Whilst studying at university I decided to join the administration bank of my local hospital back home. I worked in a number of different departments (some more interesting than others): auditing and medical records, operating theatre, mental health surgery, X-ray department and MRI & CT scanning department. Here’s why it’s the best thing I ever did:
- It helped me develop people skills
During my time in the hospital I had to deal with every different type of person there is from the visually impaired, to the disabled, the rich, poor, young or old. Everyone at some point will need to use the NHS. This made me realise I wanted to work with people in the future; they make life interesting and you can never predict what they are going to do next. Yes I did realise this halfway through my science data related degree…but a girl can change her mind right?
- I gained transferable administration skills
Working on X-ray reception desk you had to answer the phone (develop telephone manner), serve patients (customer service) and write letters to GPs (improve typing skills). All of these things are transferable skills that I was able to put on my CV after completing the placement. Ok so at the time I didn’t see the point in “weeding out” old medical and X-ray records that were covered in dust but this gave me skills such as using different software systems, attention to detail and data entry. It also helped motivate me to find a career that I didn’t find “boring”.
- Improved communication skills and confidence
From speaking face-to-face and on the phone, to writing to senior consultants, junior doctors, radiographers, nurses, secretaries, patients and GPs, I developed my communication skills by adapting my language and tone depending on who I was speaking/writing to. It also helped me gain confidence and realise I was happy talking to anyone and increased my ability to build relationships, which is definitely helpful in HR.
- Dealing with stress/emergency situations
If you can deal with a patient fainting or going into cardiac arrest you can pretty much deal with anything. Experiencing these situations taught me to stay calm and not to panic; you can’t do these things when human life is in danger (not saying I resuscitated anyone or anything but I did make sure the right help was on its way and fast).
- Other points to consider
This “holiday job” was more interesting than working in a shop for example, also I was able to draw on all of this experience when I got an interview as an HR coordinator for my first permanent job. It also gives you a lot of stories (I am still sorry I once took the wrong person from the ward for their operation and got them all worked up for nothing…) and back in 2008, compared to positions my friends had, it paid a lot better than retail, hospitality etc. which was particularly helpful in funding the travelling I did after university.
Want to know more?
About admin banks: NHS Barts health have an administration bank from time to time they advertise a rolling job advert on: www.jobs.nhs.uk
About how to put transferable skills on your CV: Please book an appointment using our website: www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/book/.