Being a nurse offers a plethora of avenues to practise. You can choose which area, what specialty, what age group you want to look after and a whole range of choices of workplace. Whether it's for the NHS, private sector, or care homes, nurses are always in demand. But how do you weigh which one is the best for you?
Meet Francis, a NHS nurse who previously worked in a Care Home facility. He arrived in the UK in September 2019 and started to work in a Nursing Home in Birmingham as a Pre-Registered Nurse (Pre-OSCE Position). Two months later, he passed the OSCE and successfully secured his pin to be a UK RN. He continued to pursue his job and passionately cared for patients but he felt he can be more and he can achieve more.
He soon realised that for him to accomplish his dreams, he had to work in the NHS. "It was always my dream to work in an acute care setting fulltime in a teaching hospital. Also, I am aware that NHS Trusts offer a lot of training and career opportunities. I want to grab those opportunities and maximise it."
Francis wanted to jumpstart his working experience in the NHS in order to be qualified for nursing positions in research or work his way to advanced practice position through study in university. He added, "I know this goal will be difficult to accomplish if I'm working in a nursing home as training and career opportunities are very limited. Furthermore, I have a pending application in the United States and current bedside experience is a requirement. In line with my goals, being in the NHS is like hitting two birds with one stone."
Did your new employer buyout your contract?
No, but the bright side of it is that I will not be having a feeling of monetary entanglement which I think adds stress to work. So, they deducted it directly through my last salary and some are about to be finished this December through direct debit. I did prepare for it though, as I saved a lot by working extra shifts in the Nursing Home before I moved with my family.
Do you think you made the right choice?
Definitely, I felt very satisfied with my current career direction as it is aligned with my intermediate and long term life goals.
What area do you work now in the NHS? What opportunities you have experienced so far?
I am currently working in Upper Gastroinstestinal (GI) and Lower GI surgical ward. I already attended mandatory and work-specific trainings. I have experienced how multidisciplinary team works and coordinates. There are a lot of subspeciality options to choose from as well.
What did you like about working in NHS?
When I moved to the NHS, I am now just obliged to work thrice a week. In the Nursing Home, I had to work four times a week. Now, I have extra time with my family and my wife could work as well in the NHS. Overtime shifts are available to us with enhancement pay unlike in the Nursing home which only offered flat rate for overtime.
The NHS pension is also noteworthy to mention, as we all know which is a lot better compared to private pension. There are also a multitude of training and career opportunities to specialise in the NHS. Personally in the NHS there are no boring moments.
Are there any advantages in working in the care home facility that you don't get in the nhs?
Working in the care home have several advantages. For one, the salary and guaranteed 44 hours a week. Care home has better rate than the NHS especially for entry positions, about £2 per hour difference in my case. Usually, the contract hours would be at 44 hours. Hence, take home pay is greater in care home when we are talking about regular hours only. Another one is the simplicity of routines and tasks. The nursing routines mainly includes medication administration, feeding, and updating care plans. Other tasks such as wound care, stoma care and catheter care are added functions. There were e-learnings available for the staff to access.
Why would this move be right for others as well?
It will always depend on the individual's goals and priorities. This would be the right move for me as it is aligned with my end game career plan. Ideally for me, this path is for nurses who are young or young at heart who love skills, trainings and exciting career opportunities in an acute setting.
My experience in working in the Nursing home was kind of steady in a laid back environment. That environment was not for me though, so I have no plans of going back. Don't get me wrong, it was nice working there but I felt I needed to challenge myself in order for me to grow professionally. I want to achieve greater heights in my career and I know that the NHS opens a lot of possibilities for every nurse to progress. As I start my journey in the NHS, I know I have made the right decision for my personal and career development as well as work-life balance that my family is longing for.
About the author:
Francis Jorge Dalimbang is a registered nurse holding licences in the UK and the US. He takes pride for completing Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN) degree and have special interests in nursing research, data science, and in the principles of delivering pitches. Behind all these credentials, he is a proud husband and father of one and a former chess player and enthusiast known for avidly playing queen’s gambit openings.