• 14 May 2021
  • 9 min read

What You Should Look For In A Potential Employer

  • Josephine Amoah
    Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Specialist
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Josephine Amoah
  • 0
  • 604
"If you find out that an organisation you are interested in working for does not value its employees you need to consider your decision."

When it comes to looking for a job as a nurse or healthcare or care worker, we are lucky. The staffing crisis in health & social care means we can be selective. Here’s how to find the right employer.

Large Numbers Of Nurses & Care Workers Are Looking For A New Job

What Nurses SHOULD Be Looking For When Assessing A New Job

How To Find Out About Potential Employers

Don’t Take The Wrong Job Just Because You’re Desperate

Conclusion

Large Numbers Of Nurses & Care Workers Are Looking For A New Job

There has always been a deficit in the nursing job market, especially in the UK.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which tested the healthcare system in the UK to the limit, made the situation even worse and now has left the nursing profession in dire need of more nurses (though many have been attracted to the profession and applying for degrees in record numbers).

The pandemic also exposed lots of employers who were not providing adequate training, PPEs, safe working environment and adequate staff cover for their organisation.

Due to these reasons and more, many nurses, myself included have left previous employers.

Now that the infection and death rates from the covid -19 virus seem to be slowing, most nurses, both experienced and newly qualified, are looking for new job roles and opportunities.

What Nurses SHOULD Be Looking For When Assessing A New Job

Usually when we are looking for nursing jobs,  we look at the job title, the job role/description, the salary offered, location of the job and whether it is a full or part-time role.

Many nurses do not look beyond these criteria.

But should nurses be looking out for more from a potential employer?

When deciding on working for an organisation, finding out about how the organisation treats its patients / service users / clients is as important as finding out about how it treats its employees.

You will find that organisations that do not respect or treat their patients well are the ones that do not respect, value, or treat their employees well.

The following are the essential things you should be looking out for or asking about when deciding to apply for a job or to accept a job offer.

● The organisation’s culture: How are staff treated at this organisation? Are there reports of of bullying or discrimination.

● The organisation’s vision, values, and ethics: Ensure that you research this very well to make sure that organisation’s vision, values, and ethics align with yours. If they do not, it is advisable not to apply for the job as this will later cause you lots of frustration.

● Staff’s voices: Are staff allowed to voice their opinions? Does management seek staff opinions before implementing major changes including policies and procedures?

● Staff turnover: How many staff have left the organisation recently or historically? Why did they leave? How were staff treated when they decided to leave?

● Continuous Professional / Personal Development (CPD): Does the organisation encourage staff to continuously develop themselves either professionally or personally? Is CPD part of the Preceptorship or Appraisal process? Does the organisation pay for employees to study or attend CPD events (either fully or partially funded)? Does the organisation allocate study days for CPD?

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● Progression: Will there be room for progression if you applied for the job? Are progression routes clearly mapped out and straight forward? Do you need to have specific qualifications to progress?

● Flexible working: If you have dependants or have other commitments, you need an organisation that offers flexible working options that helps with your work-life balance. Does the organisation offer flexible working options? If they do, do the options suit your needs?

● Sick benefits: What is the organisation’s policy on sick pay/benefits?

● Salary increments: What will be your salary increments and what will be the frequency of any increments? Will the increments be automatic, or will they need to be mapped against your performance?

● Time off for dependants and compassionate leave: This is particularly important if you have young children or are the main carer for someone in your family. Find out if the organisation offers time off for dependants and what the limit is.

● Notice period: How much notice do employees have to serve when they decide to resign from the organisation?

How To Find Out About Potential Employers

The Web

You can visit this part of the NHS' site to find out more about specific NHS organisations and Trusts.

Reviews are given by staff (both past and present), contractors, patients, and members of the public.

