NEWLY-recruited European nurses are being given extra help to settle into life at East Lancashire’s hospitals - including help to understand the local dialect.
Their English colleagues have been helping the new recruits understand typical phrases such as ‘make us a brew’, ‘am-a-get’ and ‘I’m starved’.
Meanwhile bosses at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General have launched an improved training programme, which covers everything from the hospitals’ key values to cultural life outside London.
Italian Greta Veneruz, 23, who now lives in Blackburn, said: “We learnt English like how people speak in London and when we came here it didn’t sound the same.
"It was difficult to understand words like ‘but’, ‘much’, ‘blood’ and ‘bath’, and there were other phrases like ‘I’m starved’, which means I’m cold.
"We’ve been trying to learn them because it’s important that we understand everything, so we don’t make a mistake.”
Her compatriot and new housemate Giuseppe Valenzano, 24, added:
“When I came here in the first week it was very difficult with the language but now I feel more confident. The nurses and patients are good at helping us.”
A national shortage of nurses has prompted East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust to draft in about 30 international staff, mainly from Italy, Portugal and Romania, having already recruited heavily in the UK.
This came after NHS inspectors identified significant gaps in the workforce last year.
Gianina Bratu, 31, is one of the more experienced nurses to make the switch, having worked for about six years in Romania.
She said: “I have been learning English for seven years and have always wanted to come here. I am a positive person and really want to make a difference.”
Stephen Mahon, clinical skills tutor, said: “We have a rich history of employing international nurses here in Blackburn.
"We are aiming to dispel the assumption that these nurses will find it impossible to work here because of language barriers.
"They are competent graduate nurses who have a great breadth and depth of knowledge and experience.”