Fascinating article by Kim Thomas on the massive changes in work life and career options for nurses today. She makes the point that a few years ago, most nurses could expect to spend their working life in a hospital. These days, England’s 281,000 nurses work in a variety of roles. Many support chronically ill patients in their own home, or work in care homes, or provide urgent out-of-hours emergency services. Some are key members of multi-disciplinary rapid-response teams, providing intensive support to patients so that they don’t have to be admitted to hospital.

About 15,500 nurses work in GP practices, and, says Wendy Preston, head of nursing practice at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), many surgeries employ nurses in a senior role: “There are lots of really good examples of doctors’ surgeries that are run or led by nurses. The clinical lead might be a nurse, and they may have GPs working for them as part of their team.”

This new independence is rewarding. But there are also exciting opportunities for progression into advanced or specialist roles,  carrying out tasks previously performed by doctors, such as assessing and diagnosing patients, writing prescriptions and helping patients manage their medication. An advanced practitioner nurse, says Preston, “can open and close a case. They can be the first person a patient sees, and they can help them all the way through their journey.”

These roles require extra study, often to master’s level: nurses who specialise in areas such as cancer, diabetes or strokes, offer expert clinical knowledge, as well as care and emotional support to patients. Surgical care practitioners (SCPs) are able to carry out surgeries, such as facial skin-cancer excisions, without a consultant. Unlike other nursing roles in the surgical team, SCPs are involved with the patient from the moment they set foot in the hospital until the moment they go home.

Training requirements for these roles are being standardised, so nurses who qualify for advanced practitioner status will, while carrying out their nursing job, train for three to five years to develop expertise in four areas: clinical knowledge, education, research and leadership.

This breadth of training will make it easier for advanced practitioner nurses to pursue portfolio careers, says Preston, who, in addition to her RCN role, works as an advanced nurse practitioner at an out-of-hours GP service: “You might work in clinical practice as an advanced nurse practitioner in a hospital or a GP surgery, and then you might work at a university one or two days a week. Some people might have a policy role where they’re working with the local clinical commissioning group or within a trust to do workforce planning or quality.”

What I find fascinating about this is that even in a ‘traditional’ career like nursing, new forms of work are emerging and increasingly there is an attraction for some to engage in a portfolio career.

If you look at my blog in October 2016 I discuss how GP’s were being encouraged to think about a portfolio career.

So even in the most traditional of careers we are seeing the attraction for increasing numbers of a portfolio career.


My good friend Marianne Cantwell, the Free Range Human lady – wonderful book – contacted me recently as she was having lunch with her friend Dorie Clark in New York. (There are pluses to being a free range human!) She wanted me to know about Dorie’s new book which has been selling very well in the US and is available in the UK by the end of October. We all know that the world of work has changed, and we’re shifting toward an ever more entrepreneurial, self-reliant, work-from-wherever-you-are economy. That can be a liberating force, and many professionals dream of becoming independent, whether by starting their own businesses, becoming consultants or freelancers, or developing a portfolio career.

But there’s a major obstacle professionals face when they contemplate taking the leap: how to actually make money doing what they love. You may have incredible talent and novel ideas, but figuring out how to get started, building your reputation in a new realm, developing multiple revenue streams, and bringing in a steady flow of new clients can be a daunting prospect.

Dorie Clark, a successful entrepreneur and author, has done it all. And in Entrepreneurial You she provides a blueprint for professional independence, with insights and advice on building your brand, monetizing your expertise, and extending your reach and impact online. In short, engaging chapters she outlines the necessary elements and concrete tactics for entrepreneurial success. She shares the stories of entrepreneurs of all kinds–from consultants and coaches to podcasters, bloggers, and online marketers–who have generated six- and seven-figure incomes.

When Katie and I wrote our book on portfolio careers in 2009 even we could not have realised just how mainstream this would be in less than a decade later.


Portfolio Careers and Millennials

15 August 2017

Stephen Clarke, Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation has just produced a report that adresses this topic. It is fascinating as it blasts away at some of the stereotypes about millennials – those born in the 1980s and 1990s. This is the digital generation who supposedly are turned off the idea of a […]

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Portfolio Careers in Australia

8 August 2017

Fascinating article in the Herald Sun quoting research from Seek which found that  59 per cent of Australians regard flexible working arrangements as a top work perk. Flexibility is seen as a two-way relationship and employers are seeing flexibility as a key part of their value proposition to potential employees. The  Seek study revealed that […]

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Portfolio careers and the Taylor report?

12 July 2017

When Katie and I first wrote about portfolio careers most people had never heard of the expression including people who had one! Now it is ubiquitous and is a major topic when it comes to the changing nature of work and employment. The Middlesex University research that we quoted showed that the 60+ generation and […]

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What is my current portfolio career?

22 February 2017

I regularly get asked about my portfolio career and it does change quite a bit depending on when you ask! Some friends suggested that I describe my current collection rather than just writing in theory about it – so hear goes! This does sound just a bit egotistical but my good friend Professor John Hayes […]

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How to Work for Passion, Pleasure & Profit

6 February 2017

This is a new book written by my friend Steve Preston and just published on Amazon. I was delighted to be asked to write the foreward for it. It is always good to get a new perspective on a topic one has lived with and loved for many years. With this book Steve has brought […]

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Voluntary work and portfolio careers

5 January 2017

Most people that I know with a portfolio career have unpaid work as part of that portfolio. I certainly do. I have offered free mentoring to people for many years. I have chaired my local community association for 8 years and for the past 3 years I have been a trustee for Disability Sport Yorkshire. […]

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Creating your work life blend as a freelancer

22 December 2016

Katie and I continually wax on about the pluses of having a portfolio career which also means that for many of us we are also freelancers. I found this article in Management Today fascinating as it is written from the point of view of employers of freelancers. The author, Peter Johnston, gives many tips on […]

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“A portfolio career allows me to share childcare.”

15 December 2016

That was a quote from someone at a recent conference where I was talking about portfolio careers. Sounds obvious does’nt it? But a recent CIPD survey shows that  only one-fifth (21 per cent) of the 1,050 senior HR professionals surveyed for the report said they had received requests from male employees to take up SPL. […]

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