By Carol Trehearn
Making the decision of what career you want to study and practice is a big step that will determine a lot of things for your future, so if you are feeling interested in nursing or similar professions, here’s what to consider when choosing a career in healthcare.
There are a lot of paths available in healthcare, they involve all types of skills and roles that go along with them, so thankfully, there is space for almost everyone, but there are very important questions to ask yourself before committing to one of these.
Why choose the healthcare field in the first place?
- A career with a lot of room for growth: giving that for a lot of roles in the field it takes more than the regular 4 years of university then you bet the payoff is bigger, there’s always room for movement and recognition if this is your choice.
- Incredible personal fulfillment: being there for people on the day of an emergency or a happy birth will give you a lot of professional and emotional satisfaction.
- Job security: the healthcare industry is expected to create some 26 million jobs by 2026, so if you apply yourself and stand out, you could do very well out there.
- Competitive salaries: a well trained, experienced nurse practitioner or doctor can earn a great paycheck for their services, and this is true across many states and even countries.
- So many levels and options: there is a position in the healthcare field for a lot of different levels of education you may want to invest in, of course studying nursing or more academically demanding roles usually means higher pay, if you want to take a more straightforward route you can.
What do you need to get started in a healthcare career?
Depending on which of the profession you end up choosing you’ll have to meet different requirements, but a good starting point is knowing what kind of test you’ll have to take, the scores required to get into the school you want to go, and more.
You can begin with test prep, take a look at what tools can help you get a good score, and start getting used to studying a lot and often.
Make a list of all the requirements you need to apply and get to work!
Where and how can you get your healthcare degree?
This is a significant variable to consider when choosing a career in healthcare because it will determine where you end up.
This one question can only be answered by asking more question:
- Do you want to stay close to home
- Do you prefer studying online
- Do you want to set your own schedule
- What schools offer the program you want
Once you are done answering these significant questions, you can narrow down the schools you are willing to attend and the programs that are compatible with your life.
You can also bring into consideration where you want to work since universities and programs will likely place you in practice facilities near campus, plus after graduation, the institutions close to where you went are probably going to be among the best choices to find work.
Unless you choose online programs like the ones offered by Marymount University that provide the kind of education you want in a format that fits your needs.
The introduction of online degrees and programs has been revolutionary in every aspect of education and healthcare is no different.
With online classes and degrees, you have more independence to make your decisions and the possibility of going to school from whenever you choose.
That also opens up doors for those students that have to make education adaptable to work schedules, so they can keep making money while furthering their degrees.
If online sounds like the road it’s all pretty much going to be the same, you’ll have to study hard, learn some video call etiquette, and get your degree.
How do your interests mix with the healthcare field?
How are you going to get a career within the healthcare field when you don’t know the direction where to go in the vast sea of possibilities that exist within this area of work.
The first thing, you need to do is check your aptitudes. You might be good at physically demanding tasks and want to complete a healthcare degree that doesn’t take 11 years so you can opt for physical therapy professions, or maybe you are great with teens and kids and choose to become a pediatric nurse.
To each its own as they say and the quote applies perfectly to making a choice in the medical fields, there is a place out there for you and your skills in this world, just have to sit down and do the research properly.
Once you begin in this journey, take a look at what you are good at and also what you like and compare those to the different profession you are attracted to, see why that is and make better decisions with a calm and clear head.
An excellent advantage of healthcare fields is that there is some room for crossovers between professions, especially while you are studying. They share a lot of the basics in terms of classes needed so you can explore safely and change if you notice you do not really like your first choice.
Don’t forget that as technological advances are implemented many careers and specializations are beginning to pop up, so keep your eyes open for new paths that you might want to take.
So, it’s best to get it right at the first try, but in most cases, it won’t be the end of your profession or a complete waste if you don’t.
What kind of role do you want to have in the field of healthcare?
According to your ambitions, your nature, and characteristics, you should be able to better consider the type of role you want to have within a healthcare institution.
Can there be that many differences? The answer is yes, and it’s all up to you, some choose roles that put them in the position of being great leaders, while others want to be background soldiers and hard workers.
One of the critical aspects to take into account when you get to this point is how much of a ‘people person’ you are since first care personnel like nurses, doctors and therapists will have to treat people all the time. In contrast, technicians and administrators can have lesser levels of interaction.
Other important factors to weigh when selecting your type of role are:
- How well do you do under stress? That can help eliminate some options like emergency work.
- How strong is your stomach? You might want to stay away from the more gruesome choices.
- And ask yourself more, so as you forward with the questionnaire, some options are cast out, and your path becomes clearer.
How does your career in healthcare fit with your more personal goals?
A career in the healthcare profession can change your whole life around, so it’s better to be prepared by considering other goals outside of your professional life that you also want to achieve.
There’s no need to worry too much, nurses and doctors have been partners, parents, and even professional athletes, so there is room for other ambitions. You just be clear to yourself and others upfront.
Communicate with your partner, tell them your decision to enter the healthcare field to know if you can count on their support, same with family and friends.
Remind people that during the hardest part of your education you’ll have to dedicate more time to your studies and thankfully it won’t last forever.
Another thing that will help you is to plan out what you want in the future outside your healthcare career, and it might not sound very romantic but having a ballpark date for when you want kids or a house can help you get there with fewer derailments.
Once you complete your education or even during, you will start to get a better grip on how to handle the pressures of the healthcare field, and it will open up with possibilities as a result, just hang in there!
After you finally choose, there’s still more
That was a lot of questions to answer just to make the decision to get started. Still, all of that hard work will pay off later as you begin your healthcare career with a leg up on others, being more aware of your choices and having a better guideline to what, when and you want to make some moves.
Other issues to remember when considering or starting your career in healthcare:
- It can be a long road, so don’t rush yourself getting there
- Do what you are passionate about
- Stand up for yourself, don’t let others dismiss your goals
- Take care of yourself, it takes a strong person to be in the healthcare field
- Be persistent and work hard
- Ask older students and mentors for help
- Create a community with other nurses, EMTs, etc.
- Keep learning and furthering your education
- You are not only your job so build a full life outside of it
- Make the most of it!