Reviews covering the following are all potentially useful to the job seeker:

● Staffing levels

● Organisation’s culture and ethics

● Diversity and inclusion

● Customer service

● Work-life balance

● Salaries

● Continuous professional / Personal development (CPD)

● Job security

● Concerns, complaints and compliments

● Performance review for staff

● Working hours including shift patterns

● Workload for staff

● Leadership and management style of those in charge

● Staff benefits including sick pay, maternity benefits, compassionate leave or time off for dependants, counselling service, health insurance and life assurance etc.

● How staff are treated

● How patients are treated

● Progression and opportunities for staff

Care Quality Commissioner (CQC)

Visit the CQC’s website , to find out the most recent CQC inspection report of the organisation that you want to work for. During the CQC inspection, the following questions are asked... Is the service:

● Safe? Service users, staff and visitors are protected from abuse and avoidable harm.

● Effective? People’s care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, promotes a good quality of life and is evidence-based where possible.

● Caring? Staff involve and treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

● Responsive? Services are organised so that they meet people’s needs.

● Well-led? Leadership, management, and governance of the organisation assures the delivery of high-quality person-centred care, supports learning and innovation, and promotes an open and fair culture.

Note: If the CQC’s inspection report states that the organisation NEEDS IMPROVEMENT, look at the areas where the improvement are needed and decide if this is something that you can live with, if you decide to work for the organisation.

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Do you have any questions about jobseeking?

Ask Josephine questions below

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Your connections or network

If you know anyone who used to work in the organisation or is currently working in the organisation (substantive as well as agency staff), they are the best people to talk to, to get first-hand information about the organisation.

Social media

You can ask questions on social media about a particular organisation. You are bound to get people who are willing to give you their opinions about or experiences with the organisation in question.

Arrange informal phone calls or visits

Arranging an informal phone call with your potential employer will give you the opportunity to ask them any questions that you have. Informal visits to the organisation, on the other hand, gives you the chance to see and “feel” the place where you could potentially be working.

Don’t Take The Wrong Job Just Because You’re Desperate

There was a time when due to childcare issues, I was desperate for a job that offered flexibility.

A particular organisation was highly recommended to me by a friend of mine who had worked at that organisation years ago as an agency nurse (the organisation had new management when I applied for the job).

I went online and did some background checks on the organisation.

The reviews I read were mainly negative, and even though I was overqualified for that job, I still applied for the job because I was desperate.

What I experienced at that organisation was unpleasant, to say the least. Patients’ care and safety were not prioritised.

The bottom line was saving money. In addition to this, staff were not respected or listened to and there was a lot of discrimination against some staff members.

In short, everything I read in the reviews before I applied for the job, was true.

The culture at that company was not a good one and it got to a point where the things I was experiencing started to affect my mental and physical health.

I started having mini panic attacks when it was time for me to go to work.

In the end, I had to leave the organisation as I felt the environment and culture were not enabling me to give the best of care to my patients.

Conclusion

The most valuable assets for any organisation, is its people.

If you find out that an organisation that you are interested in working for does not value, respect, support or listen to its employees, or fails to invest in their development, you need to consider your decision.

During your research, please consider and weigh up the negative reviews as majority of the negative reviews are not far removed from the truth.

So, before you apply for that dream job of yours, make sure to research the organisation.

Doing so will save you time, and save you from stress, frustration, and potential metal health issues.

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Do you have any questions about jobseeking?

Ask Josephine questions below

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About the author

  • Josephine Amoah
    Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Specialist

I am a UK RGN and Band 7 Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Specialist. I am also a Nurse Coach / Mentor and the Founder of Bina Consults and Bina Healthcare Ltd (Nursing Recruitment Agency).

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  • Josephine Amoah
    Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Specialist

About the author

  • Josephine Amoah
    Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Specialist

I am a UK RGN and Band 7 Infection Prevention and Control Nurse Specialist. I am also a Nurse Coach / Mentor and the Founder of Bina Consults and Bina Healthcare Ltd (Nursing Recruitment Agency).

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