Retraining for NHS admin roles

(17 Posts)
waitingfortheknightbus Fri 16-Oct-20 20:31:28

I have had a happy career in marketing and design. Woo hoo!

But the roles are flakey and I want a change.

I would love to work in a medical setting. How can I get a job in the NHS as admin when my career has been in something completely different? I’m not getting anywhere with applications for basic low paid office work sad

Any tips??

OP’s posts: |
Ginfilledcats Fri 16-Oct-20 20:58:13

Hey, search on here for NHS interview tips, I often reply to them with a big list of helpful things. I'm a senior manager in nhs and have risen through the ranks from band 2 up.

What sort of admin roles are you applying for? Hospitals and CCGs have communication teams that your background would be ideal for! But if you're looking for generic admin jobs there are tonnes.

Make sure you tailor your personal statement on the nhs application for each job. Don't just write one and fire it off to every job you're interested in. Refer to the actual job and trust within the statement too.

I go through the job description and person spec and highlight key words or skills, then I make a table of how I've demonstrated that experience in pre ious roles. I then structure my applications thematically and basically give them examples of all the skills.

For example, for a data administrator role they usually want attention to detail, independent working, meeting deadlines etc so I might write something along the lines of:

"I believe I am the ideal candidate for the role of data administrator in the cancer services team at great Ormand street hospital as I have a range of experience in the requested skills and attributes. My main strength is in prioritising attention to detail in all my work. I'm my current role as marketing manager, it is vital that the details I include in the campaign accurately convey the message the customer intends, I achieve this my ensuring adequate time to digest the information and by not rushing my work. I understand attention to detail will be a vital component in this role as errors have the potential to impact patients and days results adversely.

And so on and so forth for the main key skills or phrases.

Essentially we get lots of applications and first short listing is basically a tick box exercise against the jd or ps. Has the candidate demonstrated experience or knowledge of these main things. If you do, you get to interview.

Do not bullet point your response, do not write just 2 lines, do not use a generic response!

Since I was a band 4 applying for a band 5 role I've always called the recruiting team and asked for a call to find out more about the role/get them excited about my application too. It's useful as you can ask things like "what's the biggest challenge the depts facing at the moment" or "what sort of person are you looking for" and this info can help frame your personal statement too.

Last piece of advice is apply ASAP as often we'll put a closing date of x on the advert, but also a rule to close applications once 30 have been received. I forgot to do the latter once and ended up sifting through over 100 applications!

Good luck x

Ginfilledcats Fri 16-Oct-20 20:58:41

Wow that was long sorry

JonHammIsMyJamm Fri 16-Oct-20 21:06:44

AMSPAR qualifications are universally recognised and well thought of. There are loads of them, from basic to more in-depth. If you want to increase your appeal and have the time/funds, it might be worth doing something like their medical terminology course.

JonHammIsMyJamm Fri 16-Oct-20 21:07:51

waitingfortheknightbus Sat 17-Oct-20 09:51:23

Wow thank you so much!! I did have a look at communication roles for the NHS but they’re all in an office quite far from me which is annoying as I live opposite the main hospital for our county. Sometimes the social media roles can get quite political & I want to avoid that.

I’m not sure what type of admin role I’d like - I’m interested in clinical coding. I have no idea why!! But would be happy to start from anywhere.

I’m going to spend some time later sifting through JD and write an amazing PS.

And have a look at qualifications flowersflowers thank you!!

OP’s posts: |
Hello1290 Sat 17-Oct-20 10:28:34

I'm looking for NHS roles as well! I have applied for a few and am waiting to hear if I will be called for an interview. Thanks for the tips Gin.

jambeforecreamofcourse Sat 17-Oct-20 10:31:57

I'm not in admin but I am NHS, and as the poster above said, make sure you tailor your application to the job spec. The job spec will have a list of "essential" and "desirable" criteria. You have to demonstrate you meet all of the essential criteria to get an interview. Then show as much of the desirable as possible. That should get you to the interview stage. If you have an unsuccessful interview, you should get good feedback as to why you weren't successful. Good luck!

Ginfilledcats Sat 17-Oct-20 16:17:00

@waitingfortheknightbus my sister was a clinical coder for a while it is really interesting, and at high levels, highly skilled!. You will need to find an entry training role though to get in that sort of job, as many of them expect you to have qualifications in it already. My sister worked at a GP as a coder so have a look for GP admin roles too.

Might be worth considering a medical terminology cours? Though not required, I don't have one for example but just thinking of things to help your application.

Clinical coding is a lot about attention to detail, good memory, analysis and reading between the lines to code effectively. Often working to tight deadlines as you have to code quickly as someone will always be after the notes you're trying to code from.

But as a PP agreed, look at the desirable and essential criteria and reflect on your experience in any industry as how you meet that! Good luck

Ginfilledcats Sat 17-Oct-20 16:22:14

@waitingfortheknightbus maybe look at roles in PALs or complaints/governance teams too, that would lend well to your background.

Otherwise I always say get your foot in the door of the nhs and you'll eventually find something perfect for you.
Mice been a cleaner a receptionist a data inputter, patient experience coordinator, waiting list coordinator, and then various levels of manager for varying department size for f different specialties in different trusts

tortoiseshell1985 Sat 17-Oct-20 16:57:12

I've applied for loads, advanced word, excel skills, never even got an interview

Ginfilledcats Sat 17-Oct-20 17:37:09

@tortoiseshell1985 those skills are great to have but are the bare minimum expected I would say. What sort of roles are you going for and do you highlight the skills you have that match the jd and person spec requests? X

Yawningyawning Sat 17-Oct-20 17:44:18

I joined safeguarding admin team having previously worked in construction procurement so very different.
I tried to link my experience with admin, reports, other office stuff to their job description. Good luck!

tortoiseshell1985 Sat 17-Oct-20 17:49:44


*@tortoiseshell1985* those skills are great to have but are the bare minimum expected I would say. What sort of roles are you going for and do you highlight the skills you have that match the jd and person spec requests? X

Yes I think so applied for secretarial, pa roles which is what I am doing now, albeit in legal environment

Ginfilledcats Sat 17-Oct-20 17:52:52

@tortoiseshell1985 sounds like you have the right experience then if you're doing the same now, such a shame you didn't get short listed.
All I can suggest is keep trying if you're keen and make sure you demonstrate evidence to each of the key words or phrases they're looking for!

Beaglegirl1 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:26:11

I've just shortlisted fir a basic admin post. We had lots of applications from very highly qualified people, but they didnt score highly enough on the shortlisting criteria to be invited to interview which is a real shame. A few of the other posters have hit the nail on the head- the NHS use strict criteria scoring when shortlisting. Those can be found in the matrix or person specification at the back of any job advert. Everytime you mention on demonstrate you have an essential or desirable you will score a point.
Always make sure you make clear you meet those criteria to ensure you score as many points as possible. Eg if it says ECDL essential put it in the qualms section or if you're working towards, say so. You can also mention in your personal statement or in the brief sections on the previous experience that you are able to use the full Microsoft office suite etc- that will be seen and you will score some marks even if you don't have the ECDL.
Hope this helps

Landlubber2019 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:34:56

Have you applied to join the nhs bank, this will provide an opportunity to see lots of departments in action and allow you to network! With the skills acquired from bank, you will most likely acquire the skills being sought in permanent positions

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