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A guide to career development within the NHS
Life-long career development can lead to personal growth and empowerment, helping you to achieve your goals and see an increase in personal success and happiness – but what does the NHS offer to guarantee career development?
Career development starts from the very moment we start school. We learn, educate and grow – and at each stage we test our success. The same applies to our jobs, we learn both formally and informally through courses, qualifications, training and networking. For those who work for the NHS however, there are an infinite number of development opportunities and methodologies to support the development of health workers’ careers.
The NHS as a system
The NHS is a multi-disciplined institution; all professionals employed by the NHS are completely dependent on the work of their allied colleagues in order to do their own job successfully – all with the mission to provide high-quality patient care and improve lives.
This is why, regardless of what area of medicine or nursing you practice, the finances you’re responsible for or deciding what’s on the hospital menu – you’ll have a clear career pathway set from the outset. This can be viewed on the ‘NHS Career Framework’, a clear, visual chart to support and motivate NHS professionals to progress onto the next step of the career ladder.
NHS Agenda for Change
A second prominent way to see career progression is set out in the ‘Agenda for Change’(AfC), a framework to cover the national pay system for the entire NHS bar doctors, dentists and senior managers.
The AfC was introduced to support the notion of a better work-life balance by offering the boundary of a standard 37.5-hour working week and ‘equal pay for work of equal value’. The AfC supports career progression based on the application of knowledge, skills and personal development reviews to support employees’ career aspirations and help them not only get up to the next pay band, but also the next stage of their career.
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Not only do the NHS have specific, outlined frameworks to support their staff to grow and prosper but contractually and on an annual basis, you’ll be required to participate within an appraisal; a facilitated self-review to ensure quality, consistency, improvement and development.
When it comes to your appraisal, it’s important to go prepared in order to get the maximum results from your meeting; prepare your achievements, give feedback, discuss new practices, set your goals, ask what support is available to help you meet your goals and ongoing career development.
The NHS and Flexibility
Although the NHS provides a clear structural guide to becoming the most senior within your area of practice, it’s also an institution that offers plenty of flexibility. With healthcare constantly changing, a creative, flexible yet resilient flair to your work will help you set unique goals, creating new roles and continuously upskilling yourself.
The NHS is an organisation with advanced knowledge, technology and highly specialised skills – which is why a similar personality type will thrive, helping you get to positions you may never have considered.