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Tell me about yourself...

​If you are experienced at interviews, you’ll know that there’s nothing more ambiguous than being asked the question “Tell me more about yourself…” One of the most important things that you should do ahead of your next job interview is to prepare yourself to answer this inevitable question. Here is our advice for making the most of your response. Things to include in your answer The reason why so many people struggle to answer this initial question is that it’s so broad. You may not be 100% confident about what is being asked of you, even though logically it should be easy to talk about yourself. It’s a question which is designed to help recruiters and hiring managers learn more about you; not just your expertise and knowledge, but your personality, ambitions and who you are beyond your career. This is a question that requires a speech-like answer. It should tell a story and engage the hiring panel to want to learn more about you. You may find that preparing your answer and practicing saying it out loud could allow you to feel much more confident in future interviews. We recommend ensuring that your answer covers the following: What have you accomplished? This is designed to showcase your expertise. You don’t want to talk through your CV (they’ve already seen that) – instead, you should pick out any notable accomplishments or moments where you’ve had great success. If you’re applying for a nursing job, then use this to talk about key moments where you’ve delivered exceptional patient care; for a physiotherapy job, you could discuss a case where you’ve helped a patient to successfully recover from an injury. This is your opportunity to talk about what you’re good at and why you are passionate about what you do. Why are you interested in this particular position? The hiring panel wants to know what makes you a great fit for this particular job, so here’s your chance to sell yourself effectively. How does your specific experience relate to this job description? Do you have a history of their specific requirements, or is it a step further up your career ladder? Try and give examples of how you meet the job requirements. If you’re aiming for a more senior role such as a higher band nursing job, or you're considering moving away from an NHS occupational therapy job into a local authority (or even private practice), then show how you’ve been developing the skills.What do you want to achieve? It’s always good to show ambition; we know that our health community has a drive to continually improve and this is something that your prospective new employer will want to see to. It may be that you’re aiming to become the head of a department, or it could be that you’re simply wanting to undertake training in a new area to further develop your skillset. Try and show how your ambition links in with the job role; the hiring panel will be looking to see how you plan to collaborate with them to achieve your aims. What not to say Firstly, you should never mention any reference to marital status, children, political or religious beliefs. Not only are they not relevant to the job description but by law, you shouldn’t be discriminated by these elements which is why a hiring panel is not allowed to ask you about these. You need to be able to talk about your career history with ease. They’ve already seen your CV and know the basics of what you’ve achieved, so don’t repeat information they already know. You only need to give them the basics – after all, this question is likely to be at the start of the interview, so they’ll have plenty of time to ask further information. If you need support ahead of your next job interview, then please get in touch.

