Work placements and transitioning into an NHS career: A Step into Health blog

Steve Crisp

By Steve Crisp, Leadership & Management Development Manager, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Steve served in the Army for 37 years, joining as a soldier and being promoted through the ranks before being commissioned as an Officer. His final post was as a Lieutenant Colonel at the Royal School of Artillery before taking up a new role in the NHS. Here he shares his experience of transitioning from the Armed Forces to the NHS and how undertaking a work placement helped him with that transition.

I became aware of the Step into Health programme through a presentation delivered by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust at an employment symposium for veterans and those going through resettlement. The trust’s presentation really stood out to me and included the offer of a work placement.

I had already experienced first-hand what a brilliant and empathetic service the NHS delivers. This, along with the variety of career opportunities, attracted me to the NHS as an employer. It felt not too dissimilar to the way that defence delivers its own business.

I spoke with the ambassador for Step into Health at the trust who set everything up. They made sure the programme fitted my needs and were in daily contact making sure everything was in place and if any further support was required.

During my four-week work placement I moved between GP surgeries, clinical environments, community care and local authorities. I witnessed compassionate leadership and a ‘patients first’ ethos. The passion, empathy and dedication within the workforce was second to none. I was warmly welcomed in every area. Those supporting me were genuinely interested in me and what I could offer, while delivering supportive career advice within their own area of business.

I knew on completion of my work placement that I wanted to work in the NHS and I successfully applied for a role in leadership and management development.

My role is highly rewarding and involves planning and delivering several apprenticeship programmes, through classroom-based training and offering mentoring and coaching support to our learners. This is helping to deliver a culture change with our leaders engaging with collective and compassionate leadership skills and behaviours.

The skills that I developed in the military have supported me in the delivery of my NHS role, skills such as: leadership, communication, project management, building relationships and understanding the bigger picture. Each skill does have to be adapted to blend into a very diverse culture, nonetheless they are all compatible.

I would highly recommend completing a work placement - a reflection from an individual who after 37 years’ service had no initial awareness of what sector I wanted to engage with for the next stage of my career. This opportunity led to a successful and highly rewarding role.

I would recommend without reservation, if you wish to seek a new and rewarding career within an organisation that cares for both its customers and workforce - take the opportunity to complete a Step into Health work placement, and explore all areas that are on offer. There are opportunities within the NHS that you may never have considered.

Find out more about the Step into Health programme and read more blogs and experiences in our website section.


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