For many, the new year brings thoughts of ways to introduce a little more happiness into our lives. 

Research has shown that we’re more fulfilled when we’re working in jobs that align with our values and priorities. But what does that mean? And can it help you feel happier at work? 

Yes, it can. Your values and priorities can be linked to the environment you work in or the scope of your role. Are you most drawn to roles where you can spend time with patients, do you like having autonomy, or perhaps opportunity for progression is what motivates you?

We’re more fulfilled when we’re working in jobs that align with our values and priorities

By looking for roles that suit your values, you’re more likely to be happy in your job. And for many of us, that’s where we spend a big proportion of our lives, so the impact of a change can extend beyond our working hours. 

Reassessing your work-life balance might be a priority too. For some this might mean being able to work part time, moving to working core hours, working flexibly, working from home, or being able to spend more time with family. 

The days have long gone when nursing staff only worked in health care environments, although it has taken a pandemic to make many employers even consider that some nursing staff can work remotely. The opportunities are there now and if this is right for you, don’t be afraid to embrace a new way of working. 

Not everyone needs to make a drastic change, of course. You might be happy in your current role and it’s just your working pattern that needs adjusting. If this is your situation, consider reviewing your contracted hours and working pattern by submitting a flexible working application, or ask for reasonable adjustments or redeployment.  

Don’t be afraid to embrace a new way of working

Don’t forget that if you’re considering a break from nursing and you’re registered with the NMC, this may have an impact on your registration, revalidation requirements and staff benefits. Get in touch with the RCN if you need more advice on this. Whatever your reason for considering a change, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Your health, your lifestyle, family or personal commitments are all valid reasons for wanting to do something different and be happier in 2022.  

Want to become a home worker?

Do some research and enquire within your professional networks to identify employers or industries that tend to offer remote or agile working and sign up for job alerts with them. Home working may be more possible or negotiable in office-based roles too. The NHS jobs website offers an "agile/home working" filter under the working pattern sub filter. Use a search engine to search lots of different job vacancy websites at once, using terms such as "nurse"+“home based”, "nurse"+“home working” or "nurse"+“remote working”. 

Fancy moving out of the clinical environment? 

Requests for flexible or part-time working can be more feasible in an office environment than in a clinical setting, depending on the employer and nature of the business. You could consider training, eHealth, telehealth or digital roles, among others. 

Need more control over your hours? 

The NHS jobs website offers filters such as "flexible working", "compressed hours", "term-time hours", and "annualised hours", under the parent filter "working pattern". A lot of the big job search websites have these types of filters too. 

Want more regular hours? 

Consider nursing roles that are usually carried out in core hours. This might include a dialysis nurse, health visitor, school nurse, travel nurse or a nurse in a commissioning role. (Take a look at other examples on the RCN website). You can also look for roles within services or departments that are more likely to operate within core hours, such as day wards, outpatients. discharge planning or occupational health. 

Considering bank or agency work? 

Both have their pros and cons depending on each individual and their circumstances, so make sure you weigh up your options and do your research before leaving a contracted or permanent role. 

Need part-time hours? 

Even if a role is advertised as full time, you could contact the hiring manager to discuss and negotiate. The NHS jobs website, like many other job search sites, offers a "part-time" or "job share" filter under the parent filter "working pattern".  

Would career coaching help? 

If you think you could benefit from career coaching, it's important to do your own research first and have some ideas to bring to your session. Get details on how to book a free one-to-one telephone appointment with an RCN careers coach. If health considerations are driving your desire for change, take a look at our advice.

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