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Have you taken the time to plan your career?

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Nursing Times editor, Jenni Middleton, shares advice for job seekers:

Take the time to plan how and where you want to spend your nursing career

Where you started your career is not necessarily where you have to end up – a nursing qualification makes you portable

As a nurse, you will be eminently employable so don’t underestimate your value to a new employer

Make sure you set aside regular time to think about your goals

Get yourself a mentor to share your thoughts and bounce ideas off of

Don’t be afraid to go back to education to get more qualifications to move you in the direction you want to go

Ask any director of nursing what their biggest challenge is right now, they will invariably reply: recruitment. They just can’t get enough nurses to provide the high-quality care their patients need.

Overseas nurses, many from the EU, have been propping up an ailing NHS and healthcare sector for years because we have failed to train enough nurses of our own.

“But since Brexit, there is understandable uncertainty around the future of this workforce source”

But since Brexit, there is understandable uncertainty around the future of this workforce source – will they be allowed to work here, and will they want to? Add to that the agency caps and a growing demand for nurses without a growing supply, and you can see why nursing directors are so desperate to find new nursing expertise to fill their wards, units or care homes.

All of this means trusts and other healthcare providers are pretty desperate to find skilled nurses. And that’s why we started the Nursing Times Careers Live events just over a year ago. We knew that employers needed new ways to connect with nursing talent. And we knew that if we could do what Nursing Times does best, providing excellent career development sessions for delegates, we could attract high-calibre nurses eager to hear from experts and also to learn about the opportunities offered by different employers.

One year on our fifth event takes place in London tomorrow.

Having been involved in five of our Careers Live events I can see some trends emerging from the delegates who attend.

“It strikes me as fairly typical that nurses would make the effort to attend to learn about a new responsibility”

They are all passionate about their patients. They all want a chance to share that passion – with other nurses. Many come and tell me that they came mainly for one session – usually the one on revalidation – but stayed because so many of the speakers inspired them and advised on how these nurses can gain new skills, increase their confidence in the workplace, gain a promotion, develop the self-belief to return to education, and map out their careers.

It strikes me as fairly typical that nurses would make the effort to attend to learn about a new responsibility – revalidation, rather than to benefit themselves by enhancing their careers. Many of them tell me that feels self-indulgent; they are too busy simply getting their jobs done that they don’t imagine they deserve a day out to explore what they want from their careers.

“Peter Carter tells delegates that nursing is a passport to take them wherever they want to be”

Well, it is time for nurses to be self-indulgent.

I’ve chaired sessions at all our events, and some of the speakers’ presentations provide such an unexpected opportunity to share concerns, anxieties, frustrations and desires that they almost feel like group therapy.

Former chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing Peter Carter has spoken at a number of these events – always to rooms packed to capacity. He tells delegates that nursing is a passport to take them wherever they want to be – so if they started in hospitals, they can move into the community or academia, policy or research.

“My own top-line advice to you is this: understand just how valuable you are”

He also urges them to get a mentor. And that’s a great piece of advice. Of course no one but you is going to map out your career or find you your dream job. But having someone with whom to share your thoughts and aspirations is an essential part of that mapping process. Everyone needs a guide.

My own top-line advice to you is this: understand just how valuable you are. Nurses are in demand right now and you can shop around and see what’s out there that’s right for you. Don’t you owe it to yourself to do just that?

I also urge you to carve out some regular time to think about what you want from your career and plan how you’ll get there.

Where better to start than by attending Nursing Times Careers Live in London tomorrow? I look forward to meeting many of you there.

 

Nursing Times Careers Live takes place tomorrow (12 November), 10am to 4pm at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel in London.

It’s free to attend, there’s a free lunch and three chances to win £250 of Love2Shop vouchers.

Register for free today at https://live.nursingtimes.net

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