Developing a career in healthcare can be rewarding and it can be fulfilling. When you work directly or indirectly with patients, you get the opportunity to make an improvement and impact on their life, and this can be life-changing for them and for you too. The healthcare industry offers a lot of stability, and it also offers a lot of room for growth which can allow you to build a sustainable career. So, just how can you develop a meaningful career in healthcare, and what moves must you start making at this moment in time?
What Are You Currently Doing?
The first move that you need to make is you have to establish what you are currently doing. Are you currently working indirectly or directly within healthcare, or are you working in an industry that is completely different. When you can establish your starting point, you can get both clarity and focus, which will help you move forward. If you are currently in another industry or role, then why not establish what you enjoy about the role. You can take this valuable feedback with you into your new career. When you can establish your starting point, you can then begin to look toward the future positively.
Have a Vision
When you have established where you are starting from, you must then start creating a vision. To get the most out of a career in healthcare, you have to have a targeted vision. Knowing what you want to achieve is crucial to your growth and success. So, what does your vision look like, and what is shaping your career vision? Are you entering the healthcare industry to make a difference in the care and treatment of others, or are you looking to build a sustainable career for yourself? Your vision will guide you through the first few months in the healthcare industry, and it will provide you with the direction that you need.
Decide What Specialism or Area You Want to Focus On
A career in healthcare can cover many different areas and specialties. However, you must remember that not all of them will be right (or suitable) for you and your vision. As soon as you can, you need to decide upon what area or specialism you want to enter. When you make your decision, you can then start focusing on building relevant skills, experience, and knowledge. If you do not choose a specialism at the start of your career, you may find that you get lost knowing which option is right for you. To get a better idea of what each area, or specialism covers, then why not see voluntary experience. When you can get first-hand experience and awareness, you can then go ahead and make an informed decision.
Invest in Learning and Professional Development
You are your best asset, and to ensure you get the best out of yourself, you have to invest in learning and professional development. The healthcare industry is evolving and changing and keeping up with these changes and demands. You need to invest in constant learning. When you focus your attention on learning, you begin to future-proof yourself and your career, and you begin to realize the importance and value of constant development and growth. When you are investing time and money into learning, you need to look at programs that are relevant to you, both now and moving forwards. So, for example, right now, you may be looking at degree programs. However, in the future, you may be looking at completing an online FNP MSN program and taking your healthcare career even further. When you invest in learning and development, you begin to mold yourself into a true healthcare professional.
Have Goals and Objectives in Mind
To achieve career success in the healthcare industry, you need to set goals and objectives. You cannot simply walk into a role one day, and this is something that you must remember. When you are setting goals and objectives, think about short-term goals as well as long-term goals. For example, a short-term goal would be something like – Start getting healthcare experience within the next 6–12 months. A long-term goal or objective could be something along the lines of – Getting a leadership position within the next six years. When you have objectives and goals written down, you can work towards them, and you can create value and purpose in your career.
Focus on Experience
You may not need the experience to start your career in healthcare, but the experience will help. Experience (of any kind or length) will allow you to see if your expectations meet the reality of working in healthcare. Experience will also give you clarity on the industry and sector you are entering. If you can, you need to try and build your experience, as this will give you focus and clarity for your future. To build your experience, you need to look at working in the area of specialism you wish to enter, and you also need to look at general experience opportunities. Learning to deal with patients and learning about what is involved in the healthcare industry will help you prepare for your future career.
Build a Strong Network
Developing a career in healthcare is much easier to do when you have a strong network around you. This strong network could comprise other professionals within the healthcare industry, or it could comprise a mixture of professionals from all backgrounds. When you start out in healthcare, it helps to share your experiences, and it helps to talk about what you are going through and what you are thinking about. Sharing this with family and friends may not always be right, and this is why you need to focus on building a strong network of contacts. Having someone (perhaps in a similar position to you) available to chat and support you – especially in those early days is critical.
You may have lots of ideas and visions about what it is like to work within healthcare. However, until you start working in the industry, you never really know. Some days are very long, and they are tough on your emotionally and physically. There will be times when you will feel exhausted and drained. Overcoming these feelings and combating them is much easier to do when you have the right frame of mind (mindset). Adopting a strong, focused, and growth mindset is what you need when you are developing a career in healthcare. If your mindset is not as strong as you would like it to be, you may end up taking criticism too personally, or you may end up taking on too emotional trauma from patients or colleagues that you work with. Working on your mindset as soon as you can ensure that you are prepared for whatever the healthcare industry has to throw your way.
Be Focused on Progression
Even though you are just starting out and developing a career in healthcare, you still need to focus on progression. If you are not focused on the future or on progression, you may well find that your career doesn’t even get off the starting block. When you focus on progression, you focus on opportunity, and you ensure that you maintain clarity, direction, and motivation. If you are not focused on progression, you may find that opportunities slip by.
Create a Sustainable Skillset
Knowledge and awareness count for a lot when it comes to developing a career in healthcare, but so too does your skillset. Your skillset will prove invaluable within your role and when you are working with others. If your skillset is not sustainable, or if it is not as strong as you would like it to be, you need to make changes. The right skill set will give you confidence, and it will allow you to focus on building a sustainable career. A great skillset will cover teamwork and cooperation, excellent communication skills, and brilliant listening skills. Knowing where your weaknesses lie and then pushing forwards and growing as an individual is important.
Know Your Worth and Value in the Healthcare Sector
You are worth a lot to the healthcare industry, and your experience and knowledge will prove valuable (no matter what specialism or area you choose to focus on). When you know your worth, and you know that you are valued, you can start to build up resilience. You need resilience to succeed in any healthcare role or career. If you are not aware of your worth, or your value, you will struggle with your confidence. When your confidence levels are lower than they should be, you may not push yourself hard enough or go for those opportunities that are in front of you. When you can see the value, you are adding to the lives of others every day (both colleagues and patients alike), you will see that a career in healthcare can be rewarding and fulfilling in many ways.