So, you’re ready to take the plunge and go for a career in healthcare, but where do you start? What are the options, and how can you make sure you succeed at the interview?
In this article, we aim to share the best tips and tricks to improve your chances and get your dream job in healthcare, helping you to get where you want to be that much quicker.
Table of contents
What Career Do You Want?
It’s not enough to just say, “I want to work in healthcare” you need to be thinking about exactly what kind of job you want and then what disciplines you want to follow.
You don’t necessarily have to have your entire career path planned out in front of you right now, but having an idea of what interests you will help you if and when you choose to specialize.
If you want to go to medical school, for example, it’s likely that you’ll do a residency in a number f different areas, and one of these areas may call to you more than another one does. When the time comes, specializing will be easy.
If you find that you love being around medicine and healthcare in general, then roles such as a family medicine practitioner and nurse practitioner might be more suited, allowing you to have a little taste of everything throughout your working life.
Specializing is generally a good idea if you want to earn the big bucks. Choosing a specific discipline and working towards it will mean that you gain the skills and experience to really make your resume stand out. Click here for more ways to make your resume stand above other candidates who may have more generic experience.
Getting the Grades
It is very clear if you want to work in healthcare, you need to be willing to work hard in school and in college to get to where you want to be.
Medical school and nursing school is very hard work, it requires time and dedication, and many people can’t hack it.
You’ll be different, though; you want to work in healthcare, which means you’ll work hard to achieve the grades you need, work the extra shifts, stay up all night studying, and improve your skills and experience.
Doing all of this while you’re studying to get your qualifications will mean you are better prepared for the modern world of healthcare work. You’ll appreciate your role more, and you’ll be in a much better position to help people when the time comes for you to be let loose on patients all by yourself.
What is Your Alternative?
You’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon; you study hard, get to college, take your first step into surgery and suddenly realize you can’t deal with the smell. What do you do?
While that’s an extreme (but true) example, it’s always worth planning for a “plan B” when it comes to your studies and your career plans.
That’s not to say your chives should be between becoming a family nurse practitioner or becoming a rodeo clown; your plan B doesn’t have to be that extreme!
You may want to consider what your other options are, though; if you’ve always wanted to work as a midwife, how would you feel about going into pediatric or neonatal medicine instead?
Taking a minor that is more flexible is a great way to keep your options open, and opting to do work experience in a similar but slightly different field to your “dream” role might also be a good idea.
Healthcare offers some great options for specialization, and the benefit of this is that you can do it at practically any point in your career too. If you’ve spent ten years working as a patient-facing nurse and decide you want a more research-based role, there are options for studying to become a clinical researcher, for example.
Be Ready to Help. Always.
Being confident is half of the goal when you begin your journey to a healthcare sector role. Doctors and nurses need to be confident in their skills, abilities, their experience, and their education, and the only way to become confident in all of those things is to practice.
No, that doesn’t mean going out and finding as many ill people on the street and trying to cure them, but it does mean being available to help as much as possible.
Sign up for the extra shifts, do the community medicine work, take a year out and work for Doctors Without Borders; anything that you can do to broaden your horizons and increase your experience will help you not only to get a job in healthcare but to be GOOD at your job in healthcare.
Experience is one of the most important parts of working in healthcare. Medicine changes rapidly, which means having the historical experience throughout your career (no matter how short it is at this point) will help you be a better physician, nurse, or even office worker!
Ready to get working? Ready to get license more like!
You’ll need to pass your licensure examinations and board certifications if you want to work in a medical role within healthcare.
Depending on which role you want to take, this could mean doing your nursing examinations or your certified boards for physician roles such as OBGYN.
If you’re working in healthcare, but you’re not working in a clinical setting such as a hospital or a clinic, you may still need to do some kind of licensure or training to become certified.
Complementary health professionals, such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, or people who offer therapeutic massages, may need to do specific qualifications and take specific exams within their own field. It’s likely that the laws on this will change state by state.
This is a really important part of becoming a healthcare professional, learning to understand the laws and governance around your role. By learning now, you will be able to start your career off on the best footing with all of the correct education, training, and paperwork.
Learn Continuously Throughout Your Career
This is not just about going for higher-paid jobs or jobs with more status, but in making a vow to always continue to hearn and put effort into your education, you’re making a vow to become a better healthcare professional for the benefit of your patients and colleagues.
Healthcare and medicine change at a rapid rate, every year, there are new discoveries, new ways of doing things, and we learn more about the connection between human health, animal health, and environmental health.
Committing to continued learning means you’ll always be at the forefront of these discoveries, and you’ll continue to enjoy your job while you’re at it.
Collaborate With Other Professionals
What can other professionals do to improve your career options in healthcare? It’s simple, having many colleagues and many connections means your professional network will grow, and your opportunities will open up.
Healthcare is both a very wide-reaching industry and a tight-knit community.
It relies a lot on reputation and experience. One of the best ways to improve your reputation is by networking with other professionals in healthcare and the wider community, making friends, and making connections for the betterment of your career and career goals.
What kinds of connections you make is up to you, but it’s worth trying to network with people from a much wider range of healthcare backgrounds than your own.
If you are solely a pediatric specialist, go and network with people who work in gerontology and adult care; if you work within cardiac medicine, make fronds with a podiatrist.
This may seem like an odd idea, but there is a method behind this. Medicine is connected, everything that happens inside the human body is connected to everything that happens outside the human body, and doctors are only just beginning to understand what an effect mental health has on physical health, for example.
By widening your professional network to include specialists in other areas, there is more chance of making breakthroughs or discovering new things you didn’t know about that could help your patients get better.
If you want to improve medicine on a wider societal level, you may also want to start networking with health professionals outside of human health.
There is a big push towards understanding One Health, how environmental health, human health, and animal health are connected.
By understanding these three things, professionals in healthcare and the veterinary and environmental sectors can work together to understand cause and effect, the impact that each of the three areas has on each other.
It’s for this reason that there’s a push for student doctors and student veterinarians to work together and collaborate so that they may share ideas and the learnings they’ve discovered to help each other out in the future.