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Nurse Interview

7 common community nursing interview questions

​If you’re a nurse and you’re looking to find your next job role, then it can be daunting to feel confident in how to fully demonstrate your knowledge and expertise during an interview scenario. To help you prepare, here are some sample questions and how you can answer them effectively.1. Why do you like working as a nurse?This will almost certainly be one of the opening questions. The interviewer will want to know what you enjoy about your job role. You could share your thoughts on what personally motivates you to work within the NHS and explain what your professional values are. If you work well in a team and gain satisfaction from helping patients with their recovery, here’s your chance to say so. It would be beneficial to think of some nursing practice examples which you can include within your response. 2. What is your nursing experience to date?Although the hiring panel will have reviewed a copy of your CV prior to your interview, they will want to hear about your experience in your own words. You may benefit from writing down a few notes on your CV which could help you to summarise key experience and achievements. Start by stating when you passed your nursing degree then list the work and ward placements you have held since. 3. Describe a situation where you have dealt with a difficult or aggressive person.The panel will be looking to find out how you coped in these instances. To help explain the situation, you could structure your answer into a ‘story’ format. Start with the description of the scenario and who's behaviour you had to manage, add more detail on the specific steps you took to calm the situation and then describe the positive results of the action you took. 4. If a colleague performs a practice that does not conform to nursing protocol, what would you do?This is an unlikely situation, but it’s designed to find out how you can ensure that a patient’s wellbeing is paramount in all that you do. You may be given a hypothetical scenario so that you can explain how you would intervene to prevent your colleague from continuing this practice. You will also need to describe how you would report the incident; informing your manager or senior nurse and completing an incident form. 5. What is your understanding of infection control? As a community nurse, you’ll be working across a variety of different environments so it’s important to have a good understanding of NHS Infection Control. It is a process to prevent, control and reduce the possibility of infectious diseases amongst patients and staff. You will need to explain the techniques you use, including hand hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), injection safety and waste disposal procedures. 6. What do you want to achieve in this role?You could explain how you wish to continually improve your skills and knowledge for the benefit of patients. As community nurses are becoming increasingly important within the NHS, you should demonstrate your understanding of how the role is likely to expand in the future as well as how it relates to your personal ambitions. You may be involved in joint care management, working alongside social care services or offering educational and/or advisory services for patients and their families. If so, talk about why you think this element of your practice is so important. 7. What are your expectations of us as your new employer?Make sure that you’ve done your research and that you know what your new employer’s ambitions are. Your Sanctuary Health consultant will work with you to explain more about the specific employer, but if you’re looking for support to improve your skills or you’re keen to progress your community nursing career into a key specialism, then this is your opportunity to share your preferences. If you need some support to help you prepare for your next community nurse job interview, get in touch with your Sanctuary consultant.

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Physiotherapy interview questions

7 common physiotherapy interview questions

Job interviews are a chance to confidently show prospective employers why they should hire you, so it is important to go prepared. Here are a few questions that commonly crop up, along with our tips for dealing with them effectively:1. Why did you become a physiotherapist?This is a real favourite with interviewers. Try to avoid generalisations. It's fine to say something like 'Because I have a passion for helping people'. However, you should support this statement with specific examples which show how you have made a real difference to people's lives.2. Why do you think you're good at your job?You need to strike the right balance here. You shouldn't undersell yourself, but equally you don't want to come across as over-confident. Key attributes include strong communication and time management skills, good health and physical fitness, empathy, tolerance and patience. Refer to one or two examples from your work experience where these skills were particularly relevant.3. How do you manage your time effectively?Good time management as a physiotherapist is not just about being super-organised. It's also about using the available time productively and not over-stretching yourself, which means setting realistic and achievable goals. Key things to mention are forward-planning, time allocation and reviewing how you have performed to aid future development.4. How do you go about devising a treatment plan?This is a very important part of any allied health role. Person-centred care is at the heart of the NHS strategy, so you should show how you make sure each treatment plan is tailored to the patient's needs. Talk about questioning and assessing the patient, taking into account their overall health and lifestyle. Also mention how important it is to review their progress and make any necessary adjustments to the plan.5. Are you familiar with the NHS Employers Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)?The KSF is commonly used as a benchmark in staff appraisals, so you should make sure you understand it and what it means for you in your job as a physiotherapist. The new simplified KSF can be adapted by NHS trusts to meet local needs, so try to find out how your prospective employer uses it in physiotherapy roles. Find out more about the KSF here.6. How do you stay informed about new techniques and technology?This is an opportunity to show you are committed to continuing professional development (CPD). You should talk about any courses you have taken or are taking, and how you stay up-to-date with physiotherapy news and views, this could be through professional forums and networking sites.7. What's the role of a physiotherapist in a multi-disciplinary team (MDT)?Obviously, your professional expertise is important. However, this is also about showing you're a real team player and can work effectively with doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals. Give one or two examples of collaborative working, showing you understand the dynamics of the MDT approach and the various roles that all participants play in providing joined-up care.If you have any queries regarding your interview, get in touch with your Sanctuary consultant or to find your next physiotherapy role, view our latest jobs.

