Frequently asked questions - career planning
Why does HWNZ require trainees to have career plans?
From 1 April 2012 HWNZ requires that all trainees that it funds, have career plans in place. This is aimed at ensuring that the training has a clear purpose and will provide benefit to the trainee and the wider health sector as well as value for money for the New Zealand tax-payer.
Career planning has proven benefits for individual health professionals in mapping and developing their careers and enables DHBs and other employers to plan their workforce more effectively.
What will be expected of DHBs and organisations?
DHBs and organisations are expected to:
- Provide access to robust career planning processes and guidance.
- Support the trainee in both the process of choosing a career and pursuing that decision.
- Facilitate the opportunity for appropriate experience and support to the trainee.
- Provide advisors and mentors to give quality advice and guidance.
This process is specific to an individual who must be free to develop their career design over time and change their minds as their situation changes. Documentation around career design therefore is the trainee’s information. DHBs need however to understand individuals’ intentions to effectively provide support and assistance in achieving the desired career pathway.
Will career plans be required for graduates in their first year?
For graduates in their first year, HWNZ wants to be assured that they have access to career planning process and guidance, and that career plans are developed during that first year. Relevant groups are junior doctor Post Graduate Year 1, and trainees on the Nursing Entry to Practice and Midwifery First Year of Practice programmes, and the Pharmacy Intern year.
HWNZ is requiring career planning for HWNZ funded trainees. What about everyone else?
HWNZ will require that career plans are in place for those whose training it funds. However, we believe that it is good practice for every employee to have a career plan agreed with their employer.
Can career planning be merged with other processes, and is a standard approach required?
Yes, the aim of the scheme is to build on processes that are already in place, if appropriately reconfigured. Career planning can be merged with other processes such as supervisory processes, professional development planning and with development of objectives identified in a performance review.
HWNZ will not be prescriptive about the approach to career planning used in individual organisations as long as robust career planning processes, guidance and guiding principles’ expectations for career plans are met.
Will HWNZ provide funding for career planning?
HWNZ expects career planning to be introduced within existing training allocations. We see the introduction of career planning as business as usual - necessary to ensure effective spend of HWNZ training monies, to help meet health provider needs (having the right people in the right place at the right time) and to meet the needs of trainees by supporting them in achieving their longer term goals.
While those who receive HWNZ funding are responsible for ensuring that career plans are in place, most of the work on career planning will and should be done by trainees themselves.
Career planning may be important for people at the beginning of their careers, but why is it necessary for older people or those who are already highly specialised?
Career planning has benefits for older health professionals who have experience and skills to contribute in a variety of ways and may be looking for fresh challenges – including extension into non clinical roles such as management, supervision, or teaching.
Why plan the end of your career?
Good end of career planning can assist older health professionals and ensure they know how and when they want to end their career, whether they first wish to reduce their work hours, whether they could work in different ways, whether they want to work in different roles and how they prepare for these possible changes.
It can help health professionals decide if they are ready for full retirement and to ensure they have the financial security to be able to retire, have other interests to replace the intellectual simulation of work, and have other social interactions to replace those linked to work.
Studies show retirement rates are a key determinant of workforce supply and good end of career plans can help health professionals to adapt to and ease into retirement.
What about people who don’t want to progress further?
Career planning will be individualised and tailored to particular points in a career path as well as to personal skills and aspirations. Career planning does not have to mean a requirement to undertake further training or to seek role progression. A career plan might identify how a job may be made more interesting, what “keeping up to date” activities an individual might benefit from, or how they can be more satisfied or more productive in their job.
Who will hold career planning discussions with trainees?
This will vary, depending on what supervisory or other arrangements apply to the particular professional or occupational group at that stage in the trainee/employee’s career. In many situations, it will be a manager but in other cases, a senior clinician or educational supervisor or mentor will take the lead. As required, a trainee may have additional discussions with someone else such as a career advisor, coach, mentor, experienced professional or someone else. Whoever takes the lead, senior clinicians will usually be involved, though the extent of that involvement will depend on the professional or occupational group and/or stage of career.
How often will career plans be reviewed?
We expect that career plans should be reviewed at least annually. Progress on career plans should be reviewed on an as required basis e.g. if the action plan specifies that certain things are to happen within a specified period, then progress should be reviewed at the end of that period.
What if trainees haven’t made up their mind and/or change their mind?
Trainees who need to make a decision on a specialty may not have made up their mind when they first do their career plan. If so, the career plan will set out who needs to do what to help them make a decision.
Trainees may well record a decision in their career plan, but later change their mind. If so, the existing plan of action may no longer be appropriate – in fact, it might be a waste of training or other resources. A change of mind should trigger a review of the career plan, so that the action plan is appropriate.
What role do professional bodies and colleges have in career planning?
Where HWNZ pays training funding to professional bodies or colleges, they have a direct responsibility to provide career planning processes and guidance and to ensure that career plans are in place.
Where professional bodies or colleges specify training paths and/or guidelines for placements etc for particular specialties, those training paths and guidelines may largely or partly determine the career plan.
HWNZ has asked professional bodies or colleges to incorporate the need/desirability of career planning processes and guidance into their accreditations and reporting processes.
Who owns the career plan?
The trainee owns the career plan. Trainees, however, often move between employers and professional bodies and others will have an interest in some of the information in a career plan. This means that it will be desirable to have arrangements for transfer of relevant career information. Because a career plan and supporting information may contain personal and confidential information, any such transfer will require the trainee's consent.
Updated April 2013