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Portfolio careers for NHS staff

Next week I’m attending an NHS conference on portfolio careers, so that’s why I’ve chosen to write about this subject.

Portfolio career definition:

A portfolio career is where you choose to work in a range of different roles, using different skills, and it can often include doing pro bono or voluntary work.

So how easy is it to start a portfolio career?

A starting point for many would be to find a part time job, that will give you some security, whilst you fit in another type of work around this. NHS Jobs is a good place to begin and by searching for ‘part time’ along with the type of work you want, this brings up the results of jobs that are either advertising part time roles or are willing to accept part time applications.

For some, you might be able to think about finding work you can do on top of your full time role. This might be the case, especially if you are working three 12 hour shifts per week. If you have the spare time, you might want to do something different with the rest of your week – so it could be a chance to try out a portfolio career.

For doctors in training who want to work part time, you’d need to put in a request via your local HEE office/deanery to see you can work less than full time.

So what kind of work could you do?

Alternatives are:

  • setting up your own private practice
  • ad hoc work, either via the NHS or through a private business. For example, you may be able to ask whether your Trust has any project work that you might be able to do on a freelance basis
  • running your own business (it could be something completely unrelated to your own role)
  • going down an academic route, so maintaining a clinical career alongside this

The rewards:

These include:

  • variety
  • chance to learn new skills
  • opportunity to meet a greater range of people
  • ability, to some extent, to choose your own hours
  • a way to combine several interests

Other factors to consider:

  • less security if you are working part time (also this will affect your pension)
  • you’ll need to be organised and plan what you’re doing
  • you’ll have to be flexible in order to balance your various roles, especially if working to deadlines
  • you may need to network a lot, especially if you are running your own business

I hope you’ve found this blog useful. Next week, I’ll post any useful advice about portfolio careers that I find out at next week’s NHS conference on portfolio careers. Post me a comment before Tuesday, if there’s anything you specifically would like me to ask about.

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