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Occupational therapy interview questions

7 common OT interview questions

Although you can never be totally sure what will come up at your occupational therapy job interview, it's still really important to prepare. We have pulled a list of frequently asked questions together and have shared some tips on how to respond to these.1. What motivates you as an occupational therapist?This is not about you and your career goals. It's about showing that occupational therapy is a vocation for you. For example, you may get job satisfaction from making a real difference to another person's life, and perhaps the lives of their family members. You can even draw on a recent example of where you feel you made a real difference, although try to keep the example short for this question.2. Tell me about a time when you felt most proud as an occupational therapist...Try to avoid generalising; it's not enough to say that you feel proud whenever you helped someone have a better quality of life. Give a specific example, perhaps talk about a particularly challenging situation which required all your skills and extra effort to achieve a successful outcome. If you can show creativity yet due diligence in your approach, even better.3. Describe two key skills required by an occupational therapist...Make sure you talk about the 'why' as well as the 'what'. If you choose 'excellent communication skills', explain why. For example, you could say 'you need excellent communication skills to engage effectively with patients and their families, as well as with colleagues'... And remember, being a good listener is just as important as being able to convey information clearly to others.4. What's the worst thing about being an occupational therapist?This is a tricky question. You need to show that you're realistic without sounding negative. If you acknowledge the negative, say how you avoid it being an issue. For example, you could say, "it can be a challenge to find the exact assisted support for an individual in the current financial climate where resources are harder to come across. I have to think outside the box and come up with a solution where the patient still receive the support they need”. Here, you might wish to talk about how you have built solid relationships with other professionals and departments to help assist you in taking this approach.5. How would you deal with a patient who is being confrontational or aggressive?This is a common interview question for many healthcare professionals, but is particularly relevant for occupational therapists. You'll need to show that you're patient and understanding, but also firm and in control. Think about ways you can make the patient feel reassured and relaxed, such as chatting with them about non-health-related matters or putting on some background music. Try to give a specific example from your work experience.6. How do you stay informed about new techniques and technology?Make sure you're properly prepared for this one with chapter and verse. For example, don't just say, 'I use the Internet." Be ready to quote specific resources, such as professional forums and networking sites.7. What's the role of an occupational therapist in a multi-disciplinary team?Don't just reiterate your core skills. Think about how you can use these in context, cooperating effectively with doctors, nurses, other allied health professionals and social care staff to provide joined-up care. To discuss any queries you may have ahead of your interview, get in touch with your Sanctuary consultant.​

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permanent healthcare roles

Working in a permanent role

​With healthcare professionals being in such high demand, as a candidate, you are perfectly placed to make your choice between being a locum or opting for a permanent position.Working as a locum will give you more freedom to work in completely different environments at your choosing, but if you don’t crave the independence and prefer to work somewhere permanently, what do you need to do and how can a resourcing agency benefit you?Firstly, let’s look at the plus points of a permanent role:Guaranteed hoursIn a permanent healthcare position, you'll be contracted to work a minimum number of hours each week. It's not just about having job security and peace of mind. It also makes getting a mortgage or loan more straightforward. A sense of belongingYou'll feel part of a team in a familiar environment. You won't be regularly facing the challenge of getting to know new people, systems, processes and protocols. CPDContinuing Professional Development (CPD) is important for your career and necessary for revalidation. As a permanent member of the team, you're more likely to have access to CPD training and advancement opportunities funded by your employer. Career progressionAs a permanent employee, you'll be well placed to apply for internal nursing job opportunities and progress your career in a familiar organisation and setting.All these plus points are possible to replicate within locum work, it’s just different.What should you look for from an agency?With frontline healthcare roles in such high demand, it’s not difficult to identify permanent job opportunities online. But these can sometimes be old vacancies and you must fill out application after application; it takes time, and lots of it! Registering with a reputable health and social care recruitment agency makes light work of the application process. With Sanctuary Health, for instance, you simply register, upload your CV and a dedicated healthcare resourcing consultant specialising in placing permanent candidates will find you suitable opportunities. What’s more, they’ll only ever present you with permanent roles that are an exact fit and handle the entire onboarding process so that all you need to do is prepare for interview.

