We all work for many decades, and often spend more time with work colleagues than friends or family. Careers are a huge part of our lives. For me, great careers need two key aspects. They need to be successful, and they need to be satisfying. The two often go hand in hand, but not always.

In the past, our careers were stable with a clear ladder to climb, but the nature of the healthcare business and society is now always changing and unpredictable. Gallup polls survey all workers in general, consistently finding that two thirds of employees are actively disengaged. Healthcare studies find that a third of hospital doctors, 46% of General Practitioners, and 42% of nurses are affected by or at risk of burnout. Over the last few decades there has been a big societal shift away from working for money to seeing work as a calling with a purpose, yet the 2019 NHS staff survey found that under half of staff were satisfied with the extent to which their work was valued.

Framework for a successful and satisfying career

Here is one framework that can be used to develop a career that is successful and satisfying:


Choose the career that is right for you, as well as the right training path, sector and organisation. A key aspect of this is knowing yourself, your values and strengths.


Manage your career, set direction, professional development plan, and regular reviews. Learn throughout with a growth mindset. Change and adapt as life around you changes. Have a vision for where you want your career to take you. Remember that your career is just one aspect of your life, and needs to be managed in the context of what else matters to you in your life.


Develop the technical expertise needed, and also develop the non-technical / soft skills / emotional intelligence / leadership needed to succeed. Commit, persevere, and plan how you will deliver your satisfying and successful career.