The field of medicine is one in which there are a variety of roles to play. Each role and profession contributes to the system as a whole and provides invaluable services to the general population. A calling to fill such a role might be just one of the reasons why you are considering pursuing a career in healthcare.
Other reasons why a healthcare career is so appealing to so many people include job security, earning potential, and a general sense of fulfillment when it comes to what you do for a living. With so much to offer, you might very well find yourself eager and ready to build a successful career for yourself in the field of medicine.
However, it is important to understand that the field of healthcare is one that has its fair share of competition when it comes to the top jobs. This means that if you hope to make your way as a successful physician, nurse, or other type of healthcare provider, you will need to be proactive in taking steps to get ahead and distinguish yourself from the competition.
If you are just about to start laying the roadmap for your own successful career in healthcare, you might be wondering what sort of steps you should look to take. Here are seven tips that can help you to navigate your way into a successful career in the field of medicine.
1. Educate Yourself
The very first thing that anyone who is looking to pursue a career in healthcare needs to consider is the type of education that is necessary for the specific job you would like to have. Because of the nature of medicine as a discipline, the right education is absolutely essential when your goal is to be as successful as possible.
Depending on the type of healthcare professional you are looking to become, you might have quite a bit of education ahead of you. From undergraduate degree programs to graduate school to earning a doctorate, a commitment to a career in healthcare means a commitment to obtaining the right level of education.
You should also bear in mind the fact that everyone’s route to a successful career in healthcare is going to be different. These days, there are a number of options and avenues that you can consider that will help you to achieve your goals in your career.
For instance, if you are hoping to become a registered nurse (RN), you will need to decide between going for a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN). You can also choose between earning your nursing degree in the traditional, on-campus setting or via an online degree program.
However, your education doesn’t have to stop there if you have higher career aspirations as a nurse. You might wish to pursue a master’s degree or even a DNP online so that you can obtain your doctorate. Such degrees can allow you to become qualified to work as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) or some other type of advanced practice nurse.
Take the time to decide what sort of healthcare professional you wish to become and how far you want to take your career. Then, you can figure out your options for education and plan for your future.
2. Develop Your Interpersonal Skills
When you are looking to have a successful career in healthcare, you need more than just the knowledge and information that you learn in the classroom and the practical skills you develop through your clinical. There are also a variety of interpersonal skills that you will need to take it upon yourself to develop in your own time and of your own responsibility.
Skills like communication, critical thinking, and the ability to educate others are vitally important to the job of any healthcare professional. The fact of the matter is that while you will have spent a great deal of time in the clinical setting, you will undoubtedly have a number of patients throughout your career who have never experienced the world of healthcare on such a scale before.
Your interpersonal skills are going to play a significant role in your ability to provide quality healthcare to such patients. You will need to possess the ability to not only listen to them with empathy and patience, but it will be incredibly important that you know how to communicate to them information regarding their treatment options and conditions.
These are the types of skills that can’t really be taught in a classroom. Furthermore, they don’t always come easily to everyone. Because of this, if you are working to build a successful career in healthcare for yourself, you will need to make a concerted effort in and of yourself to become a good communicator and learn how to listen to your patients.
3. Become a More Organized Person
Working in the healthcare setting typically means that you will be on your feet, juggling a number of different tasks all at once regularly. Things in healthcare can move very quickly, and you will need to be able to think on your feet and understand the best courses of action to take for your patients.
If you don’t already consider yourself to be an organized individual, now is the time to work on that aspect of your professional life. It is unlikely that you will be able to handle the demands of a career in healthcare as well as the various aspects of your personal life unless you are able to work in an organized and orderly manner.
To become a more organized person, you should start with the basics. Get into the habit of writing things down so that you don’t forget them, especially if they pertain to your schedule. For example, the schedule of a healthcare professional can fluctuate from week to week. Therefore, assuming the habit of writing out your schedule either by hand into a planner or on your smartphone or other device will go a long way to helping you to keep things straight.