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​Enjoy the flexibility of a contract healthcare job

Anyone who has chosen a career in healthcare, will have many of the same aspirations and duty of care. But it can be hugely rewarding and demanding in equal measure. For many of our candidates, working as a locum provides just the right balance between meeting your career aspirations and having a healthy work-life balance.Plenty of scopeIn most practice areas, there are plenty of well-paid locum opportunities for suitably qualified and registered healthcare professionals.With demand being so high, it is a great time to consider becoming a locum healthcare professional. If you are thinking of making the move, you’ll want to know more about how the process works and what your options are.Getting startedMaking the decision to go locum is the hardest part. The rest involves following a few basic procedures to make sure you are employable as a locum.Firstly, you need to make sure your finances are in order. You’ll need to register with HMRC to inform them that you will be reporting your income directly to them. Many choose to work as a limited company.Creating a limited company is a straightforward process and usually takes no longer than an hour online . You simply contact Companies House to let them know your intentions and provide some basic information to register. You will be responsible for keeping existing records up-to-date and filling the relevant documentation.You might also decide to work through an umbrella company or agency, who take care of the vast majority of administration for you. Usually you complete timesheets and they will invoice the end-client (employer) on your behalf and make the necessary deductions before paying you. In this instance, always look for an organisation that abides by IR35 rules .Finding workIf you’re making the jump from a permanent position to locum work, you’ll want to be sure working for yourself doesn’t jeopardise your job security.There are several things you can proactively do to feel assured from the start. Firstly, and most importantly, register yourself with a recruitment agency that has plenty of roles in your specialist area of healthcare.Look for an agency that is on framework to supply health professionals within your specialised area of practice. You can be confident they adhere to very strict rules to supply to the NHS. It’s also a good indicator that they have the best interests of you and your employer at heart.As a on framework agency ourselves, Sanctuary Health, concentrates on meeting the integrated needs of hundreds of healthcare organisations in the UK.Take a close look at how your chosen agency supports candidates. You are more than a number. An agency that looks after its locum healthcare professionals will find you highly suitable roles, guide you through the interview process and check in on you once in post. They’ll also be proactive in identifying future roles as your contract nears it end. You should never feel out of place.The benefits of working as a locumRates of pay depend on several factors; not least of all your grade, training and experience, but they are usually very attractive compared to permanent employment.Although greater earning potential is a significant pull-factor, there are plenty of other benefits too. If you want to experience working in different departments to broaden your career prospects, contract work is ideal. It also gives you more flexibility. You can choose the contracts that suit you best. This enables you to better balance family and social commitments.You can improve your CV with a more varied work profile. You can choose to work either in the public or private sector. And if you are fairly early on in your career, it’s a great way to test the waters and decide which direction you want to take your career.If you want to explore international opportunities, you can also do this on a contract basis. Some agencies, including Sanctuary Health, place qualified staff in international positions. So, if you want to find out what it is like to work in other English-speaking countries, you can.A long-term optionFor many healthcare professionals who enjoy the flexibility of locum work, they never look back. They choose to continue to work in roles that interest them and keep them motivated. They enjoy the freedom. At Sanctuary Health, for example, we have a he number of candidates entering their double-digit years as locum workers.How Sanctuary Health helpsIf you are thinking about leaving permanent employment to become a locum healthcare professional, we can help take the guess work out of your decision to leave.The first step is always to register with us and a dedicated healthcare consultant working within you specialised discipline will be in contact to talk about your prospects. We always aim to present you with opportunities based on your exact criteria.Interested in finding out how Sanctuary can find you a locum healthcare job? Register today.

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Shift work. What you need to know...

