Working In Healthcare

what is health + social care all about?

Roles within health and social care carry a purpose; to help and support people in times of need. This sector can provide you with so much. It’s incredibly rewarding and offers huge opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Jobs and careers in this field are as varied as aspects of our health is. Social care is about supporting people to maintain their independence, dignity and control. This includes providing personal and practical support to help people live their lives. Health care roles involve all aspects of our health from mental, physical, community and public health.

Roles can be carried out in a variety of settings such as care homes, hospitals, clinics, health centres, peoples homes, schools, prisons and various others.

Roles in Health and Social Care can be within the National Health Service as well as private. They offer long term, secure employment prospects.

Types of roles

entry level roles

The roles in this list often don’t require qualifications or ask for a minimum of GCSE’s or equivalent.

These roles are great for those who:

  • Are exploring careers
  • Wish to gain experience in the sector prior to applying for a professional role
  • Need part time work to support living whilst studying or pursuing another venture.
  • Are reaching retirement and wish to work in a role with purpose.

Activities worker
Hospital catering staff
Medical secretary
NHS 111 Roles
Patient transport drivers
Personal assistant
Pharmacy assistants
Support workers

Professional roles

These roles require a professional qualification and most will require entry onto a professional register or membership to a governing body.

Opportunities for professional growth are vast. Often professionals in this list will specialise in a particular area within their field. 

Professionals will work in a variety of work patterns with those covering emergency and inpatient care often working shifts including weekends and night shifts. Those in out patient roles often work weekdays but could still be working shifts.

Emergency medical technician
End of life coordinator
Estates manager
Lab technician
Life sciences professionals
Medical engineering
Occupational health specialist
Operating department professional
Practice manager
Public health
School nurse
Social worker
Specialist coordinators
Speech and language therapist
Welfare rights

senior roles

Roles in this list will nearly always require a professional qualification and vast experience within the field. 

Many clinicians progressing to senior roles have furthered their education and studied beyond the qualification required to enter the profession.

Associate Director of Paramedicine
Clinical Director
Consultant paramedic
Dental Surgeon
Department Leads
General Practitioner
Head of Emergency Care
Medical Director
Practice Partner
Service Management / Leadership

other roles within health + social care

Not forgetting all the roles within Health and Social Care that don’t deal directly with patients or patient care. 

Clinical Informatics
Health and Safety
Information Technology
Patient Administration
Project Management

skills required

General: Empathy, desire to support people, good work ethic, communication whether digital, written or interpersonal, positive attitude, flexibility, good time management, receptive attitude, a desire to learn and pursue self development.

Role specific skills: often acquired either whilst working or whilst training. For example a cleaner will need to be aware of COSHH regulations. A medical secretary will need to be proficient in desktop applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel. To become a midwife you cannot already have the professional skills to be a midwife but you could already possess skills in supporting and caring for people, and good time management. To become a specialist midwife you will need skills in a given area such as young parents or diabetes in pregnancy for example.

Transferable Skills: For most entry levels roles consider skills acquired in other roles such as in retail or hospitality. Skills such as using different methods of communication, IT skills, catering, attention to detail, time management and listening skills.

Experience Required

For entry level roles – no experience is usually required but sometimes seen as beneficial. For most entry level roles the employer will want to know how you can apply yourself to the role in question.

Having experience in an entry level role within the health sector will always be a positive addition on an application to a university degree course to become a health professional. They will also give you a good idea if this kind of role and responsibility is something you want to do prior to investing in 3 years plus of studying and training.

Potential To Work from Home / Flexibility

Most of the roles in health and social care will require you to be either mobile, in a hospital, general practice, health care facility, care home or a person’s home.

Roles that involve direct patient care will often involve shift work covering weekdays, weekends and nights.

Out patient roles will often be conducted during weekdays but some professionals cover a variety of work patterns including shifts.

Then there are community roles that will involve visiting patients in their homes or an alternative care setting or even in places such as prisons or schools.

Administration and office roles are often worked weekdays between 8am and 6pm. More employers in this sector are becoming open to flexible working such as flexi-time and condensed hours.


Most professional roles require person to person contact. However the people we care for in the NHS are diverse and this needs to be reflected in our health care providers. 

Roles within the laboratory, whilst still working in a team are often solitary in the large part. Hospital and healthcare settings are nearly always fully accessible. NHS Employers has been working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and NHS England to encourage trusts to migrate across to the new Disability Confident standard.   

The Disability Confident scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents that disabled people can bring to your workplace.

The first WDES annual report was published in April 2020 by NHS England and NHS Improvement and provides the first national review of the NHS workforce that relates to the workplace representation and career experiences of disabled staff.

So whilst this report did highlight the need for robust action it also provides research that shows a motivated, included and valued workforce helps to deliver high quality patient care, increased patient satisfaction and improved patient safety. The implementation of the WDES will enable NHS trusts and foundation trusts to better understand the experiences of their disabled staff. It will support positive change for existing employees, and enable a more inclusive environment for disabled people working in the NHS. Like the Workforce Race Equality Standard on which the WDES is in part modelled, it will also identify good practice and compare performance regionally and by type of trust.

Any conscientious person will be aware of their limitations but remember you are also an expert on your strengths and skills. Any employer who is worth investing your time in will listen to this and judge you on what you can do and how you can deliver high quality patient care.

opportunities in healthcare

You can find more information on roles in the NHS on the NHS careers page

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