Your Career in Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide
In the last few months, more focus than ever has been placed on the healthcare system: the last line of defense against the coronavirus that has ravaged communities and businesses across the United States and beyond. With nurses and doctors working overtime, in stressful and often dangerous conditions, they're becoming the new heroes of the twenty-first century, as communities realize the importance that healthcare has assumed in our lives.
No wonder, then, that more people than ever are looking to start a career in this vital service. This article looks in depth at how you can get trained as a healthcare practitioner, and how you'll be able to build your career in healthcare over the long term.
Healthcare professionals require key skillsto enter the industry. Without these skills - acquired through training - you'll not be able to serve patients from all walks of life in healthcare centers, hospitals and surgeries across the nation.
These skills are, in fact, vital: without them, regulations will prevent you from nursing patients, or helping diagnose them in the position of a doctor or surgeon.
That said, to be a worker in the healthcare industry, you don't necessarily need to work alongside patients. You can clean and prepare beds for patients, or work in data centers and in the back office to help register new patients and to welcome them into a hospital. These careers require less training - but it's on nurses, doctors and surgeons that this article will focus.
All education begins at school. Unfortunately, for many in the modern world, school is not taken seriously, and their grades can suffer as a result. If you're young and aspiring to work in healthcare, you need to take responsibility for your studiesas early as possible - that way, you'll be able to sail into university as soon as your junior education is completed.
For those who have poor grades from school, you always have the opportunity to retake your exams at a later date. This might be essential for many healthcare courses at university, which operate with minimum entry requirements to ensure that all of their students are up to speed with learning and subject knowledge as they begin their studies.
So, here's the advice: if you're still in school, concentrate on getting the very best grades in your science subjects as possible. And if you're not, go back to retake important science exams - after a period of study and revision - to qualify you for university and the many courses available there. Whether you want to be a doctor or a nurse on the RN to MSN course, you'll need good grades to get into university.
University and Higher Education
Some individuals choose to move directly into university at the end of their school careers. Others work for many years before returning to education. In contrast, others still decide that they want to enter the healthcare industry several years after pursuing a different career - and even an additional degree.
What you need to know is that it's never too late to join a higher education course to help you enter the healthcare industry. All you need is the drive, the passion, and the grades behind you to apply - and a good loan or source of funding, of course, to pay your way.
With the help of fast-track course like the RN to MSN course, which advances qualified nurses quickly to the level of a senior nurse, you're able to hit the ground running in your career, making up for lost time as you study towards your future position in hospitals up and down the country.
Courses at University
Naturally, the courses that you choose to study at university will decide which department of a hospital you work in. Medicine courses will qualify you as a general practitioner of medicine - a doctor who can treat a wide variety of ailments. Meanwhile, those who are more interested in a specific area of medicine - like radiography - can quickly specialize in those areas if they so wish.
On the other hand, the nurse's degree takes slightly less time, but is just as intense. There's a great deal to learn, and that's what the RN to MSN degree program conversion aims to facilitate - the speedy transition from a junior nurse to one with a master's degree, and a level of seniority in the workplace. The RN to MSN course is renowned for delivering outstanding nurses into well-paid senior positions across the United States.
Many healthcare professionals are excited to enter the fray as soon as they've finished their degree program and qualified as a doctor or a nurse. In truth, you'll already have been 'in the fray' for some months, and sometimes years, as part of your on-the-job training. This is what the RN to MSN course involves, as well as most doctoral courses.
But, once you are truly free from the educational institutions that produced you, where should you aim to work to climb the ladder and progress in your career? The truth is, most healthcare professionals take their degree and continue working in their local hospital for several months, and sometimes years, before advancing elsewhere. This is useful if you do plan on embarking on a conversion, advancement course like that offered by the RN to MSN program.
Meanwhile, there are opportunities to learn on the job that goes well beyond simply studying for a master's. For instance, partnering with a senior nurse on the ward, and shadowing them, can help you to develop a keen eye for the best practices in nursing. The very same can be said of doctors, who learn from their elders for many years after graduating officially.
One of the well-publicized benefits of studying to become a nurse or a doctor is that you're able to get a job anywhere, at any time. This means that you can stop off on vacation in a foreign country and apply to work in a local hospital to prolong your time abroad indefinitely. If you're interested in living in the UK, Australia, India or Zimbabwe, these countries all need qualified doctors and nurses to bolster their healthcare systems. Indeed, all countries in the world will be happy to take a US-trained doctor or nurse.
