How to start your NHS Career

With 350 different careers within the NHS, there are certainly plenty of options to choose from.

Working in the NHS can be incredibly rewarding. NHS employees often find fulfillment in knowing that they are helping others and making a positive impact in their lives.

There are roles across nursing, allied health, medical, admin, estates, healthcare science and many more. No matter your skills, experience or interests, there is sure to be something within the NHS to suit you.

Diverse team of NHS workers in uniform

There are also different ways into these roles in the NHS. You might have specific training or qualifications already suitable for a role (ie. professional registration, degree), or you could also undertake a training or apprenticeship post where you can learn on the job whilst working towards a qualification.

Another possibility is to consider volunteering in the Trust first. This can give an insight into life in the hospital on a daily basis, something which could be particularly beneficial if you have never worked in this environment before. 

But where do you start? How do you find out exactly what these roles are, what you'll be doing on a daily basis in the role and what you'll need to apply?

A good starting point is the NHS Health Careers website. The site has lots of information on working for the NHS, including a breakdown of the different roles available.

They also have a handy quiz which you can take to find your NHS career. By answering a series of questions, the quiz will help determine which NHS roles may be suitable for you, based on your interests and how much you like or dislike certain elements of a job (ie. dealing with paperwork).

Screenshot of NHS Find your career quiz

At the end of the quiz the site will generate some possible career options with links to find out further information about each one. Be sure to investigate each option; think about what the role requirements are; what existing skills and/or qualifications do you have; do you need to do any further training or learning before you could apply; what possible progression routes are available for this role.

Now that you have narrowed down your options, you can start exploring the NHS organisations in your local area (or further afield if you'd consider relocating for work), and which roles are available within these organisations. It is important to remember that not every role will exist within every NHS organisation, so check if your dream role matches up with your dream Trust!

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust logo

Within SaTH, there are many different roles available, with clear and supported career pathways available for all colleagues. Some of these are listed below:

Allied Health Professionals - Our AHP teams include Speech and Language Therapists, Dietitians, Operating Department Practitioners, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiographers, Orthoptists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists - existing and newly qualified. You will be supported throughout your career by the team around you and our dedicated Practice Education Facilitators.

Doctors - Our team of highly motivated doctors spans a vast range of specialities from anaesthetics to emergency. We also offer the opportunity for medical students to join our bank as Medical Assistants whilst they are studying.

Estates and Facilities - Not all roles in the NHS are clinical! Our team of estates and facilities staff provide essential services to ensure the hospital is running smoothly. These roles include catering, domestics, engineering, equipment technologists and admin support. Career progression is available within these areas, with support to complete further qualifications should you wish to.

Healthcare Scienctists - We have a varied team of healthcare scientists within the Trust, working in collaboration with other teams to provide excellent patient care. These roles include Pathology, Microbiology, Medical Engineering, Audiology and Cardiac sciences.

Healthcare Support Workers - Our support staff play a vital role in ensuring our patients receive the very best care. There are a variety of roles available across different areas including Healthcare Assistants, Childrens Nursing Assistants, Radiology Assistants and Therapy Support Workers. There is also the opportunity to undertake further learning and even an apprenticeship to become a registered professional within the speciality.

Non-Clinical - A vital element of our workforce, our non-clinical staff encompass administration, communications, secretarial, HR and many more. There is an abundance of progression routes available, including support for further learning such as apprenticeship qualifications and Masters degrees, as well as training posts.

Nursing and Midwifery - Our dedicated nursing and midwifery staff make up a large portion of our overall workforce.  There are many different roles within these areas including branching into various specialities as well as progression into management, education or research. 

Pharmacy - The Pharmacy team at SaTH offer a comprehensive range of services and specialties and provide an ideal base to enable pharmacists to further develop their professional and clinical skills. They also offer a structured training programme for all staff.

Once you know which role/s you'd like to apply for you, you'll need to officially start your job search! NHS Jobs is a good starting point as all NHS vacancies will be advertised on there. For all SaTH jobs, you can visit our main jobs page for a full list of our current vacancies.

Here's just a few helpful tips to aid you in your job search:

  • For NHS jobs, make sure you adjust the distance of your search, for example if you search 'Shrewsbury' in the location but would also consider Telford, ensure you increase the distance range accordingly.
  • Try searching different words or phrases - for example if you're looking for an admin job, try searching 'admin', 'administration' and 'administrator'. Due to key words used in the advert sometimes not all admin roles will show up under just 'admin' (this is on NHS Jobs)
  • Check the job description and person specification carefully - ensure you can demonstrate that you meet the essential criteria stated in the person specification
  • Take note of the contact person for the role and don't be afraid to reach out to them if you have any questions about the position
  • Finally, read our tips for applying for a job at SaTH before you complete and submit your application!

The NHS offers some fantastic careers across both clinical and non-clinical settings. Each and every person working in the NHS contributes to providing vital services and can leave work every day knowing that what they did really matters.

You can join the NHS at any stage of your life, as you can see from the roles above there are many options to suit what you are looking for.

Finally, before you head off on your NHS Career journey, here's a reminder of just some of the benefits of a career in the NHS:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement (starting at 27 days, increasing up to 33 days)
  • Generous maternity pay
  • Access to various health and wellbeing offers
  • Discounts via Blue Light Card and other platforms
  • Flexible working
  • Travel initiatives ie. cycle to work scheme
  • Access to learning and development opportunites to support you to further your career
  • Access to staff networks

Happy National Careers week, and good luck in your NHS job search!

The Recruitment Team