Tips for Choosing a Career in Healthcare

Sep 25, 2020 by

Do you love helping people? Are you fascinated by health and the human body? A career in healthcare might be right for you. But with so many options, how do you know which position is the best fit? By examining your personality, skills, and strengths plus the available healthcare options, you can find a career that’s both rewarding and lucrative. 

Here we’ll share advice for choosing the right healthcare path as well as tips for success. 

Why Do You Want to Pursue a Career in Healthcare?

The first step in pursuing a healthcare career is asking yourself why you want to enter the field in the first place. Are you nurturing by nature? Do you love helping and healing people? Or are you fascinated by math and science? Or perhaps money is your motivating factor. If the latter is true, don’t be ashamed of this. Income is a big part of choosing a career. The average income for healthcare workers varies drastically depending on the position. Obviously, doctors, specialists, and surgeons make more than nurses or in-home healthcare workers. While it’s okay to consider pay as part of the decision-making process, it shouldn’t be your driving force. At the end of a long, physically, emotionally, and a mentally taxing day or night, money usually isn’t enough motivation to keep going. Along with a big paycheck comes big responsibility, stress, and long hours.

What Are Your Strengths, Skills, and Interests?

With that being said, it’s time to examine your skills and strengths to see if you have what it takes to pursue a medical career. You’ll need (at minimum):

  • Physical and mental endurance
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Organization and time management
  • Strong work ethic
  • Strong understanding of math and science

The healthcare industry is constantly changing and evolving. An open mind and willingness to learn new things will also serve you well. Do you enjoy working directly with patients? A registered nurse (RN) or in-home healthcare worker might be your best option. If you prefer the administrative side of things, consider a managerial position or medical coding.

What Type of Setting Do You Want to Work In?

Rom doctor’s offices and nursing homes to hospitals and labs, there are numerous settings that need healthcare works like you. Which of these work environments interest you most? Depending on the department, hospitals are often busy, fast-paced environments. Surgeons assistants can work in surgical centers, which are sometimes more intimate and much smaller than hospitals. Doctor’s offices can also get busy and hectic with scheduling patients but generally have a more mellow, relaxed atmosphere. Hospice environments take a special type of person who is compassionate but not easily depressed or emotional. Sadly, you’ll witness the death of most of your patients. This isn’t easy for many people to handle. Be honest about your personality. Imagine yourself entering these settings each day and ask yourself if you can handle it.

How Do You Plan to Get Your Education?

Once you decide on a career path, you need to find the right educational institution to obtain training and your degree (if necessary). In today’s world, there are numerous ways to get certified in different healthcare positions. Remote campus makes online courses easy and convenient. Certain medical careers require hands-on lab work and residencies that can’t be done online. Do some research and find out what schools offer the program you’re interested in. Does the role you want require a degree, certification, and additional training? Many doctor and nursing programs require a college degree followed by a master’s degree and then, yes, a doctorate degree. These programs are extensive and sometimes intense, but worth it if your end goal is to become a medical doctor or surgeon. If you can’t dedicate to that many years of schooling, consider a career that requires only a college degree and a certification. You also need to consider financing. How will you pay for your education? Financial assistance and loans can lighten this burden.

Which Positions Interest You?

At the end of the day, you need to look deep inside yourself to discover your passion. What about the healthcare industry appeals to you? Where do you think your skills would be of most service? What career path will leave you feeling fulfilled and productive at the end of each day? Sadly, not many people can say that they love their jobs. If you plan to invest time and money into a medical career, make sure it’s one that you love. The good news is, every avenue of healthcare has multiple career paths to follow. For example, if you’re interested in performing ultrasounds, you can work in a maternity ward or birthing center, work with cardiac imaging, or an ultrasound application specialist. Tap into your area of interest and then branch out from there. 

Can You Handle a Healthcare Work Schedule?

This is another area where you have to look deep inside yourself and be honest about your strengths, weaknesses, and personal limits. The healthcare industry can be ruthless. Long hours, manual labor, and emotionally draining encounters all take a toll on your mind and body. It’s a high-stress environment. Added to the mix is the demanding schedule and unpredictability. Many nurses and doctors work rotations that include night shifts. You may be required to work 12 or 15-hour shifts for three days in a row. This could impact your quality of life, including your relationships. Are you a parent or a spouse? A healthcare career can also be difficult for your family and friends. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is paramount but not always easy. 

Helping Others Starts with Helping Yourself

If you’ve decided to enter the healthcare industry, it means you’re a selfless, nurturing person. You likely get gratification from helping others. But beyond that, you need to look inside yourself. What are your skills, your interests, and your physical and mental boundaries? Choose a healthcare career that is satisfying but also reasonable. That means considering the time commitment and cost of education. Remember, it’s never too late to pursue a career you love!

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