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A nursing home job can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s a role which requires particular skill and humility – whether you’re working on reception, as a care assistant or as a manager. Here we cover elderly care jobs in greater detail for anyone wishing to explore this area of the care industry and start their career in a care home or residential establishment.
A nursing home is a residential facility, which provides accommodation for people with usually long-term health conditions, disability or age-related medical needs, whilst catering for specific care needs and health requirements. Nursing homes can be run independently or as part of a larger group or company.
Many people often confuse the two, but there are actually a number of important differences between a care home (also known as a residential home) and a nursing home. Sometimes nursing homes jobs can differ from those in a care home.
The main difference is the type of service offered and care needs catered for. Although both provide accommodation, meals and personal care provision, in a nursing home every care team will include a fully qualified nurse who will be on hand to look after those with medical needs who require specialist nursing attention. Therefore, nursing home jobs can be at times more demanding.
Care homes tend to be occupied by those with less intensive care needs and non-serious medical conditions, whereas residents in nursing homes will often have more complex health issues and therefore need a more qualified person to deal with their needs.
Often care homes will outsource medical support, with GPs, district nurses and other healthcare professionals on call to deal with routine appointments and emergencies – which is why the two can often become confused.
Nursing homes are large organisations, which run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that lots of staff are required to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that residents are properly cared for – so there are often a large number of nursing home vacancies available at any given time, making them a popular choice for many. There are various jobs in care homes, but a few of the most common include:
Each position naturally has varying responsibility attached, with different associated salaries, hours and additional benefits. Whichever of the range of care home jobs you apply for depends on your experience, what interests you and what you are qualified to do. You can find out more about working as a care assistant or health care assistant on our site.
If you are a caring person who enjoys spending time with and helping other people, then a variety of retirement home jobs might be suitable for you. Whichever position you occupy, you’ll be expected to have some knowledge and appreciation of the care industry – whether you are working in marketing or as a care assistant.
Because of the ‘round the clock’ nature of retirement homes, it is likely that you will be required to work unsociable hours and varied shift patterns, including evenings, nights, early mornings, weekends and bank holidays.
Usually positions are full-time, but part-time positions are often also available. It’s worth considering whether retirement home jobs would suit you and fit in around any existing personal or family commitments you may have.
Jobs in care homes of course involve working within the home itself – so if you like to get out on the road and meet lots of different people during the course of a day or week in your job a position in a home might not be right for you. However if you like to build relationships with your colleagues and those in your care and enjoy working in a hands-on environment then nursing home jobs may be suitable for you.
Like care home roles, care home jobs tend to be repetitive in nature, but they do offer variation from time to time. Equivalent nursing homes jobs may also be more intensive in nature when compared to their care home counterparts, owing to the more acute healthcare needs of the people you will be looking after.
As you will be working in a nursing home, doing elderly care jobs is what you will primarily be doing – however it is worth noting that younger people sometimes also require residential nursing care as a result of prolonged illness or disability.
If you are a caring person and would really like to work in the care industry in some capacity, there are other options available if you don’t feel that a job in a nursing home is right for you.
You could look into becoming a health care assistant, which involves working in hospitals and GP surgeries. You can find handy articles on working as a care assistant and health care assistant here on UK Care Guide.
Progression from jobs in nursing homes depends entirely on what your current role within a nursing home is, however there are usually progression opportunities open in a variety of positions, especially if you are working within a large care company.
For those working as care givers in-house training is often provided, but you may also have the chance to complete further qualifications whilst you work (sometimes paid for by your employer), which allow you to apply for higher level jobs.
Anyone working within an admin role could potentially progress – especially if they are working in marketing or accounts. Managers may also find that their skills are transferrable and once they have outgrown their current role could go on to manage a larger care home or move up a level in their existing company.
Once you have undertaken jobs in care homes you may also be able to work in other similar areas, perhaps for the NHS or in healthcare and social work, provided you have relevant experience.
If you are not already working within the care industry, then gaining some relevant experience is definitely important when looking for elderly care jobs or nursing homes jobs. You can do this in a number of ways – the most popular being volunteering. There are several organisations which can help you to secure a relevant volunteering placement – including NHS England’s volunteering scheme, Volunteering England and Do It.
Apprenticeships are also viable options for many looking to work in nursing homes who haven’t yet got the experience or qualifications they need. The type, length and payment will vary depend on the company you work for and the area you work for, but many do result in full-time employment after completion.
If you are already working in a nursing home or have a job in the care industry and are just looking to secure another role or do something slightly different, then it’s worth reviewing your CV.
Your CV can also be moulded to suit the job you are applying for – as many people simply can’t communicate the full extent of their experience on just one piece of paper. Start with your basic CV, listing the main points which make you eligible for a role in care. Here are some tips from Learn Direct on writing a CV.
Then keep a few points or key pieces of information which can be interchangeable. For instance, some nursing home jobs require someone who has worked with older people with Dementia – so whilst this wouldn’t necessarily feature on your CV for a nursing home, which is strictly for those with advanced continuing healthcare needs.
You may find jobs in care homes advertised on the website of a company – usually under a ‘Careers’ tab – so when conducting a job search it’s always a good idea to list the names of the companies you especially wish to work with, and take a look at their sites individually to see whether any positions have been posted there.