Leaving the NHS – what are my options?

Whenever you make a change in career, it can be very challenging, especially when leaving an organisation like the National Health Service, where you receive an extremely reasonable annual leave package, as well as other benefits like health and counseling services as well as a pension scheme.

However, with the current economic crisis, all public services have taken a hit, especially the NHS, whose workers are subject to pay freezes, high government targets and redundancies, which has led many workers to leave or at least consider leaving the NHS over the last 2-3 years.

If you are one of those people who have recently left, or are considering leaving the NHS, then you are no doubt worried about what you will do, how you will find a new role in a different organisation and how you can ensure that you are able to lead a fulfilling, comfortable life.

Analyse your situation

The key is not to panic. As when leaving any other career, there are going to be many options that are open to you once you have left the NHS, you just need to work out what it is exactly that you want to do, for instance whether you want a job that offers you flexible working, part-time working or a job that involves working from home.

In fact, you don’t even have to make the decision to go back to work at all, but I’ll discuss this later on in the article.

Identify transferable skills

It is very important that you sit down and make a list of all the transferable skills that you believe you have and include examples where you think you can show use of these skills. This method can be hard to get into at the start but persevere because, having worked in the NHS, you WILL have many skills that can be transferred across. Trust me.

To help start you off, here are a few examples showing the transferrable skills that a number of NHS roles would have (amongst many more):

• Hospital Administrative Assistant – organisation, leadership, multi-tasking, record keeping, customer service, IT & computer literacy.
• Adult Nurse – customer service, flexibility, adaptability, empathy, time management, determination and a personable attitude.
• Children’s Nurse – caring, listening, crisis management, teamwork, stress management, evaluative skills and negotiation.
• Dentist – communication, ability to memorise and understand lots of information, evaluative skills and initiative.
• Paramedic – adaptability, awareness, responsive, observant, teamwork.

Retrain for a new career

Do not feel that you have to stay within the confines of your previous role. If you have left the NHS because your role was no longer what you wanted to do – do not be afraid to branch out. You are sure to have many transferrable skills that a number of employers will be on the look-out for; all you need to do is find them.

A lot of employers will be willing to train you up, so that you can do a different role effectively; however, these employers are not always the easiest to find, therefore, it can be a good idea to look into re-training. You can do this by going to a training centre, where you can enrol onto a variety of different courses, ranging from bookkeeping to web design to secretarial work, or even if you just want to improve your literacy or numeracy, there are courses for that too.

You can retrain and come out with a Diploma, GCSEs, A-Levels or even Degrees, all of which can help you to secure the brand new role that you want. If you can afford it, you can also train full time instead of finding a job, or you can work part-time whilst you study. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to completing qualifications these days, so be sure to do some research.

Find a job

Finding a new job is one of the more stressful things in life, however, if you maintain an optimistic approach and persevere, you will be successful in finding a new role. You just have to be aware of all the resources that you can use to help you in your job search, online methods as well as offline methods.

Don’t be scared to go into local stores and offices to make an enquiry about whether or not they need any help and make sure you leave a CV, because if they don’t need anyone currently, they may do in a few weeks or months, and then your CV will be right there waiting for them.

Ensure that you utilise all of the online recruitment sites such as Reed or Monster as well as signing up to a number of recruitment agencies. Make sure you refresh your online data regularly and call up the agencies weekly, as the more you approach people and update your information, the more likely your name is to be at the top of the list when a job comes along.

Leaving the NHS

Whilst it will no doubt be scary and challenging at times after leaving your role within the NHS, it will also be an exciting time and can lead to bigger and better things, so try to keep a positive outlook and good things will be sure to come your way.

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