Through growing economies, and as a result of life expectancy creeping up, the demand for healthcare professionals has never been more real or tangible. Current healthcare professionals are retiring, replacements are not being found quickly enough, and there is also a skills shortage. If the healthcare industry does not have the suitable trained, and qualified professionals that it needs then there is a perfect storm on the horizon. So, how can you help the healthcare industry while building a strong and stable career for yourself? Why should you focus on a healthcare career, now more than ever?
Gaps within the healthcare industry are plain for most people to see. Skills shortages and staff shortages often mean that healthcare centers and services are running below capacity. Of course, in the short term this might not have a huge impact directly on peoples’ lives; however, over time it will impact economies, right down to families and individuals. When you choose to pursue a career in healthcare you make a choice to help others, and you make a choice to have an impact on the care and treatment that patients receive. You also should pursue a healthcare career for yourself, your ambitions and your goals. If your heart and passion are not in a career you will struggle. You will not be able to find a balance, and you will not be able to find career satisfaction.
Before leaping into a healthcare career, it is vital that you establish what path you want to follow and why. Taking time out you truly establish which direction you want to move in, will prove beneficial further down the line. So, would you like to push to be a social worker – perhaps helping young families? Or would you like to be part of new life entering the world – perhaps training to become a midwife? What is the right path for you and why? What role could you see yourself in, and what role you would end up loving, cherishing and enjoying each and every day. The right path for you to follow may be one that allows you to be more hands-on or it may be one that focuses on administrative duties.
There are of course lots of careers that are rewarding. However, a career in healthcare is probably one of the most rewarding ones around. Being about to really make a difference to the lives and care of patients (and even their families) is an important part of any healthcare position. When you get a rewarding career, alongside one that you thoroughly enjoy doing, you get a lot of satisfaction, and this can then spill over into your personal life. Even though a rewarding career may not feel like a top priority at the moment, it should be something that you begin to focus your attention on. Because, after all, who wants to have that stomach-churning sensation you feel when you have to go to a job you don’t enjoy? When you choose to pursue a rewarding career, you can be sure that you get out of your role just as much as you put in.
To get the rewarding career in healthcare that you know you want (and deserve) you have to focus on self-development. Of course, you do not have to change everything about yourself – or what you do. However, bringing out the best in you and what you do, and even brushing up on your skills and attributes will help you to land that fulfilling and rewarding position. When you are focusing on self-development, it is important to look at the whole package of what you have got to offer. From your previous work experience (paid or voluntary) to your people skills and communication skills. When you focus on self-development, you become aware of your flaws and you also become aware of your positive traits. To really get to the bottom of your self-development you need to establish where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Look at situations you have handled recently (professionally and personally) and see what you have learnt from them. What could you have done differently, and what should you be doing differently moving forwards?
As well as focusing on self-development, it is also important that you focus on advancing your education. You want to get started in your new career as soon as possible, and to make this happen you need the right education behind you. If your education is not as advanced, or specialist as it needs to be, then you need to make improvements as soon as possible. For example, if you want to launch a career in Social Care or Social Work then you will need to start looking at Placement services for clinical MSW because without this you will simply not get the position that you want. As your education is so important to your healthcare career it is essential that you take your time to research which option is right for you. For example, are you going to study close to your home or base, or are you going to combine online studies with work to pay the bills?
You already have a lot of attributes and transferable skills that can be put to use within a new career, and you probably have more than you realize. To establish just what skills and attributes you have to offer, you need to think about what you could personally, and professionally bring to a new role. For example, are you great at leading others? Are you empathetic, and are you an effective communicator? A lot of the transferable skills and attributes that you hold will put you in good stead with your new career, so take some time out to establish just where these lie.
When you have your skillset in situ, and you have improved and enhanced your education, it is then time to find the right position. You know now what career path you want to follow, and now it is all about the waiting game. Your dream career might be just around the corner, or it may be available in a few months’ time. What you need to do now is establish what you want to do. For instance, do you want to take a stopgap job in healthcare (if a suitable position is currently not available) or would you rather hold out and wait for the right position? What is your gut telling you, and what are your career plans looking like?
Planning your healthcare career doesn’t sound awfully exciting, but it can be – you just don’t realize it yet. When you start planning out your career you actually take control of your choices and of your future. When you take control of your future, you can ensure that your hard work and dedication up to this point gets rewarded. If you fail to put into place a plan for your career, then you may struggle to get the position that you want. When you set out a career plan, you also make career goals and aims. Having these in place will ensure that you always maintain your direction, focus and aim. Once you have written a career plan, it is important to keep it current (don’t just put it in a drawer and forget about it). Regularly review your career plan every few months to ensure that you are staying true to the path you want to follow, and to the goals you want to achieve.
As you move forwards with your career, it is important to build and gain as much experience as you can. The experiences you have within your career will help you to shape who you are as a healthcare professional. They will also help you offer better patient care and treatment. When you are building experience within your new role, it is important to find support networks you can lean on and turn to in times of need. Having people there for you to help you deal with new situations and scenarios is crucial. As you build up your bank of experience, you may well notice that there are things that you want to change. When you take these on board and you become impassioned with your role, you can then start to push forwards.
Caring for patients and quality of care are the main things you will want to improve as a healthcare professional. Getting to know patients and building relationships will mean that you will want to provide the best quality of help and assistance that you can. As you develop your career, it is important to set personal and professional standards. When you set out standards early on in your new role, you can then ensure that they are always met and perhaps even surpassed.