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Last Updated: Monday, 24 April 2006, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Student may swap NHS for Tesco
By Nick Triggle
BBC News health reporter in Bournemouth

Grant Ciccone
Grant Ciccone cannot get an NHS job
Grant Ciccone has dreamed of being a nurse ever since he was nine years old.

So when he heard Tony Blair calling for more people to join the profession soon after Labour came to power he decided to take the plunge.

Now, in his last few weeks of a three-year training course, his hopes look like being dashed.

The 38-year-old is one of thousands of nurses struggling to get a job as deficits in the health service bite.

He has applied to 50 NHS trusts, but to no avail.

It is getting really desperate
Grant Ciccone

The one positive response he has had is from his local Tesco in Redditch, Worcestershire.

"I am seriously considering working for Tesco and stacking shelves.

"Sometimes I could cry. It costs 100,000 to train a nurse and all that taxpayers money looks like being wasted.

"But I have bills to pay. I am 700 behind in my rent and need to get money coming in when I finish my course in a few weeks."

Mr Ciccone believes about half his fellow student nurses at the University of Central England - which trains a fifth of the country's nurses - are in a similar position.

If the pattern was repeated on a national level it would mean 10,000 nurses finishing their training without jobs.

The situation has led to the Royal College of Nursing to table a motion demanding the government "ensures every newly qualified nurse has a job to go to at the end of their course".

It will be discussed on Tuesday afternoon in a debate about NHS finances.

But for Mr Ciccone it may be too late.

"It is getting really desperate. Everywhere has recruitment freezes and where there are positions going hundreds of nurses are going for them.

"I am waiting for a few hospitals to reply, but I am becoming increasingly resigned to accepting the job at Tesco."

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