Looking after patients is a 24-hour-a-day job, especially if you work in a hospital or other inpatient setting. So, how do you make the most out of shift work?Type of shift workIn recent years the number of hours worked by doctors and nurses per shift has started to change. Increasingly, NHS employers are implementing longer, 12-shifts, clustered into fewer days during the week. Some professionals prefer this way of working since it can help with having a better work-life balance, but others prefer shorter shifts over more days.You might not have the flexibility to decide the type of shift pattern you wish to do with your current employer, but if you are registered with a healthcare recruitment agency, they’ll be able to find you an employer who will be able to accommodate your preferred working pattern.Deciding a shift patternIt really is up to you as an individual. If you struggle with long days in what is already a demanding job, you might prefer to do five shorter shifts over the week rather than three long days. It will also depend on what additional support you have at home and whether you have children to think about too. If you register with an agency, they’ll walk you through your options.What breaks will I need to take?Rest breaks during your shiftWe know working shifts is highly demanding, but it’s important you take a break. If your daily working time is more than six hours, you are entitled to take a 20-minute uninterrupted break.Daily rest breaksYou are entitled to a rest period of at least 11 hours in any given 24-hour working period, which can be taken over two days. If this is not possible, which due to the nature of healthcare work, does happen, “equivalent compensatory periods of rest” must be put in place.With 12-hour shifts becoming increasingly popular, you must be aware that there should be a break of 11 consecutive hours between each 12-hour shift. This is to protect both you and your patients. RCN offers specific guidance for nurses.Weekly rest breaksAt least every seven days you should have a 24-hour rest period. This is on top of your 11 hours daily rest period. Your employer can average the weekly period over 14 days, providing either two uninterrupted rest periods of not less than 24 hours or one uninterrupted rest period of not less than 48 hours.Understanding the 48 hours per week ruleYour agency should monitor your working hours to make sure you do not work beyond the average 48 hours per week, unless you have specifically agreed not to apply the limit. This needs to take the form of a written agreement with your chosen agency.It’s always advisable to check your contract with your agency to read what it says about maximum weekly working times.Tips for working shiftsShift work can prove hugely beneficial, especially if you have other commitments outside of work you need to attend to. But it can also be tiring. If you follow some of these tips below, you’ll be on track to mastering shift work.Sleep:Try and make your room as dark as possible. There are some great options to purchase made-to-measure black-out blinds from plenty of low-cost online retailers. They’re a doddle to fit too!If you struggle to wake up, try investing in an alarm clock that gently wakes you up by replicating natural sunlight. Ideal if you need to start in the early hours in the Winter.It’s tempting to make your bedroom warm, but if you make it cooler than the rest of the house, you’ll find it easier to get some sleep ahead of your shift.Ear plugs and eye masks are useful too. Especially if the rest of the family has other plansDuring your shift:Make time for breaks (see our guidance above)If you find you are feeling tired, try and grab some fresh airCaffeine is also a necessity but if it doesn’t agree with you try something refreshing like peppermint teaTry to eat nutritious meals. Think nuts and grains and you’ll feel more energisedFinally, don’t forget you’re only human. The only superpower you have is your ability to treat and support patients and so it’s important to look after yourself.If you are interested in shift work, we have plenty of opportunities, simply upload your CV.​

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​Who are the healthcare professional registration bodies?