The opportunity to work abroad isn't just one that'll bring you valuable life experiences and cherished memories - it'll also set you apart from other doctors when you return home. This kind of high-pressured work can often give you positions in some of the best hospitals, working for the very best healthcare providers in the world. It'll also mark you out as an adventurous, hard-working and curious soul, which will help you progress your learning and your career through further education in the future.
Learning on the Job
The aforementioned RN to MSN course is the perfect example of a career-advancing investment that also enables you to continue performing the job that you love. The RN to MSN course is highly-valued as a career move because it keeps nurses in paid employment as they gain their master's degree - simply requiring them to learn a little more on the job, and to pick up skills from tuition which they can instantly apply to their career.
Doctors have myriad opportunities for similar advancement in their own careers - and, indeed, some doctors only choose to specialize and developkey skills in a particular area of medicine after many decades working in different departments and experiencing different sides to the medical profession. Some choose to remain 'general practitioners' all of their lives - enjoying the variety more than anything else. In any case, the learning on the job in these cases is constant - and nourishing.
Throughout your career, you'll come across doctors, nurses and other healthcare leaders who will help you advance your career and seize opportunities you never knew existed. The best way to make the connections that'll help you reach the career heights in healthcare that you aspire to is to network actively, and throughout your career. You can make use of networking opportunities by:
Representing your hospital at events and open days whenever they occur.
Being an active part of the branding and PR team in your hospital, talking to journalists and PR experts.
Using career advancement websites like LinkedIn to find those professionals who might be able to help you in your career.
Attending seminars and webinars on healthcare in general - or in an area of medicine you're particularly interested - and talking to those who are attending.
Going to industry conferences and workshops, where you'll likewise meat a range of experts and specialists.
It's in these kinds of networking events that you'll find the key contacts that might help you to make sideways move into a specialist hospital, or into a more senior role.
Make Yourself Known
Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, on the ward there's only one kind of doctor or nurse that's admired, and that's one that takes the responsibility to work that bit harder than all the rest, making themselves both indispensable and central to the ambitions and work within the hospital. Make sure you're speaking out for your staff, and patients, whenever you can, to gain the respect of your colleagues.
Meanwhile, you should be sure to treat every patient with the courtesy and respect that you learned on your course. While this might seem like an obvious point, it's easy to let things get on top of you during a busy hospital shift - and lashing out at patients, or treating them with less respect than they deserve, can hurt your career ambitions.
Most of all, it's important that you find a place for yourself in your healthcare institution, which plays to your strengths. Often, this will mean taking the lead role in one of many daily activities, while allowing others to fill positions that they're most comfortable in. And, as you'll all rely on one another, this is a great way to bind your healthcare team together, making for an excellent place of work.
Overtime and Work-Life Balance
Whether you're working harder than usual because you're studying for your RM to MSN conversion, or you're simply taking more overtime shifts to help your hospital get through a peak of activity, you should always have one eye on your own mental and physical health. Burnout is famously a common occurrence in hospitals, and it's your responsibility to know when you need a little time off - for the good of your patients, as well as yourself.
Maintaining a good work-life balanceis all about being conscious of how much you can take at work, and what time off you need. Developing this self-knowledge is crucial if you're to make the most of your career without alienating colleagues and running yourself into the ground. Give yourself time off - with friends and family, and in meaningful activities - to maintain the all-important work-life balance that is so easily destabilized in careers in healthcare.
For many doctors and nurses, the latter parts of their career are more about stability and security, rather than the thrilling hustle and bustle that they enjoy in the early parts of their careers. As such, it's often the case that those doctors and nurses with young familiesoften choose to progress their careers to a more comfortable work-life balance, which affords them a little more time at home.
In these cases, there is again a multitude of options. For those who have diligently studied the RN to MSN course, their seniority will be attractive to smaller healthcare institutions and surgeries that offer bespoke services to patients.
The RN to MSN course, and similar degree conversions, mean that you're able to pick and choose your shifts, and find better and more agreeable working conditions in the latter part of your career - the perfect leg-up into roles that allow you to spend more time with your family.
This comprehensive guide to your career as a healthcare professional will give you the knowledge, the tools and the understanding to build out the perfect career for yourself in the field of healthcare.
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