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What is the Career Planning Guide?

The Career Planning Guide is a collection of information and tools designed to help you enhance your career. You will find information on:

  • The factors that influence your career.
  • How to identify your current skills and strengths.
  • The career profiles of local registrants.
  • Applying for a new job.

Why Should I Use the Career Planning Guide?

The Career Planning Guide will help you think about the factors that affect your career. You will be able to identify your strengths and interests using the Competence Assessment Tools and explore the Career Profiles of nurses and midwives working in jobs that may interest you.

How will the Career Planning Guide Benefit Me?

The Career Planning Guide will help you develop and plan your career in a more structured way. You will find tools to help you decide what you want from your career and information to help you make the decisions that are right for you.

The decision making framework below may help you think about what you want from your career.

Where have you been?

  • What is your previous work experience?
  • What core skills have you developed?

Where are you now?

  • What is your current job?
  • Are you happy in this job?
  • What skills have you learned while in this job?

career planning process

Where would you like to be?

  • What are your career options?
  • Would you like to stay in your current job?
  • Would you like to try for promotion?
  • Where can you make a difference?
  • What potential do others see in you?
  • Would you like to change the direction of your career?

How will you get there ?

  • If your choice is to stay in your current job, what development do you need to help you do your job well?
  • If your choice is to seek promotion or a change in career direction, what skills would you need to help you make this change?

To help you think about your direction, The Career Planning Guide has a section Thinking About Your Career covering such issues as the personal choices you make, your ability and competence, career opportunities available to you and how the needs of the service and the support given to you by your employer can influence these.

Application & Interview Resource

When a job you are really interested in comes up you want to be as well prepared as possible. Unfortunately, many registrants are disappointed because they have not completed their application forms properly or prepared adequately for interview. Within the Application and Interview Resource, you can find advice and guidance on how to complete an application form properly, and how to prepare for that all-important interview. You will also find information on Assessment Centres and presentations, which can be part of the recruitment process for more senior jobs.

Many of us would admit that we learn a lot when preparing for an interview. Unfortunately, much of this learning is lost because we do not record it. Nor do we ask for feedback from the interview panel to find out how we could have improved our performance. Within the Application and Interview Resource, you will find a guide on how to complete a reflection after your interview and seek feedback from a member of the interview panel.

Career Profiles

Career Profiles can help you identify career directions and jobs that interest you. There are so many different career options and opportunities within the Nursing and Midwifery professions.

This section highlights the career profiles of Nurses and Midwives working in the HSC in Northern Ireland.

The job/role title, pay band/grade, summary, enjoyable and challenging aspects of the job/role and qualifications experience and skills required are identified.

You can explore the Career Profiles of local Nurses and Midwives, selecting from career directions, areas of practice and settings, to identify those which may be of interest to you.

The Career Profiles help to demonstrate how you can transfer between career directions using your core nursing and midwifery skills. The career profiles also demonstrate that there are many ways to help you prepare for the job you want.


Career Directions that you have to choose from include:

  • Clinical Practice.
  • Public Health.
  • Quality Improvement.
  • Research.
  • Education Management.
  • Commissioning.
  • Policy/Strategy Development.

Areas of Practice that you can choose from largely reflect the sections of the NMC Register and the main disciplines in nursing and midwifery.

  • Adult Nursing.
  • Children's Nursing.
  • Mental Health Nursing.
  • Learning Disability Nursing.
  • Midwifery.
  • Public Health Nursing.

Settings that you can choose from include:

  • Hospital Care.
  • Community/Primary Care.
  • Independent/Voluntary Sector.
  • Education Provider.
  • Commissioning.
  • Regional Public or Professional Body.

Apart from a short while as a district staff nurse, and intensive care nursing, the remainder of my career has been in cancer nursing, as a ward sister, nurse manager, lead cancer nurse and eventually cancer nurse director with the Northern Ireland Cancer Network. After a long nursing career in cancer services, I left the health service in 2013 to work in the independent sector, in a post that was about supporting those involved in cancer service development across the UK. My current job title is Macmillan Special Adviser for System Redesign.

Liz Henderson, OBE, MSc, FRCN, RN
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