For many health sector jobs, you must be registered with certain professional bodies, as well as having relevant qualifications. We can help with advice on required registrations and on registration procedures for both UK-qualified practitioners and those who qualified outside the UK.Here are some of the key registrations necessary, categorised by role:Mental HealthPsychiatristsTo practise psychiatry in the UK, you must be licensed and registered with the General Medical Council and be a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.Clinical psychiatrists must also be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).PsychologistsAnyone wishing to practise as a psychologist in the UK must register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). There are also other professional organisations you can join voluntarily, including the British Psychological Society.RMNs, RNLDs and CPNsYou must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). If you qualified in the UK, you will receive automatic registration on completion of the application form and payment of the appropriate fee. Nurses who qualified outside of the UK are individually assessed for registration. Find out more here.Cognitive Behavioural TherapistsThe British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) is the leading UK professional body for CBT practitioners.Allied HealthOccupational TherapistsAnyone looking for work as an occupational therapist must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).PhysiotherapistsPractising physiotherapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In addition, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy offers chartered status for qualified physiotherapists, with full and associate memberships available.Speech and Language TherapistsSpeech and language therapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) is the professional body for speech and language therapists in the UK, providing leadership and setting professional standards.DietitiansPractising dietitians must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is a trade union and professional body representing the professional, educational, public and workplace interests of members.Health Science ServicesBiomedical ScientistsBiomedical scientists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can also become a member of the Institute of Biomedical Science, which is the UK professional body for biomedical scientists.Clinical ScientistsTo practise as a clinical scientist in the UK, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The Association of Clinical Scientistsassesses trainees as a preliminary to registration with HCPC.Medical Lab AssistantsRegistration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is not essential to work as a medical lab assistant. However, many employers insist on candidates being registered.ImagingRadiographers, Mammographers, Sonographers and Nuclear Medicine TechnologistsRegistration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is mandatory for anyone wishing to work in any of these roles in the UK. The Society and College of Radiographers is a trade union and professional body representing the professional, educational, public and workplace interests of members.RadiologistsTo practise as a clinical radiologist in the UK, you must be licensed and registered with the General Medical Council and be a member of the Royal College of Radiologists.​If you’re looking for your next position, take a look at our wide range of healthcare roles.

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Using psychology at your nursing job interview

​You may think that smashing that interview for a new nursing position is more of an art than a science. But think again. Focusing on psychology can help you make the right impression. Psychology plays a big part in all human interactions and job interviews are no different. Of course it's important to show off your skills and experience as a nurse. But thinking about the psychology behind the interview experience can also help you land that nursing job.Mirror body languageA significant proportion of communication is non-verbal. While it's important to think about your own body language – for example not looking too laid back, clench your fists or cross your arms – it's also good to try and mirror the interviewer's body language. In psychological circles this is known as the 'chameleon effect'. The idea is that people tend to be more positive towards you if your body language is similar to theirs. It also helps you connect with the interviewer and show them that you're interested in what they're saying.Don't clock watchIt's easy to find yourself checking the time sub-consciously, so be alert to this issue. It can give the impression you're not taking the interview seriously and would rather be somewhere else. As a nurse, you need to show focus and commitment.Don't gushIt's tempting to fill spaces in the conversation, but you can talk too much, which can make you seem over-excitable or disorganised in your thoughts – not a good trait for someone in a nursing job. Don't just answer with mono-syllables, but also try to be clear and succinct. Remember, in communication less can be more.Make eye contactFrom the moment you arrive at your interview, you should look the interviewer straight in the eye. Interpersonal skills are important for nurses and making eye contact will show you are confident in dealing with people.Find common groundThis is a tried and tested sales technique which can also pay dividends in interviews. We all tend to like people who share our interests and values, so it's always good to try and find one or two things in common with your interviewer. Weave some personal information into your answers which might just hit home.Construal Level TheoryAccording to some psychological research, the further you are away from an object or person, the more abstract your thinking will be. So how does that apply to a nursing job interview? It means that if you sit closer to the interviewer and focus on specific attributes or examples of your experience, you're more likely to engage successfully with them.Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)Invented in the 1970s, NLP is a form of assertiveness training mainly used by salespeople and business executives. However, there are some aspects of the technique that can be useful in job interviews, for example trying to replicate the kind of language used by the interviewer, proactively asking questions and using 'power words' such as 'believe', 'overcome', 'thrive', 'success' and 'change'.If you’re nervous about your upcoming nursing job interview, make sure you read through our blog articles. We have a wide range of content which is designed to help you apply and prepare for your nursing job role. If you can’t find what you’re looking for and you need some dedicated advice tailored especially for you, then please give one of our trained consultants a call. They’ll be happy to help you make the most of your interview preparations.

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