Whether you’re happy with the job you have, or are thinking about moving into a new work area, taking time to evaluate your career can help to create new, alternative perspectives for you and your career. Susan Hughes of the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line here explains how.
Undergoing regular self-evaluation can encourage you to continuously refresh and regenerate both your self-concept and your career ideas. It’s an ongoing process, but it needn’t be a chore - career management will allow you to take charge of your personal growth and direction.
A good place to start is by reflecting on your progress to date - what did you envisage for yourself when you started off in nursing? Have you strayed from that vision? Can you identify any key turning points in your career?What led to these developments, and what can you learn from your experiences? Taking stock of your career can galvanize your enthusiasm and bring you back in touch with what inspired you in the first place. It can also help you to appreciate just how far you’ve come.
Taking time to evaluate your progress to date can open up new horizons for action and allow you to see the bigger picture. Be prepared to alter your expectations of where you thought you’d be and what you visualised yourself doing.
It’s also useful to keep a written record of everything that’s happened in your career to date either in CV form or as a portfolio of skills.
It should include:
- key events and achievements;
- learning events - workshops, training courses, computer-based learning, reflective learning;
- any extra responsibilities you have taken on;
- the general and specific skills and interests you hold and plan to develop.
Secondment opportunities are a good way to try out potential career change options. Typing the keyword ‘secondment’ into NHS Jobs’ website will show you a range of opportunities, including those outside your current trust. Be open minded to the opportunities that exist. Again, it’s all about opportunity awareness and generating ideas.
Even if you’re quite content with the ‘let’s see what happens’ approach, it’s important to create the right balance between work and learning throughout your career. However, if you want to generate a degree of control in your future, you may need to plan ahead. Don’t be put off by the work involved in doing this.
Quite often, the more effort put in, the greater the rewards. But importantly, learn as much as you can and be prepared to continue to learn and train for the rest of your life.
Run by the Careers Advice Service and sponsored by NHS Careers and Skills for Health, the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line provides information to support people working in healthcare. The friendly, trained career coaches can also give you constructive feedback on your CV and help assess your skills.
For a free, confidential discussion about your career, call freephone 08000 150 850 from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.