Another important part of becoming a more organized person is ditching the habit of procrastination. Ultimately, putting tasks off until a later time will only result in things piling up on you. This can lead to a stressful and overwhelming scenario that will detract from your important work in the field of healthcare.
4. Cultivate a Professional Network
The world of medicine is one that has always thrived on the ability of professionals to be able to interact with one another and share their knowledge and experiences. It is through professional networking of this kind that many advancements to the field of healthcare have been made. It is also one of the best ways to further your own career in healthcare.
By connecting with your peers, both those who have a similar experience level and those who are much farther along in their careers than you are at this time, you can obtain a great deal of information and knowledge that can help you in your endeavors to achieve more in your career. In addition, you never know what sort of opportunities for advancement can arise through your professional network.
There are many ways in which you can go about cultivating a professional network with other healthcare professionals. For example, you might simply choose to start networking with your peers at your current place of employment, or you can take advantage of networking opportunities presented by your place of education.
As a medical professional, you can also opt to join any number of professional organizations that have been designed for the purposes of connecting those who work in the same area of healthcare. For instance, a pediatric nurse can apply to become a part of the Society of Pediatric Nurses.
There are all sorts of professional organizations for healthcare professional of varying disciplines, roles, and specialties. So, if you are looking to grow your own professional network so that you can have a successful career in healthcare, take the opportunity to join a relevant professional network.
5. Focus on Professional Development
Because of the nature of healthcare and medicine, your education doesn’t end when you graduate from your degree program. Rather, you should look to incorporate professional development opportunities into your life throughout your career.
The fact of the matter is that medicine is constantly developing and advancing. There are healthcare professionals out there who dedicate their entire careers to researching and developing new innovations in medicine. To ensure that you are able to have a long, successful career, you will need to stay apprised of the relevant developments in your area of healthcare.
Essentially, a successful healthcare professional is one who never stops learning. Therefore, not only will you need to complete the applicable continuing education credits so as to maintain your license to practice, but you should take things even further by continuing to look for opportunities to learn.
This is another area where joining a professional organization can come in handy. Such organizations provide members with professional development opportunities throughout the year and the latest information regarding recent advancements and innovations.
In addition to your knowledge pertaining to your particular specialty, you will also want to find other ways to hone and develop your professional skills throughout your career. You should never stop trying to master your communication skills, time management skills, and interpersonal skills, just to name a few.
6. Find a Mentor
One of the most valuable connections that you can possibly make as a healthcare professional is that of a mentor. A mentor is another healthcare professional who is farther along in their career and has accomplished some of the same things that you hope to accomplish yourself one day.
A mentor is also someone who you can turn to for professional advice and guidance as and when you need it. In addition, they will be able to help you make informed decisions about your career progression based on their own personal experiences and the industry insight they have acquired throughout their years in the medical field.
Finding a mentor might be easier than you think. For example, if you are employed by a larger hospital or health system, there might very well already be a mentorships program in place that you can apply to. In addition, some third-party organizations work to facilitate connections between mentors and those who wish to be mentored.
You also have the option of finding a mentor in a less formal fashion. For example, if there is already an individual in your professional network who you look up to and with whom you are comfortable discussing your career, that person might be the perfect mentor for you. Just simply ask them if they would serve as your professional mentor. Chances are, they will be more than happy to assume such a role in your professional development.
7. Look After Your Mental Health
There are many aspects of a career in medicine that makes it a challenging thing to pursue. Most notably, however, are the stresses and pressures that come with the job. When another person’s health and physical wellbeing are in your charge, you are bound to feel a sense of anxiety to some degree.
In order to have a successful and fulfilling career in healthcare, it is vital that you place a special emphasis on the maintenance of your mental health. If you ignore signs of anxiety and stress building, for instance, you can find yourself in a situation where you are unable to do your job properly, resulting in a tough situation for you and your patients.
Make sure that from time to time, you check in with yourself mentally. You should also incorporate consistent self-care into your own wellness routine. Then, take some time away from it all every once in a while, even if it is only to meditate for ten or fifteen minutes a day.