5 Ways Care Worker Experience Can Reduce The Barriers to NHS Jobs

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Ever previously cared for relatives? Wondering if previous experience caring for relative could get you a paid job?

Find out 5 ways to use care worker experience to reduce the barriers to NHS jobs.

Having experience as a care worker could be your stepping stone to working for the NHS. In fact, landing an NHS job is the goal of many new care workers working independently or for other organisations.

Why Transition to the NHS?

The King’s Fund and other healthcare-related organisations are realising the value of greater collaboration between the social care sector and NHS services. It is seen as one of the potential solutions to the big shortage of social care workers.

If you are already working as a care worker, this is great news for you. The average wage with the NHS is generally higher than with other care work employers and there are also many opportunities for career advancement in the healthcare industry.

Is it difficult to get an NHS job?

One common reason why care workers do not apply for jobs with the NHS is that they are concerned about the requirements. Because the NHS is a healthcare organisation, the available job positions may require certain qualifications and experience.

Care workers may see this as a barrier because they don’t need the same requirements in care work. After all, one of the reasons why care work is such an accessible job is that it values soft skills and many employers offer on-the-job training.

However, this perceived barrier is not necessarily there in practice. In fact, care workers are often already part of a healthcare team and work closely with registered nurses.

If you think carefully about your daily activities as a care worker, you may already have some valuable insight into and knowledge of what it is like working in the healthcare sector. Instead of focusing on the gap between independent care work and working for the NHS, think about how these industries are interdependent.

5 reasons why care work experience reduces the barrier to NHS jobs

Having care work experience is a plus when applying for an NHS job. It is a fantastic way to bridge the gap to the healthcare sector.

Here are 5 advantages that you have as a care worker when applying for NHS jobs.

1. Care sorkers have strong soft Skills

The strongest and most valuable skills that care workers have are their social skills. In fact, these soft skills are often the reason why care workers get recruited.

Examples of soft skills include empathy, adaptability, the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently, and time management. These are all skills that are very valuable when working for the NHS.

These soft skills are what make care workers stand out from staff with a more formal education background. You cannot learn these soft skills from textbooks; they come with work experience.

2. Experience working with healthcare professionals

Although social care is not considered the same as healthcare, there is a lot of overlap between these two fields. This is because many social care clients are also healthcare patients.

As a care worker, you are likely to be in frequent contact with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals. Care workers often work collaboratively with healthcare teams to make sure that the patient gets the care they need.

In these work relationships, care workers gain valuable insights into healthcare. Having this kind of exposure to healthcare helps care workers adapt faster to the work environment with the NHS.

3. Personal connections to the NHS

Care workers may also have an advantage if they know someone who already works for the NHS. This personal connection is of value in several ways.

The first way it reduces the barrier to an NHS job is simply because you have the opportunity to hear about available positions as a care worker collaborating with NHS staff. An NHS worker may hear when a new job position is opening up and let you know about it.

Not only can they let you know about it, they can put in a personal recommendation to the employer. Many employers prefer hiring someone who was a staff referral because those hires often turn out to be the most productive employees.

4. Many qualifications overlap

The most similar NHS job position is that of a healthcare assistant or HCA. Many social care workers are highly qualified for this position because the recommended qualifications are essentially the same.

Just like with social care, there is no formal educational requirement to become an HCA and the most common preferred qualifications are the same as those for care workers, namely the NVQs or QCF. In other words, if you have already obtained these qualifications during your care worker training, you are already qualified for most HCA positions.

The NHS often also offers on-the-job training to acquire NVQs, similar to care work employers. If you already have these qualifications, the NHS won’t have to offer this training which makes you a more attractive candidate compared to job applicants without any training and experience.

5. Shows eagerness for career advancement

There is not only a shortage of adult care workers, there is also a shortage of registered nurses in the UK. That is why the NHS actively encourages its healthcare assistants to pursue training to become a registered nurse.

Having plans for career advancement shows an employer that you have passion for the field. It also shows that you plan on working for the NHS for a long period of time.

There is high employee turnover in the healthcare sector so an employer will be pleased to see dedication to the NHS. By transitioning into healthcare, you are showing the employer that personal development is important to you and that you are interested in a career, not just a pay cheque.

These 5 reasons why care workers are at an advantage when it comes to NHS jobs should serve as your encouragement. Forget the misconception that there is no career to be had in adult care work.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the NHS, healthcare and adult social care are all interconnected, which only opens up more opportunities for care workers.

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About the Author:

Evans B. Ofori

Evans B. Ofori is the founder and CEO of Adult Care Voice. Evans and his team help people who have passion for helping people find a satisfying and rewarding care worker jobs.