Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is to head overseas to recruit nurses for the first time in eight years.
Representatives from the trust will be heading to Spain and Ireland to enable the hospital to strengthen its full time local nursing teams and address recruitment issues caused by the national shortage of trained nurses.
Sue Hardy, chief nurse said: "Competition for qualified nursing staff is extremely fierce in the UK and there are simply not enough nurses to fill all the posts available in our hospital.
“As a result we have to employ temporary agency staff which is much more expensive and not sustainable in the longer term.
“We recruit very actively locally, and across the UK and having reviewed our ward based nursing establishment and our current vacancies we are now looking to recruit an extra 120 nurses."
Eight years ago the trust successfully recruited nursing staff from the Philippines, many of whom remain as committed and valued members of the workforce at Southend Hospital.
The trust is now aiming to welcome three new cohorts of overseas staff over the next year to again boost its permanent staffing numbers.
The intake has been staggered to ensure the new nurses, who will fill roles throughout the organisation, are fully supported to adapt to life in Southend.
Sue continued: “We are working with agencies which carry out checks and initial interviews on our behalf.
“We then interview those who have passed the selection process to make sure they are suitably qualified and have the relevant experience we require.”
Following the first round of interviews in April, the trust hopes to welcome the first cohort of 44 new nurses at the end of May.