Working as a healthcare professional can be rewarding, but what if you fancy taking your career in another direction? Maybe you’d like more regular working hours or you’re just looking for a new and exciting challenge? The good news is that there are alternative careers for nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and paramedics to pursue.
One route to consider is that of a Personal Independent Payment (PIP) assessor. Also known as clinical assessors, PIP assessors conduct consultations with benefit claimants and prepare detailed clinical assessments; these assessments are then passed on to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
What skills are required?
PIP assessor jobs are tailor-made for health professionals who want to retain and use their care skills whilst working regular hours in an office environment.
Advanced written and verbal communication skills are vital, as is an ability to multi-task and take control of any assessment. Interpersonal skills are also important, as well as the capacity to produce concise reports and work autonomously in a fast-paced environment.
What are the benefits of becoming a PIP assessor?
From regular working hours to being able to maintain your clinical skills, PIP assessor jobs boast a wide range of benefits. The role even offers a handsome salary.
These are just a few of the benefits that appealed to Laura and Lauren, drawing them to the roles of Training & Development Manager and Clinical Assessor respectively.
“I was attracted to the role when my mother had an assessment,” explains Laura. “She told me the staff were lovely and that it was a very pleasant environment, one in which I should aim to work. I thought it would be out of reach for many years due to the pay grade, but one of my friends entered the profession and highly recommended it to me.
“I have loved working as a clinical assessor as you meet so many different people. You also have a very supportive team and the role is thoroughly enjoyable. The hours are fantastic and I feel I have more of a life outside of work, which I didn’t feel I had in previous jobs. You also get to leave work at work.
“The teamwork, atmosphere and targets drive me every day and I actually look forward to coming to work and seeing my work family.”
Lauren, who operates from our Redcar office, is similarly impressed with her role as a clinical assessor. “Initially, I was attracted to the job for the hours, wages and ample holidays, but I soon grew to love the role so much more than I ever expected. I enjoy speaking to and learning about people. There are so many positives.
“I enjoy knowing that I am writing medical reports that are going to help people who need support through personal independent payments. I have stayed in the job long-term as I love my team and the hours. Overall, the role is very enjoyable.”
Life as a PIP assessor
To get a greater insight into the role of a PIP assessor, we spoke to members of our highly valued Clinical Assessor team; Charlotte and Philippa are both general nurses and Max is a mental health nurse. They reveal more about their day to day duties, the challenges they face and what they love most about their roles.
What is your role within Medacs Healthcare's Clinical Assessor team?
Charlotte: “I’ve been seconded by the Atos PIP contract to Medacs Healthcare in a clinical delivery management role.”
Philippa: “I’m a clinical assessor/mentor.”
Max: “My role in Medacs Healthcare is as a clinical assessor.”
How long have you been with the business?
Charlotte: “I have been with the business for five-and-a-half months.”
Philippa: “Four years.”
Max: “I’ve been with the business four years, now.”
What are your main responsibilities as a PIP assessor?
Charlotte: “Overall, I’m responsible for the performance of the PIP contact for Medacs Healthcare in terms of compliance, consistency and quality, as per the guidance of DWP, whilst striving to achieve the best possible customer experience.
“My duties also extend to leading the Clinical Support Leads (CSL). This ensures Medacs Healthcare delivers a service that enables the achievement of contractual service level agreements in relation to quality.”
Philippa: “I carry our fair and objective assessments, providing an excellent experience for claimants. I also support my colleagues where possible and mentor new staff.”
Max: “My main responsibilities are to assess people’s level of function, to see if they meet the entitlement for PIP benefit. This involves doing a thorough assessment in terms of a person’s mental, physical and/or cognitive health.”
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Charlotte: “The Medacs Healthcare PIP team has been so welcoming. They made me feel very much part of the team straight away. So much so that I have agreed to a 12-month secondment when I was originally seconded for just six months.
"Also, it's been great to travel around to the different sites across the North East and Yorkshire, getting to know the different teams, their challenges and what makes them tick. I have experienced some great joint working across the clinical and operational teams that has allowed us to develop strategies to meet new challenges. It’s great to see that, already, these strategies are starting to take shape.”
Philippa: “Using the skills I've learnt. Good work/life balance. Having face-to-face contact with people from different backgrounds.
I also enjoy the wide range of conditions there are to assess, which helps improve my knowledge of conditions. Working with fantastic and supportive colleagues is good, too. I always feel supported.”
Max: “I enjoy the variety of the job. You are constantly learning and having to adapt. And it’s always nice to meet new people”
What challenges do you face in your role?
Charlotte: “To ensure that Medacs Healthcare delivers a service that enables the achievement of contractual service level agreements (SLAs) in relation to quality without compromising SLAs in relation to clearances. It’s a fine balancing act.”
Philippa: “The role can be time-pressured, particularly in complex cases, and I occasionally encounter some challenging claimants.”
Max: “The role can be testing and have constraints, while some of the people I encounter can be challenging due to perceptions portrayed in the media. This can lead to some individuals being a little confrontational or standoff-ish.”
What would you say to someone who is considering a position as a clinical assessor?
Charlotte: “It’s a great opportunity to diversify your work experience whilst continuing to use and develop your clinical skill set. If you’re moving from shift work, this line of employment offers a great work-life balance.”
Philippa: “The role offers a good work-life balance. Office hours; 9 ‘til 5, and it’s well paid. I also feel really well-supported by the company when it comes to training and there are plenty of progression opportunities.”
Max: “I would say that the role is varied, but it’s very different from nursing. It requires a different mindset and set of skills, such as computer skills and an ability to work under pressure.”
What three words best describe your role?
Charlotte: “Diverse. Interesting. Rewarding."
Philippa: “Rewarding. Challenging. Diverse.”
Max: “Varied. Challenging. Rewarding.”