Advice for Starting A Career in Healthcare

doctors at the hospital

So, you want to start a career in healthcare, but have you thought about what you want to specialize in? Have you considered the huge variety of roles available to you?

For example, have you properly looked into how to become a nurse practitioner? Do you have the right qualifications, or do you need to go back to school? Do you want to pursue a career in physiotherapy or spend much longer specializing in cardiology?

There are a million different things to consider, and you have likely had all these questions running through your head. Take a break from the bigger picture questions – here is some advice for when you want to start a new career in healthcare, whatever the role.

1. Do not let negativity ruin your perception of your career

Many people will give you their input, whether it is solicited or not and whether they have any experience or not. So, take these opinions with a grain of salt. Another person’s bad experience has no bearing on your own.

2. Do not rush through the learning process

The orientation process is one of the best things about starting your medical career. You will be interacting with your co-workers, asking questions, and learning all about the facility you are working in. Take advantage of this time to learn as much as you can and try to form relationships with your peers. Do not try and take on too much or dive headfirst into more responsibility.

3. Time management skills are vital

Medical careers are high-pressure and high-stress roles with a heavy emphasis on time management. In the hustle and bustle of a hospital, a million things are happening at once and you may be called away at any minute to take on a new task – you need to allow for this as much as possible and stay on top of your scheduled tasks.

4. Respect must be earned

Come into the job with a humble attitude and do not presume to know better than those who have been there longer. A huge mistake that doctors can make is to underestimate their nursing staff, especially when they are first starting out – nurses are invaluable to a hospital and actually, they probably know way more than you! Be kind to others and heed their advice and feedback. If you genuinely do think you know something, approach it in the right way and do not shoot others down.

5. Do not apologize for doing your job

nurse looking at a checklist
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Some people can never be pleased no matter what you do. Do not get bogged down trying to make everyone happy or question yourself, be confident in your decisions and do what you think is right.

6. Do not back down when advocating for your patients

You will have a lot of opportunities to make a difference for your patients and sometimes you will be given the chance to advocate for a patient. You will be tested, and you will need to speak up about some aspect of their treatment that you feel strongly about.

7. Look After Yourself

Careers within the healthcare sector are often physically and mentally demanding. Long hours, coupled with difficult days, can leave individuals feeling drained and burnt out. In order to make the most of your career and provide the best services to your patients, it’s important that you look after yourself.

Making the most of your allocated holiday days, and ensuring your days off are filled with rest, relaxation and time spent doing the things you love. Taking regular breaks during shifts can also reduce or relieve stress and pressure of your working day.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Whatever role you take within the healthcare sector, or however long you spend learning and gaining your qualifications, it’s important that you never stop asking questions. Asking the right questions can save a patient’s life or improve their response to treatment. It prevents mistakes from being made and if you’re hoping to progress in your chosen career, this pragmatic and thorough approach can help you stand apart from other candidates.

Medical sciences and progress are always evolving, so don’t be afraid to ask the right questions to make the most out of your career and to help your patients.

9. Understand the value of working in a team

All healthcare professionals work as part of a team. And as an important part of a well-oiled machine, it’s vital that you recognize the importance of teamwork. Working together helps your department treat patients better, provide a higher standard of care and avoid disastrous mistakes.

There may be times when you struggle to get along with certain individuals in your team, however always remembering to do what’s best for your patients will help you overcome these kinds of obstacles. Always strive to be a team player, no matter your experience, your seniority, or your role within your department.

10. Saying No is just as important as saying Yes

As someone new to the healthcare industry, you’ll be eager to please. But that doesn’t mean you should do this at your own expense. Learning to say no from time to time will help you avoid burnout, or your good nature being taken advantage of.

Setting boundaries within your work will ensure that when you are working, you’re doing so to the best of your ability and that you’re not overtired or overworked.

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