Career advice

Show you have the right attitudes for the job

Employers today ask for more than relevant skills and experience: they also want to know about the values of potential recruits.
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Employers today ask for more than relevant skills and experience: they also want to know about the values of potential recruits

The 2013 Francis report into the Mid Staffs care scandal called for 'changes in attitudes, culture, values and behaviour'. Since then, many NHS trusts have tried to ensure their staff values align to those of the organisation and reflect the NHS Constitution.

One way to do this is through a values based recruitment process. As well as showing that they have the relevant skills and experience for the post, job candidates are expected to demonstrate core values such as compassion, dignity, respect, honesty and teamwork. The aim is to ensure staff have the personal qualities necessary to deliver high quality patient-centred care.

Values

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Employers today ask for more than relevant skills and experience: they also want to know about the values of potential recruits


Candidates for NHS roles are expected to demonstrate core values such as
compassion, dignity and respect. Picture: Getty 

The 2013 Francis report into the Mid Staffs care scandal called for 'changes in attitudes, culture, values and behaviour'. Since then, many NHS trusts have tried to ensure their staff values align to those of the organisation and reflect the NHS Constitution.

One way to do this is through a values based recruitment process. As well as showing that they have the relevant skills and experience for the post, job candidates are expected to demonstrate core values such as compassion, dignity, respect, honesty and teamwork. The aim is to ensure staff have the personal qualities necessary to deliver high quality patient-centred care.

Values and patient care

The decision to become a nurse may reflect inherent values such as kindness and compassion. It's easy to see how these can positively affect patient care, but other personal values may be less obvious and are often a result of your upbringing or early experiences.

As a nurse you have a duty to treat all patients and staff equally and as individuals. It is important that you not only recognise what your values are, but how they impact your actions and behaviours, particularly how you treat patients who display conflicting values.

You aren't expected to change your values or beliefs, but you do need to ensure that your practice is non-judgmental. For example, if you set a high value on honesty and respect for the law, how do you approach a patient who has committed a crime?

Preparing for a values-based interview

  • Research the organisation's values. Before an interview you will usually be sent a behavioural framework which links the organisation's values to behaviours that would and would not be expected of all staff. For example, under the value of compassion, what is expected may include treating others as you would expect to be treated, as well as caring and believing in what you do. Whereas what wouldn’t be expected may include being rude, abrupt or insensitive.
  • Think of situations where your practice displayed the positive behaviours outlined in the framework. It is also worth considering what you would do should you see another member of staff displaying negative behaviours.
  • Be ready for more probing questions. You will often be asked to give examples of how you behaved in past situations. For example, one of the organisational values could be integrity so you may be asked about a time where you had to address a difficult situation with a colleague. This could be followed with questions around why it was important to address the situation, what the outcome was, and how you felt afterwards.
  • Remember that the interview panel are looking for an insight into your personal values so, as well as describing the actions you took, try to explain how and why you approached the scenario, as well the impact this had on patient care, team morale.

Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and life/health coach

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