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‘Step out of your comfort zone’, ‘take risks’ and ‘never forget why you joined the NHS’, inspiring advice at our careers conference

The success of our careers conference continued into day two as over 150 delegates gathered virtually to hear about how experienced NHS staff can excel in their careers.

Of those attending, 40 per cent had over 10 years’ experience in the NHS.

Our Chief Executive Tony Chambers shared some advice as he opened the conference: “There is a place for everyone in the NHS, no matter where you are in your career. Be optimistic and take control to shape your career, you have a part to play.

“I didn’t have a plan, and at 18 as a student nurse I never thought I would end up as a chief executive. What I did was take opportunities and risks.”

Keynote speakers on the day included:

  • Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer, NHS
  • Professor Dame Elizabeth Aninowu
  • Oluremi Odejinmi, consultant anaesthetist and Clinical Director of Strategy
  • Alan Wishart, interim Director of People and Organisational Development
  • Mike Bell, Chair of BHRUT
  • Michael Magbagbeola, Director of People, Newham
  • Prof Durka Dougall, Senior Consultant and Programme Lead, King’s Fund

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer, NHS, said: “My work in the future of healthcare has led me to find some themes. One of these is the future of our work and that we are shifting our psychological contract. We want more flexibility, more autonomy and more trust. Another theme is that we will have to work collaboratively. Bringing together expertise so that we can solve new challenges ahead quicker.

“For me improvement skills and really thinking about how we are continually going to make things better for the people we serve will be a key skill for careers in the NHS.  And remember to be agile and learn so you can adapt easily to change.

“Finally I would like to share my magic formula for development. This is the ‘70, 20, 10’ rule, which is backed up by research: 70 per cent of our development happens on the job: 20 per cent happens with mentoring/coaching support: and 10 per cent happens with formal training. So the take away from this formula is training courses can help your career by 10 per cent but 70 per cent of development happens as you work on the job. Each day reflect on what you did well at work and how you can be better the next day.”

Professor Dame Elizabeth Aninowu discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the work place. She said: “One of my passions is ensuring that staff know they have all the opportunities for career progression that they merit.”

Remi Odejinmi, consultant anaesthetist and Clinical Director of Strategy at our Trust, discussed how she decided to make changes to her professional qualifications after 20 years.  She chose to study an MBA and was the oldest in her cohort but that did not put off her off. She said: "Don't be afraid to try new things, if you fall over, get up and keep going. It is important to step out of your comfort zone, use your talents and not be constrained by a job title."

Prof Durka Dougall, Senior Consultant and Programme Lead at the King’s Fund, talked about how she has found that people who are supported excel in their careers. She discussed how the career maps we use are fantastic support system they are clear and easy to follow. She said: “Never forget the reason why joined the NHS. Really look at your own skills. You are incredible, it just takes you to see it.”

Over two days everyone had the opportunity to learn, share experience and network and there were many exciting stories shared by staff.

As well as the many presentations and debates, the conference ended with a song from Mike Dixie – singing his version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. 

As well as staff from our own Trust, colleagues from other organisations included:

  • Barts Health
  • Croydon Health Care Trust
  • Epson and St Helier Hospitals
  • Guys and St Thomas
  • Hampshire Hospital NHS
  • Lewisham and Greenwich NHS
  • Nottingham NHS Trust
  • North Middlesex Hospital 
  • Oxford Hospital
  • Royal Free
  • UCLH.

Read what happened at day one of careers conference here.

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