace. She has to re-qualify with the Nursing and Midwifery Council to comply with UK regulations and she’s looking forward to once again working as an advanced nurse practitioner. Like her visa application, the cost of the exam is covered by the health board.
She said: “I’m excited for the future, the work I’m doing here is quite different from what I did before, but it’s exciting on the wards here at the Queen Elizabeth and I’m looking forward to requalifying and working with patients.”
Pictured: Grace (front left) with her new colleagues on Ward 5A at QEUH.