Making career decisions
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Making Career Decisions. Learning outcomes. You will: Understand a range of career factors which can help inform your choices after Foundation training Know how to evaluate specialty preferences and options in a systematic way Have access to a range of decision-making tools and resources

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Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes

You will:

  • Understand a range of career factors which can help inform your choices after Foundation training

  • Know how to evaluate specialty preferences and options in a systematic way

  • Have access to a range of decision-making tools and resources

  • Be able to use and interpret competition ratio data realistically

  • Be able to “scenario plan” for the range of decisions and choices which typically occur as part of specialty training application

  • Understand the importance of contingency plans

Deanery careers ltft team
Deanery Careers/LTFT Team

  • Dr Melanie Jones

    Associate Dean and Careers/LTFT Lead

  • Sally Blake

    Career Development Adviser

    [email protected]

  • E Guidance link from

Career support for trainees

Who provides support ?

Career Support for Trainees



Your career at its simplest
Your career at its simplest…

  • Go to Medical School

  • Become a Junior Doctor

  • Enter specialty training

  • Become a consultant

Interactive career map
InteractiveCareer map

From hot button on Deanery homepage

Main options after f2
Main Options after F2

  • Specialty Training programme

  • Integrated Academic Training (WCAT)

  • Specialty doctor

  • Time Out/Abroad

  • Research/teaching

  • Other use of medical training (law, finance, informatics, sales, health related)

Typical decision dilemmas
Typical decision dilemmas

Which round should I apply to? Should I wait/re-apply in Round 2?

Should I accept an offer if I don’t know where my posts will be?

Dual career issues

Am I prepared to move to pursue a specialty or stay and let Plan A go?

What is my 1st, 2nd, 3rd choice?

What is my Plan B?

Should I go abroad?

Do I still want to be a doctor?

Influences on career decisions
Influences on career decisions

  • Time - earlier decisions are now required!

  • Generation (Boomers, X and Y)

  • Choice left to individual – (UK norm)

  • Prior exposure to a speciality helps inform choice

  • Peer influence (what others think)

  • Role models

  • Positive and negative experiences (“horn and halo”)

  • Life style and work life balance

    You need to take an evidence-based approach!

Where should we be now
Where should we be now?

  • Self assessment

    Exploring career values, motivators, preferences, personal strengths, limitations

  • Career exploration

    Establishing options, alternatives and plan B’s, information gathering, networking, reality checking

  • Decision making (you are here!)

    Evaluating options, mapping skills and attributes against actual roles, considering options and preferences, clarifying personal factors, making choices

  • Plan implementation

    Applicant research, CV update and applications, preparing for assessments and interviews

Still exploring
Still exploring?

  • You can organise “tasters” in F2 to look at specialties you may consider or want to find out about

  • Go to national medical careers fairs (RCP, Mersey 15 September, BMJ London 19 – 20 October)

  • For diary of all UK Careers events

  • Talk to trainees – what did they choose, why?

Try sci59
Try SCI59

  • On line self assessment tool

  • Improves self awareness if questions considered

  • Gives 10 specialities most likely to enjoy

  • Gives 10 specialities which will be a challenge

  • Take it with a pinch of salt – hazard warning!!!

  • Free to BMA members via their website


Do some personal research
Do some personal research

  • Visit departments and talk to people

  • Have your questions ready

  • Have contact details to hand

  • “You’re the ideal person to ask about …”

  • “I’d really value your view on…”

  • “What’s it really like working as a ……?”

What do i need to know about particular specialties
What do I need to know about particular specialties?

  • Skills and competencies required

  • Experience needed

  • Pathways and progression

  • Competition ratios

  • Number and type of posts

  • Local and UK variation

  • Qualifications and training needed

  • Must be up to date information

Have you got what they want
Have you got what they want?

What I want What the specialty 1 wants 3

What I offer 2 What the specialty offers 4


  • Compare 2 Person Specifications

  • How do the first sections differ?

  • Look at common behavioural attributes e.g. Communication, Team work

  • How do they differ?

Competition ratios a word of warning
Competition ratios – a word of warning!

  • Medical students and doctors like evidence-based approaches

  • Numbers look an attractive way of planning or justifying decisions

  • Posts are based on NHS service need; this changes from year to year

  • Everybody presents information differently (and usually not the whole story)

  • Using ratios to determine choice is like driving whilst looking in the rear view mirror

Case study radiology in wales 2009 10
Case study – Radiology in Wales 2009/10

224 applications for 7 posts

Competition ratio = 32:1

39 invited to interview = 5:1

15 attended = 2:1

3 appointable candidates, 4 posts to Round 2

2010 = 28 applicants put Wales first choice in national process (but 20 interviewed and 5 offers made)

Sources of information
Sources of Information

  • : on all specialty recruitment; look at person specifications and careers sections

  • : information on recruitment rounds and procedures

  • : for specialty information including workforce projections

  • : for outlines of specialities, pay

  • : details of UK and other job vacancies, career advice, FAQ

    Careers in Wales

  • : for info on specialty training rounds in Wales

  • all vacancies in Wales

  • : for video clips on specialty training in Wales

Gold guide
Gold Guide

  • Everything about speciality training

  • Flexible training/LTFT

  • Time out for research

  • Time out for approved clinical training or experience

  • Career breaks

  • Inter deanery transfers

  • Time out for other good reasons


Reality checks
Reality checks:

Even with your talent and aspiration remember that:

  • The NHS will train the workforce it requires, not create the posts you want

  • Not everyone gets their first choice

  • Think in terms of “choosing some specialties” not just “choosing a specialty”

  • There will be changes, transitions and bottlenecks to navigate from hereon in

  • Learn to live with risk and uncertainty

Action plan
Action Plan

  • Weigh up all your circumstances

  • Prioritise your options and preferences

  • Think of a Plan B (and C)

  • Carry out detailed research

  • Build experience via Tasters / audit / teaching

  • Get portfolio in shape (Dops, Mini CEX etc)

  • Bookmark and browse your key information sites

  • Update your CV

  • Think about your interview skills