Career advice

Looking for a fresh career challenge? Come to our virtual job fairs

The first RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair of 2021 is coming soon – so register now

Picture: iStock

When 2020 was designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, little did we know it would also be the year of a global pandemic.

COVID-19 made 2020 an incredibly difficult year, with thousands of people losing their lives to the virus, including many nurses and other healthcare staff.

Vaccines bring hope amid immense strain

As we start a new year, the coronavirus vaccines provide some hope for a better 2021. But as infection rates continue to rise, with hospitals in England now dealing with more COVID-19 patients than during the April 2020 peak of the first wave, nurses are still under immense strain.

If there is one positive to come out of this crisis, it’s that the public now have a better understanding of what nurses do and more appreciation for all your hard work. Nursing has been put firmly in the spotlight, revealing what a highly skilled and safety-critical profession it is, and what a diverse range of career opportunities it offers.

Pandemic has made many nurses reconsider their career plans

Latest data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service provide some good news for the future of the profession. The figures, published last December, show record numbers of nursing students were accepted on to university courses in 2020; there was a 24% rise in intake for UK nursing programmes compared with 2019.

‘Our virtual events offer just as many career opportunities as our live fairs’

But for many nurses, their experiences in the pandemic have prompted them to rethink their career plans. Of the 1,850 NHS staff who responded to a Nursing Standard survey in August 2020, only half said they were happy in their current role, with 27% saying they were considering or actively seeking a different role in nursing.

Has your COVID-19 experience encouraged you to look for a new role? Perhaps you were redeployed to critical care and are interested in working there permanently. Maybe you want expert advice on how to develop your career and maintain your health and well-being, during the pandemic and beyond.

If so, the RCNi Nursing and Careers Jobs Fairs are for you.

What to expect from our virtual careers and jobs fairs

  • Meet employers and interact with them on the day using online chat by text, audio or video
  • Upload your CV for potential interviews with NHS trusts, private healthcare organisations, the armed forces, care homes and nursing agencies
  • Gain continuing professional development (CPD) hours and a certificate by attending the online and on-demand virtual seminars, available for 30 days after each event
  • Take up live Q&A opportunities with the speakers at the end of each seminar – see the seminar programme at the end of this article for details
  • Download a virtual goody bag of exhibitor information that you can email to yourself at the end of the show
  • Network with and chat to other delegates in a virtual lounge

Virtual events packed with opportunities to meet employers and clock up CPD hours

Although the pandemic meant cancelling most of our live events in 2020, our free careers and jobs fairs went ahead as virtual events. We are continuing to hold the events virtually in 2021, starting with the London fair on 12 January.

‘So don’t forget to upload your CV before the day so you can share it with prospective employers’

Our virtual events offer just as many career opportunities as our live fairs; you can still meet healthcare employers from across the UK who will be looking to recruit staff, gain valuable continuing professional development (CPD) hours at the online seminars, and network with other delegates.

Job vacancies in acute care, children’s nursing and mental health

In the virtual exhibition hall, 16 top nursing and healthcare employers will be waiting to meet you, each with their own chatroom so you can interact with staff from these organisations. Some will be offering interviews on the day. One such employer is King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is looking for band 5 nurses, including newly qualified nurses, in areas including critical care, oncology and sexual health, and band 6 nurses in critical care outreach, cardiac and discharge co-ordination.

Don’t forget to upload your CV before the day so you can share it with prospective employers.

If you are interested in working with children with serious or terminal conditions, Demelza Hospice Care for Children is looking for a lead nurse, clinical governance and quality, as well as band 5 and 6 nurses. East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust hopes to recruit band 5 nurses in paediatrics, ophthalmology and critical care, and there are band 6 vacancies in children’s community nursing, the children’s emergency department and oncology research.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put nursing staff under intense emotional strain and taken a significant toll on the mental health of the nation. If you want to explore a career in mental health nursing, staff from the Priory Group, which has hospitals and well-being centres across the UK, will be on hand to discuss the vacancies available.

Varied programme of CPD-accredited nurse careers seminars

Our virtual CPD-accredited seminars, which will be available to watch as soon as the event goes live and for up to 30 days afterwards, cover a wide range of topics, from how to prepare for and succeed at job interviews, to careers in general practice nursing and how to get the most out of working as an agency nurse.

We will also be joined by RCN Nurse of the Year 2020 Ana Waddington, who will talk about her award-winning initiative YourStance, a volunteer organisation supporting young people affected by knife crime.

All of our speakers will be online at the end of each seminar to answer any questions, and once you’ve watched a seminar, you can download your CPD certificate from your ‘swag bag’ – a virtual goody bag you can use to view and download free documents and publications.

Seminar programme at a glance

  • Panel discussion Chaired by RCNi career development editor Clare Lomas
  • Interviews: prepare and succeed Julie Watkins, careers adviser, RCN careers service
  • Applying for jobs: your supporting statement Ruth Jones, careers coordinator, RCN careers service
  • Introduction to the RCN professional and trade union offer Nichola Ashby, RCN head of learning and practice development
  • Careers in general practice nursing Ellen Nicholson, RCN general practice nursing forum chair
  • Street outreach for people experiencing homelessness Rosa Ungpakorn, advanced nurse practitioner, Homeless Health Service, Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  • A toolkit for agency nurses Fiona Millington, chief nurse at Florence, an online platform that connects nurses and carers directly to employers

Panel discussions will tackle topics affecting your nursing career now

Panel speaker Nichole McIntosh of Health Education England

Live panel discussions – a popular fixture of our jobs fairs – are returning for 2021, starting with the London event. The panel talks focus on the issues currently affecting the nursing profession, from recruitment and retention to how to raise concerns and manage your own health and well-being in the middle of a pandemic.

I will be chairing the talk, which will be held from noon-1pm, and will be joined by Health Education England’s London region head of nursing and midwifery Nichole McIntosh.

Ms McIntosh has held many senior positions during her 20 years in the NHS, including assistant director of nursing, head of nursing and matron. She will be on hand to answer all your questions, which you can submit live during the discussion. Please do join us if you can – all you need is a device and an internet connection.

At RCNi, we fully understand the pressures nurses are under as COVID-19 cases surge, and we are here to support you. Do join us on 12 January for our first Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair of 2021, and if you need support with your mental health, please visit our online well-being centre where you will find tips and techniques to care for yourself during this most challenging of times.

Coming soon in 2021: more RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fairs

Find out more and register for our events

  • North West Virtual 12 February
  • Midlands Virtual 15 April
  • South Virtual 19 May

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