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Where have all the good jobs gone?

Over the last few weeks, Marilyn Eveleigh has been browsing the nursing job ads, wondering if there is a more satisfying job just waiting for her out there. What she found was less than inspiring ...

Maybe it's the recession, or the realisation of my retirement options, but I've been restless and feel I should be reviewing my employment. For me, work should be something to look forward to, not endured; but recently, my job has been less than rewarding, with a series of minor issues making major impacts. So, like many of you, I've wondered if there is a more satisfying job just waiting for me out there.

It has been an interesting browse.

Firstly (and to be fair, it is some time since I seriously checked out vacancies in the most widely-read weekly nursing publication), I was genuinely surprised by how few posts were available. It is my recollection that the job section was much thicker – almost equal to the clinical and professional content.

Does that mean there are fewer jobs available? Are employers using the internet and websites of the nursing publications to advertise? Are NHS employers saving costs by advertising for free on the NHS Jobs website? Or are they placing their adverts more parochially in their local press as the chance of staff successfully moving into an area are slim in this economic downturn? It feels there are fewer jobs.

Secondly, it was confusing to decipher all the various titles that nursing posts have. Who dreams them up? There was a plethora of terms that I had to concentrate hard to clarify: "clinical lead, lead nurse, specialist nurse, nurse specialist, nurse advisor, lead practitioner, team leader". I smiled at how some titles would be interpreted by the public on an identification badge: modern matron, support nurse, rapid response nurse, the trainee advanced neonatal nurse practitioner and the scrub practitioner. Despite Agenda for Change, it felt to me that some jobs had vastly different responsibilities and remuneration for the same job titles.   

There was a fair degree of irritation that some job adverts amazingly did not indicate the geographical location. In a national publication, at significant cost, here was literally no indication of where in the country the post was! One surgery with a MW5 postcode, advertising a 25-hour practice nurse post, did not get a response from me – even though it was "a friendly, progressive, high QoF achiever practice and eager to improve services to patients".  

Occasionally, an advert made me embarrassed and concerned about the level of expertise and professionalism in the team. The one below, for example, has so many basic spelling mistakes and grammatical errors I worry it might extend to patient and staff records:
"Autonomus Nurse Practitioner Req Doncaster. Prescribing NP required for 20-26 hours to work in a high acheiving practice. Must be able to work with little support from the GP's on site. May be required to work form branch sites for cross-cover. Please contact xxxxxxxxx for further deatils. Application via cv."

It is written here as it was advertised in a national publication. Even my computer spell and grammar check had to be turned off to replicate this! The advert was scant and offered little, and basic teamwork could have checked the advert copy. I wonder if they had any responses?

Finally, I noted the increase in adverts being offered by non-NHS organisations, the private sector and independent providers to deliver services to NHS patients - mostly nurse led, and often out of the traditional hospital setting. This is a reflection of the government's vision. I noticed the salaries were listed as attractive/competitive/excellent/on application/dependent on the applicant – and not a mention of Agenda for Change.

I'm still browsing ...

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Very interesting observations! At a time when it is being written in the press that a shortage of experienced nurses has prompted employers to advertise outside of the UK to fill higher band jobs, I am in despair. I have been nursing for 10 years, studied for a degree and various postregistration courses, yet I am in a dead end job. I now look outside of nursing for employment opportunities and regret with each passing day my decision to return to nursing after a 20-year break. I love nursing, but not the politics" – Jeanne McComasky, Germany