Deciding to pursue a career in healthcare is a huge decision.
Fundamentally, working in healthcare is a big undertaking because you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of others. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.
To help you work out whether healthcare is right for you, it is best to view the decision from a number of angles.
Start by analyzing what your talents are, the type of subjects you enjoy, your passions and your pet hates. Your personal qualities define your career more than anything else, especially with an industry like healthcare. While it is possible to practice and get better at a job, when the lives of others are under your control, you should avoid overstretching with roles you may make frequent mistakes in.
Furthermore, you will have to pinpoint the kind of lifestyle you want to achieve later in life. If you desire a luxurious lifestyle, there are certain jobs which will reward you more than others, and if you want to start a family you may not want to jump into a role which demands long hours and little pay.
The length of time it takes to become qualified will also have a bearing on which jobs you apply for, especially in healthcare. If you cannot afford to dedicate a number of years of your life to further education and lengthy training, a medical role may not be for you.
It is a lot to take on board, but these factors are necessary to consider if you are to make an informed decision about your choice of career, and whether healthcare in particular is right for you.
To this end, you should also research a great many different roles within the healthcare industry, in order to better understand the various options available to you. It is not good enough to pick the first job that comes along, because healthcare requires a significant amount of specialization.
This is not to say you cannot embark in a career in healthcare if you are not particularly medically minded. If helping others interests you but you do not feel comfortable or able to contribute on the medical side, you could become involved in an administrative role instead.
Here is how to tell if a career in healthcare is right for you:
You could enroll in an online Masters course to help overcome the difficult training
One of the most daunting aspects of a career in healthcare is the length and intensity of the training. Many people who consider training as a doctor or a nurse are put off by the thought of spending years in university, passing medical exams and taking master’s degrees to become qualified enough.
There is no doubt that the learning process is intense with any medical profession. Indeed, given the life-or-death nature of the job, this is necessary. It also helps to sort the students who are motivated, responsible and dedicated from the ones who are not willing to put the work in. This lengthy commitment is self-policing and ensures that the healthcare industry maintains quality control over its talent.
However, there are alternatives to the traditional in-person university degrees. If you were looking to become a nurse for instance, you could consider enrolling in a post masters fnp online by Texas Woman's University. Earning a degree online allows you to continue with your existing lifestyle without making huge sacrifices towards your studies. University degrees are expensive, and if you are stuck on a campus you may not be able to find a suitable part-time job to support your learning.
By doing the degree online, you stand a better chance of making your learning sustainable, because you will be able to keep the accommodation and job you already have, allowing you to concentrate on your learning with minimal upheaval or distractions.
You need to work out what your skill set is, and whether it is suited to a career in healthcare
A crucial factor to consider when deciding whether a career in healthcare is for you is whether it suits your skill set and talents.
Your skill set will likely be the deciding factor as to what sort of career you create for yourself. If you want to be a doctor but have little logical acumen and cannot stand the sight of blood, then you are probably best off looking for another vocation.
This analysis also comes in useful when deciding between two different roles within the healthcare industry. If you have the ability to qualify for two jobs, for example, but you are particularly good at organization and talking to people, then you would likely decide upon the role with the most scope for leadership or administration.
It is best to be brutally honest with yourself at this stage. You do not want to be under any illusions about your strengths and weaknesses, or you could end up wasting years of your life pursuing a job which you would not be very good at or enjoy doing.
Do you want a high-pressure workplace or a more consultative role?
When you have a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses, you will begin to understand which environments suit you, and which do not. This will further help you to work out whether a career in healthcare is right for you.
If you reflect upon the environments you have excelled in before, think about whether they were highly pressurized or relaxed, crammed with co-workers or working on your own.
Often, people find it difficult to know much about themselves until they are put under pressure, so it is useful if you already have experiences to draw upon. Otherwise, you could find yourself pursuing a career which will not suit your personality. It is no secret that healthcare is highly pressurized, especially if you are on the ‘front lines’ as a doctor, nurse or surgeon, and if you crack under that pressure, you could make a life-threatening mistake.
It is best to reflect beforehand, to save you time and, potentially, damaging mistakes.
Pinpoint which area you specifically want to concentrate on
Once you have had a detailed look at your skill set, and which areas you are likely to excel in, the next stage is to pinpoint which area of healthcare you want to concentrate on.
There is no shortage of different avenues you can take in healthcare, from being a nurse or doctor to a specialist like an orthopedic doctor or a podiatrist. It helps if a particular area interests you more than any other, or if you have previously had a personal health issue in that area, and now want to help others overcome it.
If there is not an area which immediately springs to mind, take the time to research different vocations which you think could interest you, and narrow them down to a short list. If possible, speak to professionals in each area and ask them about their experiences. This will give you a better understanding of which type of healthcare career you want to pursue.
Work out why you want to pursue a career in healthcare - is it for the right reasons?
When considering a career in healthcare, you have to ask yourself whether you are getting into it for the right reasons. The healthcare industry is, by its definition, designed to help others and serve the local community.
If you are only thinking of becoming a healthcare professional because you want to earn a high salary and enjoy the status of being a doctor, then you are entering into the industry for the wrong reasons.
This is not to say that desiring a high salary is a bad thing, only that it should not be your sole aim when considering a healthcare career. If this is your primary ambition, there are many other industries that would better suit your objectives and deliver them to you far more easily.
If you embark on a career for the wrong reasons, you will likely burn out and become disillusioned with your job, leaving you worse off than when you started.
What sort of lifestyle are you hoping to build for yourself?
The life that you create for yourself as you grow older is increasingly defined by your occupation. Everything from the amount of money in your pocket, the town you live in and the amount of free time you have to see friends and family is dictated by your job.
As a result, it is critical that you have a strong idea of the type of lifestyle you want to build for yourself. If you want to raise a family and have enough time to spend with them on weekdays, then pursuing a healthcare career which demands long hours is probably not for you.
Furthermore, if you harbor ambitions for a luxurious lifestyle and the freedom to live where you want, then your choice of career should reflect this. There are many well-paying healthcare jobs which offer flexible hours, so consider aiming your sights at those types of roles.
There are healthcare jobs to suit most tastes, and while you are unlikely to land your dream job straight out of the gate, if you aim yourself in the right direction, you are far more likely to end up with a career you enjoy.