Applying for a university lecturer post from NHS...(9 Posts)
Well, I am thinking of applying to a post advertised at my old university. I have worked in the NHS for many years so have loads of experience and the postgrad education the university wants. I went for a look around the other day, and a chat with the course leader. There seems to be a lot of autonomy and you are expected to handle your own workload. I like the flexibility and the fact I can stay within my career (in a different form). The money is also higher than what I earn now.
I am definitely going to leave the NHS as our hours have changed and I am (a) not having a family life due to myself and hubby works many weekends; (b) there are many clashes with our shifts now and we struggle for childcare at 4am and silly times out of hours since I was made to do nights; (c) I am bored and need a challenge...I could go on.
The role involves looking after the placement students at local hospitals and I have experience of this so that is fine. Lecturing will be based on what I've done in my career and I have also been told I can work from home.
I just wanted to know, if you are a lecturer, what is your work-life balance like? I have a 13 yr old and an 8 year old and I am always at work when they are off - this can't go on! I was told by the course leader that summer hols tend to be lovely as they can take lots of time off. Any advice?
Would you need to research or bring in grant money? is it a mostly-teaching (lecturing) contract? MN has an Academics Corner topic (under Work), too.
Summers off sounds odd... what would the nominal holiday allowance be, what are the customary & statutory days off (the days they lock you out of office).
Definitely look into the summers off. It could be interrpretted that it's a nine month post not full time, otherwise that doesn't make sense.
When I was a lecturer I was expected to be doing research work - by that I mean working on projects within the department, I was involved in two during that time, one meant I needed to travel to another area and the other I was expected to help manage. It wasn't as 'simple' as just lecturing or supporting students. My post wasn't NHS but was based in a professional department so I was supporting people starting their careers. I wasn't there long enough to be subject to pressure to do my own research to bring in money for the department (Contract was eighteen months and I left for something more secure as I needed to reapply for my post it didn't just renew) but I know had I stayed I would have needed to do that and there is a lot of pressure in some departments.
I had colleagues who were involved in projects and businesses external to the university as well.
It varies between departments. I think you have a lot of questions to ask at interview, about summer/other holidays, I'd also ask about if you are required travel extensively, and, research responsibilities.
In general academics work very long hours and have very poor work life balance. I work evenings and weekends, at least 50-60 hours per week, all through the year. I work even harder in the summer (when there is no teaching) to make progress on research. Pressure on academics to deliver strong performances in education, research, administration and management is very high.
I am not in a medical area, and it could be that the post you are looking into is not so pressured. For example, if it is only teaching, then it could well be that the summers are a quieter period. (Although you would still have to revise curriculum materials, prepare for next year's teaching.) But if it is only teaching then there will most likely be very limited possibilities for career progression without taking on management roles or leading the programme - and those roles would involve a lot of extra work, no quiet summers.
BTW be careful about thinking the hours are very flexible. In most universities you will have to teach at whatever times they schedule for your courses - and this can in some cases include 8-9am or 5-7pm. You can't assume that you will be free to pick up kids from school and you definitely would have to teach over half terms, and most likely work over school holiday periods too. I certainly need full-time childcare for 52 weeks a year.
Work/life balance? If you're serious about being an academic and good at your job? Ha ha ha ha ha. Good joke
I would check that contract very carefully, OP. Is it a pure teaching post (which these days is likely to involve hideous amount of admin) or is it a balanced teaching/research post (which will include the above, but also the requirement to publish at short intervals in prestigious journals, having first brought in the grants to fund your research)? I am on a 40% contract, absolutely loving it- but I am working a full-time week. My colleagues who are FT are working very long weeks indeed.
Is it all very well saying we shouldn't put up with it- but you can't exactly refuse to get the marking done because the student will suffer (and your department will lose its funding, leading to you losing your job). It's very much an "or until the work is finished"-type of job.
I used to be a nurse lecturer/placement facilitator at a London uni. We used to have 8 weeks study leave that I'd take in July &!August as most students off and not in placement. However, the uni brought in summer school just as I was leaving so not sure what happened to study leave then. We were expected to produce significant papers for publishing during study leave but it was very child friendly. I going back about 8 years though! The working hours were relatively family friendly as 9-5 but as I was doing a PhD too I was often up til 2am studying.
Its not a job for someone who puts time off above work really. I am a nurse lecturer and yes you manage your own workload but it often eats into my time off. I am also studying for a phd and because they are nursing programs the only time the work really stops is a week between Xmas and New Year. Its a struggle to find any time I can be off between my external commitments- working with NHS, marking, running modules, lecturing and my own studies. If you want an easier role then perhaps this is not the answer.
Our nursing lecturers all have extremely high workloads, and it goes on all year so they don’t get the summer off. You have the flexibility to manage this yourself, but that actually means they’re refusing to take responsibility for ensuring reasonable workloads.
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