As a clinical manager, you might be the head of your own department, leading your own professional teams, or head up a multidisciplinary team where doctors, nurses and therapists work together in a specific area such as maternity or the NHS 111 service.
As a clinical manager, you could be:
- setting priorities
- planning for future development
- balancing budgets
- ensuring value for money and quality in the services provided for patients
- responsible for clinical governance and clinical audit – programmes aimed at improving health services to patients.work in clinical audit or clinical governance
- closely involved in any changes to services for patients
Roles in clinical management
The following are examples of roles in clinical management. They are a guide - so you'll need to check any job vacancy you're considering to see exactly what the role involves and the requirements for the post.
- Clinical audit manager
- Clinical governance manager
- Clinical governance manager/assistant lead nurse
- Head of clinical governance and risk management
- Integrated urgent care/NHS 111 clinical adviser and senior clinical adviser
Most likely working in a hospital, you'll have responsibility for managing a team that ensures the efficient and effective development and delivery of clinical audit and effectiveness across the district.
This sort of post requires a minimum of three years' NHS experience in a clinical audit, clinical governance or related clinical effectiveness role, with an ability to plan and co-ordinate the work of others as well as the ability to develop staff and enhance their performance.
You'll need a detailed knowledge and understanding of clinical governance and clinical audit and their application, along with the ability to interpret and implement changes resulting from national and local initiatives.
You'll need to be able to develop clinical governance across the NHS trust, covering radiology, pharmacy, therapies, private patients, outpatients, pathology and the chaplaincy.
You'll be responsible for developing a system that places clinical quality at the heart of all healthcare delivery by working closely with head of clinical governance, the clinical director for clinical governance and the directorate team of clinicians and managers.
You will need to be an enthusiastic nurse with senior management experience. Significant involvement in the clinical governance agenda and a willingness to work flexibly as part of a range of multidisciplinary teams will be crucial.
You will be responsible for clinical governance delivery within local delivery teams, for a range of governance development initiatives. You'll also support the lead nurse in delivery of the professional nursing agenda.
You might be based at a hospital NHS trust that employs around 5,000 staff and you'll be responsible for developing and delivering the infrastructure to support the trust's clinical governance and risk management agenda.
You will need a thorough understanding of the principles of clinical governance, risk management, complaints and controls assurance to effectively manage the process. It would demand excellent communication, leadership and influencing skills, to work effectively with a diverse range of contacts, including professional bodies and managers.
A university degree in relevant disciplines and/or relevant professional qualifications might be needed as well as proven skills in successfully leading change management programmes. Evidence of implementing national policy at local level and experience with developing strategy to underpin corporate directions would also be important.
You might work in an NHS trust or as part of a clinical commissioning group (CCG).
Clinical advisers and senior clinical advisers working in integrated urgent care/NHS 111 services manage urgent and non-urgent calls from patients, members of the public and healthcare professionals, such as GPs, nurses and pharmacists.
As a registered healthcare practitioner, you'll use your professional and medical judgement to assess callers, either over the phone, or face to face. Assisted by a clinical decision support system, you'll make appropriate referrals and give health advice to enable patients to manage their symptoms at home.
Clinical advisers and senior clinical advisers are part of an integrated multidisciplinary urgent care team and work with clinical and non-clinical staff, including nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, pharmacists and dentists.
NHS 111 clinical advisers work with a considerable degree of autonomy and use research findings to enhance and underpin their area of practice.
Senior clinical advisers are responsible for the supervision, teaching, mentoring and preceptorship of other staff which may include students, other clinicians and non-clinical colleagues. Senior clinical advisers provide clinical leadership and make sure that performance and quality objectives are achieved through best practice, risk management and performance indicators.
Visit the NHS England website for further details about a career and leadership development in integrated urgent care/NHS 111.
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Pay and conditions
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Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers.
In the NHS, your career in clinical management would typically start at Agenda for Change band 6 or 7, with some positions at band 5, and the most senior roles rising to band 9 for, for example, a professional manager for a clinical service.
NHS staff will usually work a standard 37.5 hours per week. They may work a shift pattern.
Roles in integrated urgent care/the NHS 111 service are aligned to Skills for Health qualification levels. A clinical adviser will work at level 5 and a senior clinical adviser at level 6. NHS 111 clinical advisers and senior clinical advisers work agreed hours per week. This may include working on a shift pattern basis covering evenings, nights, early starts, weekends and bank holidays.
Terms and conditions of service can vary for employers outside the NHS.
Where the role can lead
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In clinical management, you could progress to more senior positions, with a variety of responsibilities at operational or strategic level. For example, many NHS trusts have a medical director and a director of nursing, or other senior clinical management roles.
Integrated urgent care/NHS 111 services are changing and moving towards providing a single point of access for patients to urgent care. To deliver these plans, a multi-skilled workforce is needed and there are many roles available at Skills for Health levels 2 to 9. NHS 111 clinical advisers and senior clinical advisers can progress to become an advanced clinical practitioner, a clinical consultant or a clinical director with post-registration training and experience.
Job market and vacancies
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When you’re looking for job vacancies, there are a number of sources you can use, depending on the type of work you’re seeking.
Check vacancies carefully to be sure you can meet the requirements of the person specification before applying and to find out what the application process is. You may need to apply online or send a CV for example.
Key sources relevant to vacancies in the health sector:
- vacancies in organisations delivering NHS healthcare, including NHS 111, can be found on the NHS Jobs website
- opportunities in the Civil Service can be found on the Civil Service Jobs website
- vacancies in local government can be found on the Local Government Jobs website and the Jobs Go Public website
As well as these sources, you may find suitable vacancies in the health sector by contacting local employers directly, searching in local newspapers and by using the Universal Jobmatch tool.
Volunteering is an excellent way of gaining experience (especially if you don’t have enough for a specific paid job you’re interested in) and also seeing whether you’re suited to a particular type of work. It’s also a great way to boost your confidence and you can give something back to the community.
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