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Career Support

A significant number of doctors who require additional professional support need to rethink their career pathway or specialty choice. For some, recognition that they may not be suited to the specialty may be the prime or only factor leading to their seeking support; for others it arises from a complex array of circumstances.

Career support is offered by the PSU to all those released from a training programme, any individuals whose career dilemma has not been possible to be addressed by their educational supervisor (level 1) and others involved at level 2 (College Tutor, DME, TPD, HoS) including the locality career lead.  Anyone for whom the nature of their involvement with PSU requires them to review their choice of specialty or career pathway is also eligible.

The aim is to support individuals into finding a more suitable role within their existing specialty or moving into an alternative specialty. For many it is just a question of fine-tuning, perhaps an adjustment to their working pattern or context, for others it means finding a specialty or role that is a better fit for them. Many of these individuals have suffered a knock to their confidence and self- esteem - particularly if the reason for referral is failure to progress in their training and potential release from a programme. The focus is in part to help them appreciate that every individual has things they are good at and/or enjoy and things they feel less comfortable with; that usually it is just a question of finding a career path that is a better fit for them. Medicine is diverse, offering areas to accommodate most preferences and fulfil most aspirations. Occasionally, however, individuals are supported into a role outside medicine. If a career outside medicine becomes a necessity or is the preferred choice, it is important to realise how highly regarded a medical degree is in other fields, especially when the individual also has some subsequent experience of working in clinical practice. Many of the skills needed to be selected into and progress through medical school and to function as a doctor - team working, good interpersonal skills, high academic achievement, working under pressure, time management and prioritisation, to name just a few - are areas which other industries look for in their recruits. Most doctors take these for granted but all usually have lots of these!

The approach taken is a coaching one, intended to support the individual in making the best choice or choices for them with supportive challenge and a focus on future possibilities, ensuring a clear development plan is made at each meeting. This is supplemented with information and signposting to help them make their decision. Various techniques and frameworks are used to help increase the individual's self-awareness, occasionally using personality preference approaches, such as MBTI, and encouraging the individual to reflect on their values, skills and attributes, and preferred lifestyle and work context. The input is based on a well-recognised 4-stage approach to career guidance: encouraging self-awareness, providing information, and supporting decision making and planning.

It is useful for all those considering their career choices to use the information and tips on the website and to consider some of the factors contributing to their career choice using the framework developed by Medical Forum which is available on the PSU website.

The career support sessions are confidential; the individual prepares a summary/proposed development or action plan at the end of each meeting which, with their agreement, is shared with the Case Manager and others as appropriate.

Most individuals complete their sessions having gained greater confidence and awareness of their own abilities and increased self-awareness and clarity over their future career pathway.

Hilary Boddington

Recently retired from General practice after 30 years in a City Practice with a longstanding commitment to education from medical students to GP Trainees.  She currently works as a Macmillan GP alongside the Wessex Cancer Network.

In 2001 as Honorary Consultant in Education Hilary established and developed the Careers Service in The Education Unit at UHS and worked closely with the Wessex Deanery on Careers.  She has training in Coaching and the use of a variety of career tools and a lifelong interest in what makes us tick.  Her experience in the Health Service and as a GP also provide a wealth of experience of the needs of individuals and the variety of careers available.


Referral Pathway

If a Case Manager wishes to refer a trainee for career support, an email should be sent to Tonia at requesting referral; attaching a copy of the previously completed Form C. They should copy in the trainee, as it is important that the individual is encouraged to take ownership as it sets the tone for the support that follows.  A Form D should be completed on CPPS for funding approval.

Initially, 1-3 sessions are provided, and for most trainees this will be sufficient to clarify their future pathway. Very occasionally more sessions are required and may be provided at the discretion of the PSU leads.

Following the Career Support sessions Hilary will send an e-mail to the Case Manager to confirm that the meeting has taken place, together with a copy of the summary or career plan prepared by the trainee.


For further information, please refer to the Careers Exploration Document (pdf)


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