How to choose the right nursing job
By Dan Allard
Here are some considerations when selecting a nursing job:
Do you want to work for the NHS?
Nurses can work for the NHS, for private healthcare providers or community settings. When it comes to choosing locum nursing jobs you may wish to factor in your personal preference. Some nurses thrive upon the bustling environment that a hospital can bring, whilst others may prefer to work in smaller clinics (perhaps located in a school) where they can spend more time working directly with patients.
Is your nursing job conveniently located?
If you are working a variety of shift patterns, then location is important. You may look for a job that is local to you, or you may have a specific limit as to how far you are happy to commute. Before applying for a nursing position, we always recommend that you take some time to consider how you would get to work. If you are planning on driving, you may need to factor in travel time and/or traffic or roadworks. If you rely on public transport, is it feasible with your shift patterns? Will the costs or travel or parking be prohibitive?
Do the shift patterns fit in with your lifestyle?
Many hospitals are taking new approaches to shift patterns. Some may focus on ‘four days on, four days off’ shifts, which can offer a good work/life balance. Others take feedback from their nursing staff to find new appealing shift patterns. Some nurses prefer the structure of a specific working pattern, whilst night owls may be naturally drawn to permanent night shifts.
An advantage of locum nursing is that you can choose to work in roles which suit your lifestyle.
Does the job specification match your ambitions?
You should always look at the job specification to see how it matches your current skills and whether it could offer you any career development opportunities. If you wish to move into a nursing specialism, then you can choose the roles which may give you the relevant experience. Locum nursing allows greater opportunities to do this.
Is the reputation of the employer important to you?
Some nurses choose roles based on the reputation of the employer. Hospitals are inspected and rated by the Care Quality Commission. Inspectors will determine if a hospital is ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’. Inspections are based upon five key questions. The rating may enable you to decide if the hospital is providing effective patient care, and whether they are a good employer.
Similarly, you may look at a hospital’s wider reputation if you are specialising in a particular area. For example, paediatric nurses may look for jobs within renowned hospitals such as Great Ormond Street or Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Whilst oncology nurses may look for positions at specialist hospitals such as the Royal Marsden. Having a recognised hospital on your CV is likely to work in your favour.