Any career path you are considering is going to require a lot of planning, thought and research, and that is certainly true of a career in healthcare. Healthcare can be an extremely rewarding and dependable industry to seek a career in, as it is growing and developing all the time. It is also safe to assume that your job security is for the long-term due to healthcare being such a necessary service. While choosing a career in healthcare can therefore seem extremely appealing to those who want long-term job security, many different job opportunities, and the potential to help a large number of vulnerable people, there are also many points to consider before knowing whether this is the right career choice for you.
Top Job Roles in Healthcare
With so many job options and roles to explore within healthcare, here are just some of the top roles which might appeal to you:
- Nurse practitioner
- Mental health counsellor
- Physical therapist
6 Points to Consider Before Choosing a Career in Healthcare
Here are just some of the key considerations to make before pursuing your healthcare career.
- The Study Duration
Some job seekers may already have a degree which they want to put to good use in relation to their career. For many jobs, this may be as simple as showing the proof of your degree, applying for a job and starting as soon as possible. However, healthcare positions take a lot of dedicated study, which means if you do not already have a healthcare related degree, you will need to study for one in order to open up the job pool for healthcare careers. Depending on your career goals, this degree can vary as you may want a degree in mental health, in nursing or in medicine.
Healthcare jobs can be synonymous with long hours of dedicated study, so it is important to first be aware of how long you can expect to study for in order to achieve any desired healthcare role.
- The Training Duration
On top of your dedicated study hours, for many healthcare positions you will also need on-the-job training and this may be unpaid hours of work while you are still learning. It may therefore be another few years of training or going to a dedicated medical school on top of your degree. It is important to be aware of this so that you can plan your time and expectations accordingly.
- The Potential for Growth or Specialization
Knowing your future career goals can really help you to make the right initial decisions. In particular, knowing how you would like to learn and grow within a career is essential for making the correct choice. If you are an individual who is particularly career-oriented and would like to progress to a higher level, then that is important to know before you explore your healthcare role options. Roles such as nursing can offer extensive progression opportunities, such as nurses looking to gain a higher degree through online nurse practitioner schools.
Therefore, if you do want to progress throughout your career, be sure to research those roles which can offer the most progression.
- The Pressures of the Job
Even if you do not have any firsthand experience, it is easy to assume that healthcare roles come with a high amount of pressure. This pressure comes not only from the demands of patient care, but also through long work hours due to essential nature of the service you are providing.
Knowing the pressures of the job before you commit to a healthcare career is key, as you need to know you are able — both physically and mentally — to endure the pressures of the job. Depending on your role, these pressures can vary. Those healthcare attendants who are working directly with patients or people at their most vulnerable may run into more emotional and mental pressure on a daily basis when exposed to pain and vulnerabilities. It is important therefore to understand how you can best cope with that, including any support networks available.
- The Working Hours
Your working hours will naturally be dependent on the job role you pursue, but within healthcare you can expect them to be long, at least initially while you are still learning and training. The working hours may also be highly unsociable, you might be working night shifts, be an emergency responder at all times of the day, or even be working on-call. These fluctuating working hours may not suit everyone, and especially if you have other commitments such as a family, so be sure to understand the expected working hours related to your desired healthcare role.
In some circumstances, you may have more flexibility with your working hours, such as if you are working as a consultant or in charge of your own patient load so that you can more easily work it around your own routine.
- Your Dominant Personality Traits
Knowing yourself and how you handle certain situations is important when it comes to healthcare. Acknowledging your key personality traits means understanding how they might apply to different healthcare situations. Healthcare professions expect a range of set skills or personality traits, such as dedication, compassion, understanding and patience. However, you may need to delve a little deeper than that to best understand how you might fit into a healthcare environment.
If you are not a people person and struggle to deal with people who may become difficult in a vulnerable situation, you need to consider how you would be able to work on the frontlines with patients. This does not mean you should not work in healthcare, but rather that you might want to consider those career options which offer a different working environment, such as in a laboratory or office behind the scenes.
If you are not a confident communicator, can you look to improve those skills to best fit within a healthcare environment?
These are all essential personality and skill considerations to make.
Choosing a Career in Healthcare
These 6 considerations can be a great starting point in understanding the best career choice for you and the healthcare role which would be the best fit.