Portfolio Careers for Health Professionals 

The following web pages have been specifically designed to inform multi professional health clinicians of the variety and sources of both clinical and non-clinical portfolio opportunities available to them


What is a portfolio career?

Portfolio careers are usually built around a collection of skills and interests, though the only consistent theme is one of career self-management. With a portfolio career you no longer have one job, one employer, but multiple jobs and employers within one or more professions.

Developing a portfolio career as a health care professional is becoming more popular for a variety of reasons


What could be the benefits of a portfolio career?

Some do it seeking a better work/life balance. Some do it for the variety and use of multiple skill sets. Some do it for the autonomy so that they -- rather than the NHS control their fate. Some do it to gain freedom from trust/organisation agendas and politics. Some do it to follow multiple passions or for personal growth and fulfilment. Some do it for the pace and constant change. And some do it as a second career after retiring early from full-time employment, seeking new challenges and greater fulfilment.

The emerging importance of greater flexibility in staff work patterns and interests, and the benefits gained in terms of innovation, development, contentment and retention has been recognised has also been acknowledged and recognised in the NHS Long Term Plan

But establishing and managing a portfolio career is not easy for many. Deciding on the types of jobs to seek, finding employers willing to hire, balancing competing demands for time, and managing the effort are key drawbacks mentioned. There's also the loss of benefits, possible drop in earnings, higher levels of uncertainty, lack of a regular routine, and feelings of isolation to consider.

What to consider in terms of developing a portfolio career?

It is important to consider both your reasons for wanting to develop a more portfolio based rather than linear career and identify what goals you hope to meet by following this career plan. What needs and priorities do you wiish to meet that your career currently is not offering you? What type of weekly schedule do you hope to accommodate by developing a portfolio career? What new skills/experience may you need to acquire and what could be the potential costs of this? What do you need to clarify about options and who in your network can help you with this? To enable and support clinicians with their career planning the Careers Unit team have developed the following model:

The SCAN Career Planning Model 

This career planning model specifically designed for health professionals sets out a 4-stage structure for your career planning:

  • Self Awareness supports you in considering what is important to you in your career
  • Career Exploration lets you consider resources and strategy needed to inform the decisions you are making, 
  • Arriving at your decision allows you to weigh up the options 
  • Next Steps helps you plan the actions you need to take to submit a good application to specialty or other post foundation option.  

An explanation of each of the four stages and supporting exercises can be found at this link: Career Planning Exercises


Clinical Portfolio options

Carers that link in or support clinical specialism - either within or external to trust based work (e.g. general or speciality specific education & training , research or project management opportunities)

Non-clinical options linked to Medicine, Dentistry or other clinical specialism

Careers that utilise a broader skillset linked to Medicine or other clinical specialism in some way (e.g. journalism,  medico-legal, pharma, mgt consultancy etc.)

Non-Clinical options – Various

Careers that utilise a broader non-clinical skillset or interest (e.g. writing, yoga teaching, IT software development etc.)