We recently talked to a health professional who has enjoyed a vast and varied career. Starting out as a nurse and later moving into management, there’s little they haven’t experienced in their 35-year career.
But it was making the move to Independent Assessment Services that produced the most recent change in their working circumstances and daily routine.
Here we find out about the changes and challenges their new role has brought, and why they are glad they decided to make a change.
Previous Role: NHS Nurse in various hospitals in London
Current Role: Disability Assessor carrying out functional assessments of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) cases on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
Background and career so far
- I came to Europe from Iran in 1976, to continue my education in England
- In 1981, I started training to be a nurse in London
- I followed this up with midwifery training
- Since I arrived in the UK, I’ve worked as a midwife, I’ve worked with HIV and AIDS patients, I’ve worked in palliative care and I’ve also cared for the elderly
- I’ve always loved nursing. I suppose I’m a people person, but as a Health Professional I also get a great sense of satisfaction from meeting patient needs, whether it’s in a clinical or non-clinical setting where my experience is being used in a completely new way
Why were you thinking about making a change?
I’d been in nursing in the NHS for a while and I suppose I was considering what else might be out there. Weekend and shift working can certainly take its toll. I was beginning to look at jobs that would allow me to balance my life out a little more. But I also wanted to continue to use the nursing skills I’d developed.
What did you expect before you moved to Independent Assessment Services?
I knew I’d be assessing the functional impact on people’s health conditions and disabilities, and I knew it was going to be a role that would add to my existing clinical learning and nursing portfolio. I suppose I also knew it would be challenging and hard work, but in a good way. I always say if you’re not growing, you’re standing still!
What surprised you?
How friendly everyone was. And how committed everyone is to doing a good job, from reception teams to Health Professionals, Clinical Support Leads and Managers.
Details of the role
- I carry out face-to-face consultations within the community or from a consultation centre. Using a PC or laptop, I type notes during the consultation which I then formalise into a detailed report which goes to DWP
- I analyse and interpret clinical information and medical evidence, using this material to write a concise report to a professional standard – this report is then used as the basis for DWP to make decisions on whether a person does or does not get PIP
- I work to productivity and quality standards agreed with DWP, dealing positively with any feedback received
- I liaise with medical teams involved with a person’s care when necessary e.g. GPs, CPNs, Specialist Nurses, Social Care teams
- I also undertake ad hoc responsibilities related to service delivery or performance management
What to expect in the role of a Disability Analyst
The clinical side is very good
People depend on us to be accurate and fair. I get a kick out of getting it right for people, because it also means I’m getting it right for myself too.
You can keep up your learning
Keeping up your qualifications is both expected and encouraged. You get study leave and your professional fees are covered by Independent Assessment Services too.
You’ll be saying goodbye to your old colleagues, but the team spirit is just as good
I thought I’d miss working in the NHS, but I love the atmosphere here too. It’s acknowledged that this is a different environment, so your team really make sure you’re settled in. Everyone is coming at the job – whatever they do – from the same place, working as a team and all helping one another to be at our best. We all get a real buzz from constantly improving and reaching our day to day and professional goals.
It’s an environment of excellence
Independent Assessment Services have a vision: to deliver fair and accurate assessments 100% of the time. It’s all about delivering consistently high quality standards. So as you’d expect, everything we do is to a standard, and we all help one another reach that standard.
You’ll be pushed but it’s rewarding
It’s key that you maintain your focus, making sure you look at all the information to hand, and ask all the questions you need to – in order to create a high quality, accurate report. As you get used to the systems it becomes easier, and the processes that are in place really help you with your job. It may take some time to get your head around everything but there’s always someone on hand to help and support you.
There is life after weekend working!
I love having weekends off and enjoy the 9-5:30 style of working while still using my nursing skills. It means I can make plans for my weekends and evenings and they won’t be side-lined by work. And of course if you do choose to work extra hours, the extra pay is great.
Do you have any advice for someone considering a career with Independent Assessment Services?
Just take a look and see it it’s for you, and get to know your local team. It’s a demanding job, but so are most jobs that are worthwhile! And it’s rewarding. You can make a real difference for people, using your clinical expertise in a more objective way.
Independent Assessment Services know people learn differently, so it’s good to know that there are various techniques available to suit your style of learning. The company’s focus is to equip you to be confident and successful in your role.
If you’re a qualified nurse, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or paramedic looking to improve your work/life balance, take a look at the roles greenbean by NRG currently has available to join Independent Assessment Services across the North East and Yorkshire.