I prepared for the interview and followed your advice. At the interview I spoke about my dismissal and showed them my reflection referring to NMC code of conduct. I also showed them the NMC outcome letter. They were very impressed with my honesty and I kept highlighting my clinical experience and practice. I'd like to share my happiness with you and tell you that they offered me the job... Thank you so very much for your support, advice and encouragement.
If you’ve been subject to an investigation, sanction or referral, you may feel concerned about how this will impact on your career, or worry it will stop you from gaining future employment.
Unless it has been specified otherwise by an official body/organisation (e.g. NMC, DBS, Home Office, etc) then there is nothing to stop you applying for jobs within healthcare. The important thing is that you are upfront and honest with any future employer about what happened.
Applying for jobs in these circumstances is undoubtedly more challenging than usual, but not impossible. On the contrary, many healthcare professionals are able to find new jobs and move forward with their careers following a successful disclosure.
Some employers might feel nervous about hiring a person who’s been investigated, sanctioned or referred to the NMC, so it's possible you might get turned down for roles when you disclose what happened. Try not to be disheartened and be prepared to keep trying.
Investigations, sanctions and NMC referrals can be a stressful and potentially devastating ordeal, which can easily cause loss of confidence in clinical abilities, impact on self-esteem and affect emotional wellbeing.
It’s important to put your emotional health first and deal with any negative emotions before you move on. This will ensure you’re in the right frame of mind when you’re going for jobs and that your prospective employer will see the best of you. It will also mean you'll be giving off the right vibes when attending interviews or recruitment days.
You may find it helpful to talk things through with someone like a counsellor. If you're an RCN member, you can access free telephone counselling as part of your membership.
Other possible sources of support include:
It’s possible that you were investigated, sanctioned or referred to the NMC, but weren’t dismissed by your employer. Often, resigning in order to move on elsewhere and start afresh can seem like an attractive prospect, but you should consider carefully whether or not it's in your interest to stay where you are in the interim.
Remaining in your current job might mean you can:
Prospective employers will be more willing to hire a candidate if they can get a picture of how the candidate has acted since any incident, e.g. what measures have been taken, whether there has been any repetition, any positive feedback or evidence of improvement, etc.
If you are still in the middle of an ongoing investigation, disciplinary or NMC referral, you should be aware that resigning from your job will not counteract or stop this, and you would still have to disclose the details of any incident to a prospective employer when you next go for a job. Finding employment in these circumstances can prove more difficult, as most employers will want to know the outcome of your case before deciding whether to employ you.
If you do decide you want to leave your employer following an incident, try not to resign without having another job to go to, and an unconditional offer of employment.
If you are being supported by the RCN with your case, you should always talk things through with your RCN rep or officer before making any decisions. If you don't have a rep, you can contact RCN Direct for advice.
When making a disclosure, follow these tips:
Be concise about the incident you're disclosing. Some candidates end up giving lots of detail and information about all the various factors involved in the incident, either because they're nervous, because they're trying to be upfront, or because they're emotional. This approach is seldom successful. Instead, give a succinct account and stick to the facts, placing the emphasis on what you've learnt and what you've done since the incident.
You should also try to avoid being negative about your previous employer or blaming others, even if you have good reason to do so. For example, if you believe poor systems contributed to you making mistakes, outline the facts about the systems in place without passing judgement, and state what you would do if you were in this situation again. This approach will demonstrate professionalism, insight and reflection.
Although you may feel nervous about raising these issues, remember that most employers are seeking candidates who can demonstrate honesty, openness and integrity. The majority of employers use Values Based Recruitment and will be assessing candidates to check that they have these qualities. A recruitment panel will usually respect you for taking the difficult step of talking about your situation and showing how you are trying to move forward with your career.
Some application forms will ask you directly if you have been dismissed, investigated, sanctioned or referred to the NMC/DBS, etc. You must answer honestly.
If you don’t disclose something when you’ve been directly asked to do so, this can lead to withdrawal of a job offer. If you’re a nurse or midwife, you will also be considered in breach of the NMC Code for being dishonest, and may be subsequently be referred to the NMC.
If the application doesn’t directly ask for this information, you can choose to:
Remember, your application should ultimately be about how you have the skills and qualities to do the job, so put the focus on this rather than focusing on the incident.
You may prefer to disclose an incident at the interview stage. You could do this at the start of the interview to get it out of the way. Alternatively you may feel you want to bring it up at the end of the interview after you’ve had time to make an impression. It will be a matter of personal preference and judgment.
Practice what you’re going to say and rehearse it several times. If you’d like interview coaching or help with interview techniques, including how to present a disclosure, you can book an appointment with an RCN Careers Coach by calling RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100.
Remember, the interview should be a chance to show how you have the skills and experience required to do the job, rather than focusing on the incident.
If a nurse or midwife is referred to the NMC, the NMC might decide to put a ‘conditions of practice order’ in place. This order will specify circumstances or restrictions under which a nurse or midwife can practice.
Each case is different, but common examples of conditions include:
If you have conditions of practice in place, there is nothing to stop you from applying for healthcare jobs but you’ll have to be up front and honest with any employer. In addition, the employer would need to be made aware of any support or measures needed to satisfy the conditions.
As the NMC states, “It is inevitable that conditions may have the effect of making it more difficult to obtain employment, but this does not mean that the conditions are unworkable.”
It's possible for nurses or midwives to work within non registered healthcare roles such as Healthcare Assistant, Clinical Support Worker or Assistant Practitioner. If you’re finding it impossible to gain employment because of your disclosure, working in a non-registered healthcare role may be a good stepping stone in the short term as it could enable you to:
When applying for support roles, you’ll still need to be honest with employers about anything that's previously happened, and should also consider the following:
If you are concerned about information which you know will be disclosed in a reference, again we advise you to follow the guidance above.
If you think your reference is unfair, false or inaccurate, you may wish to challenge it. For advice about this and your legal rights, please see the RCN's online advice about references.
If you're applying for jobs following an investigation, disciplinary, dismissal or NMC referral, the RCN Careers Service can:
To make an appointment, please call RCN Direct
You'll also be able to access Member Support Services such as Counselling, Welfare, and Peer Support.