Cardiff, Wales, July 7, 2022 -- Health care is a vital service in our society and it takes a special kind of person to dedicate their career to helping others. However, while health care professionals are busy looking after us all, it's important that there are people working behind the scenes to ensure they are well supported and represented.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is a trade union of nurses, midwives, health care support workers and nursing students in the UK. If you're looking for a rewarding new career then this could be the perfect opportunity to take the leap as the RCN is currently recruiting advisers to RCN Direct, its Cardiff Gate based contact centre.
The organisation believes its people are its greatest asset and the RCN was accredited with Investors in People Gold Standard between 2012 and 2021, so you can apply with confidence. We spoke with RCN employees to find out more about the available adviser roles and its range of employee perks.
What does an adviser role involve?
While the role can be highly demanding, as an adviser you’d be making a real difference to RCN members. Advisers are based in the RCN contact centre, however, employees are welcome to choose hybrid working, meaning they can spend between one and five days a week in the office to suit their schedule. All advisers are expected to work one weekend in four, however the centre works on a team rotation so advisers can predict which weekends they could be scheduled to work.
A normal day sees advisers working within a team of eight people as part of a much larger team of 40. They take calls, live chat and emails on a broad range of subjects, helping members to access the full range of RCN support and empowering them to understand their rights and responsibilities at work.
These queries could require an onward referral in situations where people need representation or specialist advice, however, less than 40 per cent of all calls are referred, meaning the RCN advisers resolve the majority of issues presented to them.
Unlike other contact centres, the RCN does not provide scripts for their advisers, giving them control and autonomy. This role would particularly suit those from a contact centre, trade union, HR, legal, employment relations, advisory, care or nursing background.
Applicants should be aware that the adviser role involves some evening (up to 8:30pm), weekend, and public holiday work, but because the RCN knows that work-life balance is important, the rota is published at least four weeks ahead.
Successful candidates will be provided with six weeks of initial supernumerary training, led by the centre’s dedicated Knowledge, Skills and Quality Coordinator (KSQ). Following this advisers join their team, where they have the support of a mentor and team manager, who work with the KSQ to provide ongoing support and development throughout their careers.
Am I the right fit for the job?
The RCN is looking for people with specific skills, but you don't necessarily need a university education to be a successful candidate. Instead, the organisation is looking for people who have insight and relevant life skills and experiences.
Those applying should ideally have knowledge of employment law, workplace relations and professional issues facing RCN members as well as the ability to build rapport quickly. The issues that advisers deal with can often be distressing, so candidates who can maintain personal resilience and demonstrate professionalism in challenging circumstances will be more successful.
The RCN is hoping to take on those who have worked in a fast-paced, team environment and those who have proven excellent customer service through strong verbal and written communication skills. You must be confident in communicating complex information clearly and have the ability to learn new systems quickly.
What can the RCN offer me?
We all know what we can offer as individuals, but when applying for a new job, it's useful to know what an organisation can offer you. With the RCN, you'll be pleased to hear of its range of benefits that can make all the difference when finding a good work-life balance.
Finding time to rest and recuperate can sometimes be difficult, but RCN advisers benefit from 39 days of annual leave (pro rata), including bank holidays, rising to 43 days with two years’ service. Plus they can save money on shopping and leisure activities via the popular employee perks package, RCNXtra.
Employees have praised the RCN's welcoming atmosphere and we spoke to Sally Ashman, Advice Centre Manager, who started with the RCN as an adviser in 1998 when the service was launched, to find out more.
"One of the things that people always comment on when they first start with us is how welcoming we are. And that comes out in our staff surveys as well - we rate really highly on peer relationships. I think that's because the advisers do hear some really harrowing things so they need that sort of emotional peer support, and it literally comes from everyone."
This support is extended into employees' home life. While advisers are expected to spend at least one day a week in the office, the RCN offers flexibility with this and allows staff members to work evenings and weekends from home if it suits them better. What's more, during the school holidays, employees are welcome to work 100% from home - giving them more control and flexibility.
While advisers often stay in the role for a long time, finding plenty of job satisfaction, many advisers have taken advantage of the development opportunities on offer and have gone on to be successful in a wide variety of departments across the RCN.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
About Royal College Of Nursing:
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is a union membership organisation with over 395,000 members in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1916, receiving its Royal Charter in 1928, Queen Elizabeth II is the patron. Most members are registered nurses but student nurses and healthcare assistants are also admitted.
Published: Friday, July 8, 2022
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