nursing home jobs

Nursing Home Jobs in 2020

Finding care home jobs in your area

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.

What is a nursing home?

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.

How are nursing homes jobs and care homes different?

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.

The different types care home jobs?

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:

Care givers:

  • If you are working as a care giver you may be a care assistant (dealing with low-level care needs such as washing, dressing and companionship), or a health care assistant (a care assistant who is able to carry out general medical tasks, such as monitoring blood pressure, taking observations and administering medication).
  • All caregiving roles require some training and experience, as well as a warm, friendly personality, can-do attitude and good communication skills.
  • Nurses:
    • Nursing homes require qualified nurses to be part of their care teams. A nurse in a nursing home is responsible for taking care of residents’ medical needs and completing observations and assessments of individuals’ health, as well as sometimes overseeing the care given by other members of the team and advising on appropriate treatment.
    • Nurses are also sometimes required to deal with unexpected illness or emergencies, and will generally be the ‘first port of call’ before a more senior healthcare professional is called upon, either for a referral or urgent attention.
  • Managers:

    • There are managers at differing levels and in various capacities in a nursing home. Smaller nursing homes may only have one or two levels of management, for instance, the directors and one home manager beneath.
    • In larger establishments, there may be more managerial levels – with managers overseeing different vital elements such as kitchen, accounts, nursing and even activities and events. Sometimes nursing staff occupy a managerial role on their floor or within their care team simultaneously.
  • Reception:
    • Reception staff are often forgotten but are an important part of a nursing home’s staff, as they often take on a variety of important admin tasks as well as answering the phone and meeting and greeting family members and other visitors.
    • Sometimes reception desks need to be manned 24 hours a day for security reasons, so those occupying these roles may be required to work weekends, evenings and night shifts. Reception and general admin roles can often be applied for with little or no experience.
  • Catering:
    • Good quality meals are a vital element in the success of a nursing home – as without proper nutrition, residents can’t be cared for properly. The preparation of food is often taken care of by dedicated kitchen staff, but often the meals themselves are distributed by care assistants who may also feed the residents depending on how great their care needs are.
    • The nature of a nursing home means that food needs to be prepared in a particular way and will cater for specific health requirements.
  • Cleaning:

    • Cleanliness and good hygiene in a nursing home is paramount – so the cleaning team really are one of its most important assets, even though this is a role which is often overlooked.
    • As a cleaner working in a nursing home you will be required to maintain a high level of cleanliness and hygiene in an environment which is ever-changing – where often challenging healthcare needs can dictate what areas need cleaning much more frequently. The importance of eliminating germs and dirt in the areas in which vulnerable residents live and eat cannot be underestimated of course – as they are more susceptible to the bugs and viruses which could kill without proper hygiene.
    • There will be measures in place for infection prevention (such as sharps bins, clinical waste bags and aprons, gloves) and whilst caregivers will clear away appropriately you will be expected to come into contact with bodily fluids and clean up in the event of a medical incident or accident.
    • If you have worked as a cleaner in a hospital or GP surgery you should have plenty of relevant experience for a similar role in a nursing home – however, if you haven’t yet worked as a cleaner in the care industry you may require additional training.

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.

Are retirement home jobs right for me?

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.

How are jobs in care homes different from other care roles?

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.

Will I mainly be doing elderly care jobs when working in a nursing home?

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.

Are there other options available to me?

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.

Can I progress or branch out from jobs in nursing homes?

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 caregivers 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.

How can I better my chances when searching and applying for jobs in care homes?

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 depending 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.