The government is spending pounds1.2m on a national recruitment campaign aimed at 'blowing away the cobwebs of old-fashioned perceptions of nurses and midwives'. After phase one of 'Nursing, Have You Got What it Takes?' was launched at the start of last year there were 16,000 enquires about a nursing career, 50 per cent more than the Department of Health was expecting. The newspaper and magazine adverts try to dispel the Florence Nightingale image and portray nurses in highly responsible, often high-tech roles. After criticism that the first tranche of advertisements featured too few men and ethnic minorities, changes have been made and the second phase of the campaign, launched last month, is pitched more at those groups.

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