There are countless NHS hospitals dotted around the country and often lots of NHS jobs available, so choosing the right hospital for you may seem like a daunting task. However, we’re hoping to make it easier by suggesting a few factors you should consider before applying for or accepting a job at an NHS hospital. Read on to find out what these are...
Work out what the best hospital is for you
The most important thing to bear in mind is yourself and your needs. Don’t worry about what your fellow NHS workers are doing or what other people may think because the most important person here is you. Make sure you’re taking a job in a hospital where you think you’ll be happy and thrive!
Location of the hospital
The location of the hospital is of huge importance. Where you work will have a big effect on your private and social life. If you have close relationships with your family and friends, you could prioritise local hospitals to make sure you can see them often. If you can’t find a job in a local hospital or fancy a change of location, it’s a good idea to choose an area where you at least know a few people. Starting a new job is always a little stressful but having loved-ones close by will make it a lot easier.
Another factor to consider when choosing a good location is whether it suits your preferences. If you’re a social butterfly who likes to go out a lot, you should probably go for a hospital in a city, where you can enjoy the nightlife and brunch spots whilst if you prefer a quiet night in, you may be more suited to a hospital in a town.
Finally, if you have a young family, you may like to check out which schools are in the local catchment area before deciding on a hospital to make sure your children will be able to attend one with a good reputation.
When you’re choosing which hospital to work for, considering the job description is vital. Nursing will always be varied, but the areas you work in will affect your day-to-day job satisfaction. For example, if you absolutely don’t want to work with children, don’t go for a job whose description mentions shifts in a pediatric ward. Often, nurses and doctors get a job on a specific ward and stay there, so you should also ensure that you’d be happy working in the ward mentioned in the job description for the foreseeable future.
Similarly, make sure you read up on the hospital in general to find out if it fits into your aspirations. For example, if you would like to eventually work as an A&E doctor, make sure the hospital you’re considering has an A&E ward, because not every hospital does! Types of hospitals and their wards vary, so researching it is really important.
Accommodation options nearby
Accommodation is an important factor when you’re looking at any job and an NHS hospital job is no exception. The main thing to think about is price - you need to make sure that the sort of accommodation you’d like will be financially viable in the area the hospital is in. For example, if you want to live in your own flat, choosing to work at a London hospital isn’t the best choice because rent in the capital is so high.
You should also check transport links and make sure transport will be available at all times of the day and night because, as a hospital worker, you’ll end up working night shifts. It would be a disaster for you if the buses stopped running at 10pm! On a similar note, make sure you’ll be able to live in a safe area with low crime rates because you’ll often end up going home alone in the dark.
Another aspect you may like to consider is the price of property in the area. If you’re planning to choose a hospital and settle down, it’s likely that you’ll want to buy a property there in a few years’ time, so it would be wise to make sure the property prices are realistic for your budget.
Are there options to progress your career?
There are several ways to progress your career when you’re working in a hospital and you should take these into consideration when choosing your hospital. For example, nurses can progress to a particular area like an intensive care ward or operating theatre. They can also develop their career, becoming a nursing sister, a ward manager, or a team leader for example. The sort of hospital role you may like to pursue completely depends on your interests. Try to make sure there will be opportunities to fulfil your career goals in the hospital you’re considering.
It’s usually easier to progress in a large hospital because there are more roles available. However, this doesn’t mean that career progression isn’t possible in smaller hospitals. It might just take a little longer for a spot to open up. If you want to progress your career as quickly as possible, choosing a big hospital is a good idea.
However, career progression opportunities are different in every hospital. Make sure you enquire about it at your interview to find out for certain what sort of opportunities you’ll have.
Top rated NHS hospitals in the UK
According to a 2020 Newsweek ranking that was compiled in partnership with data research company Statistica, the best NHS hospital in the UK is St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, followed by the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle in second place, and University College Hospital in London in third place. Other hospitals featuring in the top ten include Salford Royal, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, and Bristol Royal Infirmary.
If you’re after prestige, you may like to have a look for jobs in these hospitals. However, whilst these may statistically be the best NHS hospitals in the UK, you shouldn’t get too invested in this ranking because it’s unlikely to be an accurate reflection of what hospitals are the best to work in. Forget rankings and put more stock in the location of the hospital, the career progression opportunities, and the feeling you get when you visit it on your interview day - you should judge for yourself how it ranks against your personal criteria.
Which hospital is best for me?
If you’ve been wondering which hospital is best for you, we hope these considerations will help you come to a decision. Whether you're a nurse, a doctor, or a medical secretary, if the hospital is in a good location and you believe you’ll be happy working there, it should be a good hospital for you!