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How to tell whether your healthcare job is going well or not

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

When things are going well in your job it’s a great feeling. Work that interests you and which you find enjoyable doesn’t just make the week go by quicker, it leaves you feeling fulfilled and that you are making a difference. Indeed, those in the caring profession report that the ability to have an impact on people’s lives is one of the most rewarding things about their job.

But what happens if things aren’t going quite so well? What tell-tale signs should you look out for, and how can you tell whether looking for a new position would be beneficial? It’s an important consideration and that’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you determine how well your job is going – and what you can do to try and make a positive change.

When things aren’t quite going right in your position

In life and at work things sometimes go wrong. Perhaps you applied for a promotion that you didn’t get or maybe you made an honest mistake in your work. Whatever the reason, when things don’t quite go right, it can be very off-putting. It can leave you feeling distracted, worried about your position, and this can often lead to underperformance, creating a vicious circle. 

The most important thing is being able to recognise when you can make improvements and when things are beyond your control. For example, asking your senior team or even HR for feedback might explain what you could do differently next time to secure the promotion. Or maybe you’ll discover that the budget for the new position was unexpectedly withdrawn, which isn’t something you can help. Positive action will give you a clearer answer than worrying about a situation will – and it will save you from losing sleep too!

How do you know if you should stay in your position or leave?

Being positive and taking proactive steps are important and help to put you in control of the situation. However, if you feel that things aren’t quite right it’s still important that you consider whether you should stay in or leave your position. 

If you’ve asked yourself what changes you can make for the better, acted on those changes, and things still aren’t working out, the next step is to speak to your manager. Maybe they can provide extra support? If things don’t improve, or if help is not forthcoming then there’s a good chance that it’s time to consider a new position.

What are the warning signs for when things are not going well?

Determining whether your job is going well or not can be tough, although there are signs to watch out for which will help you decide.

Internal factors: Low motivation is a clue that your job is not fulfilling you. If you fear the thought of working with colleagues or seeing your boss then it’s also a sign that things could be better. Spending time wishing for your days off or dreading your next shift are also clues that the job is not going as well as it could.

External factors: Key things to watch out for which suggest that your job is not going well are missing targets, being invited to performance reviews by management, and not being asked to perform certain tasks. Ask for feedback wherever you can as this will equip you with information which you can act on and change things for a more positive outcome. If the feedback is vague, very negative or you don’t receive any, then it could be an indication that the job isn’t playing to your strengths. 

What is your workload like: too much or not enough?

Your workload has a big impact on your success in a position. While being busy can keep you motivated and alert, having too much to do can be detrimental. Across the health service, from hospitals to community care, workload has a huge impact on staff and service users. According to research carried out by the NHS, 65% of nurses felt that they didn’t have time to comfort patients due to their workload. And it’s not just hospitals where the workload is growing. Figures from the Royal College of Nursing show that the number of patients assigned to staff in care homes and in the community is on the increase.

You can’t control how many people need help or when, however if you notice that there’s a more efficient or a safer way of doing things, why not share it with your senior colleagues. Although the workload might not actually change, it may just help to make things run more smoothly for everyone – including the very people that you’re caring for.

On the other hand, maybe you feel that you don’t have enough to do. If you’re unmotivated or under stimulated by your work, it could mean that the position isn’t quite right.

It’s about achieving a balanced workload that will challenge you without leaving you burnt out.

Is the culture right for you?

The culture of an organisation has an impact not only on your work but also how much you enjoy working in your job role. If the culture doesn’t appeal to you, then it can be a major factor in prompting you to leave. Findings from the think tank The King’s Fund suggest that nurses often feel ‘overwhelmed’ by their workload due to a lack of clear goals; they say that goals are one of the core elements that shape NHS culture. They also outline factors such as effective teamwork and support and compassion as being key to culture.

Of course, every healthcare professional knows that each individual organisation has its own culture, despite the culture that exists across the health service more broadly. And regardless of what the ‘ideal’ culture might be according to think tanks, if the culture of your workplace just doesn’t make you feel at ease, it will affect how you feel about your job and your performance in the end.

Do the values of your organisation marry with your own?

The values of an organisation often link closely with its culture. If the values don’t match up with your own then you might find that things don’t go smoothly in your job. Values often influence the everyday things about a workplace, such as how colleagues interact with each other and with patients and service users, the way things are done, and even the general atmosphere.

If any of these values differ to yours, or if you feel that what’s written down differs from what happens in reality, the impact is likely to affect how you feel about your position. Whatever your organisation’s values are, if they jar with your own personal values it can make your experience of a job very unenjoyable increase your chances of looking for a new position.

Feeling happy with your decision

Whether you decide to stay in your current job role or to move on, the most important thing is that it’s the right decision for you. Taking the above into account will help you establish whether or not you should stay and try to make improvements or to jump ship.

We’ve worked with healthcare professionals for decades to help them get the best out of their careers – whether that means staying in or leaving a job. So, if you’re feeling unsure about the best course of action, why not give us a call on 01772 259 121 – we’d be happy to help.

And if you are thinking of moving jobs, then you may like to read our blog: Leaving one nursing role for another: key considerations.

You can also register your CV online, and why not have a browse through some of our existing vacancies

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