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Thinking About Your Career

Career development and planning is a lifelong process that is influenced by many things, some of which are personal and some of which involve your employer.

Personal Choice

Explore the Career Profiles and Real Life Stories from NI’s Nursing and Midwifery workforce to identify jobs of interest to help you think about your career choices.

Our lives outside work are varied and we have to make different choices at different stages in our lives. Examples of choices that can affect your career development and planning include:


  • Where you live and work.
  • What area of practice you prefer.
  • Home and family commitments.
  • The need to achieve a work/life balance when childcare or other  commitments have to be fitted in.
  • Whether to remain in clinical practice or follow an interest in other directions.
  • Whether to apply for that next job or stay where you are.
  • Whether to work full-time or part-time.

Your choice of career direction can also be influenced by personal choice and your personality. To find out more about yourself, complete a Self-Assessment to learn about your personality and the type of career that may be suited to you.

Self Assessment Tools

Welcome to the link to Self Assessment Tools created to help you learn more about your self, and how your personality may influence your  career development and planning.

There are many self assessment tools available on the internet which you can explore for yourself. Some are web-sites where  you can take the assessments online. Others are publications that you can read online or print off. Please note that there may be a  fee to pay before taking the online assessments.

If you decide to complete any of the tools, you may wish to record the results in the Evidence Log within your online portfolio, or reflect on  what you learn about yourself using Reflect Now

Nurse of the year

To help you, a few web-site links are available below, however there are many more.


Self Assessment Tools

Ability and Competence


Your ability and competence can influence your career planning.


  • What skills do you need to do your current job well?
  • What parts of your job are you good at, or give you the most job satisfaction?

To identify your strengths, complete an assessment using the Competence Assessment Tools.  You can use this information to explore career opportunities that allow you to make best use of your skills and competencies.

Career Opportunities


The career opportunities available to you are influenced by a number of factors, such as:


  • Where you live and work, and the type of health and social care services that are provided in your locality.
  • The skills you have or need to do your current job well.
  • Learning through new experiences e.g. projects, secondments or acting-up.
  • Promotion.

Explore the Career Profiles and Real Life Stories of local Nurses and Midwives to identify jobs of interest to help you think about your career choices.

Service Needs

There is a close link between service needs and career opportunities which should be geared towards providing safe, effective and person-centred services for patients and clients. Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland are ever-changing and many new career opportunities may appear for Nurses and Midwives over the next few years.


You may want to think about how health and social care services are going to be delivered in your area in the future, and how you can develop your career to be ready for this change.

The education and training requirements of the nursing and midwifery workforce to meet the needs of the population in Northern Ireland are currently managed through the DHSSPS Education Commissioning process on an annual basis.

Click here for more information about how the DHSSPS Education Commissioning process can support you.

Employer Support


There is a close link between employer support and career enhancement opportunities. Employers can help by:


  • Creating opportunities for you to be more involved in decisions that affect your practice or your working life.
  • Creating opportunities for new experiences through projects or acting-up.

The literature on career planning highlights the leadership styles of senior managers as having a major influence on the level of employer support experienced.

Discuss opportunities with your line manager and senior Nurses or Midwives within your organisation.

“One of the most significant career milestones was my decision to undertake further academic studies and specifically my PhD study. During this time I learnt not only about my subject area but also about the importance of research and development for nursing practice. This led me to my current role as a Professor in Nursing at Ulster University. Overall I would describe my career pathway as exciting and worthwhile and I would have no hesitation in recommending nursing as a career for others."

Sonja McIlfatrick, UU Professor in Nursing
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