6 Considerations Before Transitioning to a Career in Healthcare
Have you been stuck in a job that is not interesting to you, or doesn’t fit with your current or desired lifestyle? Or maybe you have lost a job due to the recent economic downturn and desire a career with more stability. If so, you are not alone. According to a recent study by the employment website Indeed, almost 50% of people surveyed had completely changed their career choice. Careers in healthcare are in demand. According to US News and World Report, careers in healthcare consist of 8 out of the top 10 “Best Jobs” in the US. Healthcare careers appeal to people who want to help others, give back, feel fulfilled, and have a stable career. Take the following considerations into account when preparing to transition to a career in healthcare.
What are the Education Requirements?
You have done some self-reflection to determine your desired healthcare career. Be sure to research the educational path to start in that career, including the amount of schooling and costs of the training. Will prior college courses count for prerequisites, or will you need to retake some basic education classes before applying and entering the healthcare program? Find out if you can get scholarships or financial aid, and be sure to search for healthcare loan forgiveness programs. Many healthcare facilities will offer tuition reimbursement for employees.
How Can You Leverage Your Network?
The old saying, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know,” rings partially true in the healthcare field. Medicine and healthcare is a highly technical, specialized field. So, what you know is certainly essential to the job. But networking and making connections is important to get your foot in the door and open more job opportunities. Connections can provide advice, mentorship, and recommendations for employment, education, college, and training programs. How do you make those connections if you are not currently in the healthcare field? Networking is key!
Attend industry-specific networking events and mingle and ask questions. Ask for business cards or contact info. Be sure to ask to connect on LinkedIn. Stay connected with former coworkers, managers, teachers, and college professors. They can all remain great connections for future education and employment in the healthcare industry. By utilizing current technology through email and social media, it is easy to stay in touch.
Does Your Online Presence Reflect Your Relevant Skills?
Spruce up your resume to reflect the change in the industry. Even though your previous career may be unrelated to healthcare, prior employment can showcase important skills that recruiters and employers seek. Prior employment shows that you are dependable. Intangible soft skills are often lacking in recent high school or college graduates and are often picked up through on-the-job experience. Soft skills such as public speaking, teamwork, timeliness, and taking initiative are all important skills to focus on in a resume. Be sure to update your objective/summary to express what you can offer to your desired career field.
Be sure to connect on LinkedIn with professionals you know in your desired industry. LinkedIn can also serve as an online resume. Update your profile to reflect past education, employment, and a personal statement reflecting your qualities and how you can serve in your desired career. LinkedIn is a popular place for employers and recruiters to list job postings. You can upload a current resume and apply for jobs through the platform. By following mentors and companies of interest, you can say on top of cutting-edge news in the healthcare industry.
What Will Your Work Schedule Look Like?
Healthcare careers are desirable because they can be exciting, dependable, and flexible in opportunities. But keep in mind that many entry-level healthcare careers require working non-traditional job hours outside of the typical 9 to 5 weekday hours. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are run 24/7 for care, which requires employees willing and able to work evenings, overnights, weekends, and holidays. Most facilities will pay extra in shift differentials to entice employees to work those shifts. But be aware that this may cause you to alter family or social plans, disrupt family routines, and cause sleep issues.
How Will You Maintain Good Mental Health?
Healthcare is a field like no other. There are extreme highs of childbirth and miraculous recoveries of illness, along with lows of traumas, death, and dying. Healthcare workers need to be prepared to be able to emotionally process these experiences while supporting patients and families. Due to privacy and HIPAA regulations, you are unable to share details of these experiences to process your feelings with friends and families. So, it is important to take time to debrief appropriately with coworkers, and take time to reset by practicing self-care, mindfulness, and focusing on gratitude.
What Continuing Education Options are Available?
There is always something new to be learned in medicine. Healthcare careers are always changing. New technologies, medications, and treatments are continuously being researched, then available for use in your career. Continuing education is important in this industry. Your employer may provide in-services on new products, or you may be able to attend continuing education offerings, read peer-reviewed medical journals, or attend conferences to stay abreast of changes. You may be required to keep up with continuing education by your employer, or to maintain a professional license.