Building a Career in Healthcare: A Complete Guide


With healthcare systems thrust into the global spotlight in the present moment of pandemic, this is the perfect time to examine your long-held ambitions of working in the healthcare industry. Whether you’re motivated by the social prestige, the meaning ascribed to saving lives, or simply by helping people from your community, healthcare is famously a ‘job for life’. In this article, you’ll learn how to build your future career in healthcare, taking care of all the steps and considerations you need in order to propel yourself into a career working in hospitals.

Take School Seriously

As you’ll know, only the brightest and best can be doctors and nurses. There are hundreds of different anatomical and chemical systems to remember – and the slightest gap in your knowledge can lead to disaster for patients under your care. If you don’t have impressive grades, and you’re not prepared to apply yourself to your studies in high school and beyond, you’re unlikely to be an attractive proposition to a university or college course. Work hard specifically at:

  • All science subjects, especially biology and chemistry, which provide the theoretical backbone for most healthcare knowledge.
  • Subjects that deal with medicine in some way, such as psychology – helping you understand humans and humankind better.
  • Those subjects that develop analytical skills, which will help you analyze tricky patients. Think English literature, or mathematics.
  • Any course that will help develop your people skills, which are invaluable for doctors and nurses alike.

With all of this taken care of while you’re in school, you’ll be sure to develop the kind of profile that university administrators and hospitals are particularly interested in. And, with this behind you, you’ll be best-placed to build your future career in the ever-changing and challenging world of healthcare.

Choosing a Specialism

Your next challenge is to decide what role in the hospital that you would like to take. Are you best-suited to the diagnosis work? Would you prefer to work in the compassionate side of the healthcare system, or the practical side? Answering these questions will help you understand what role you’d be best deployed in when you begin to work in a hospital. Some of the skills you might like to build into a career include:

  • People skills: these are especially useful for ward nurses and for family doctors, who have to deal with a variety of sick and ill people from all walks of life.
  • Practical skills: these are best pursued by those who wish to be surgeons, working on complex surgery in the body.
  • Processing skills: there are many roles in hospitals that require special processing skills, like radiographers, who take care of patient X-rays.
  • Quick response skills: for those who relish working on the front line, there can be no better job than that of a paramedic – driving ambulances, and responding to calls.

With all this in mind, it’s your responsibility to think through the kind of further education that you will need to make it into the healthcare industry into a job that you’ll love for the rest of your life.

Getting to College

College is one of the most exciting and challenging experiences in life. It’s where you’ll learn to be truly independent, and where you’ll make friends that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. It’s also a place where you’ll learn the tricks of your particular trade in the healthcare industry – learning those skills and techniques that will stick with you for the rest of your life. While some degrees at college involve a lot of sleeping in and bunking off, your course will demand your complete focus and energy – and you’ll enjoy this challenge.

Having decided which course, and which role in the hospital, will suit you best, you’ll need to find your space on the right course for you and your future. Doctor training courses take a long time to complete, as you’ll be aware, so investing in this particular future is something that you should think particularly hard about. Meanwhile, you can find yourself a nurse’s course in many institutions across the country, including Baylor University’s accelerated BSN program for full-time nurse training, which accepts those with a passions and dedication for providing medical care.

Looking for Jobs

Now that you’re qualified, out of university or college, you’ll be ready to jump into the world of work. You’ll be aware that many medical institutions across the country – and, indeed, the world – require additional staff. As such, you’ll be able to move wherever you wish in order to take up your first post. Medical work is an excellent job for those who wish to discover new cities, states, and countries – and this should be a part of your ultimate decision regarding your first job. Remember also that:

  • Your first role will also be the most challenging – the learning curve will be particularly steep.
  • You will need to stay in your first role for at least a year or two to get to grips with life on the ward.
  • You should be sure to make contacts in hospitals around the country, and to make close, supportive friends in your own institution.
  • You should always look out for career progression opportunities, whether that’s in a further specialism, or added responsibilities.

Bearing in mind these key elements to your first role will help you plan out the future of your career calmly, giving yourself the best chance of success.

Avoiding Burnout

Finally, a quick word on that infamous word in the medical profession: burnout. As a demanding job, your healthcare services will often lead you to work overtime, back-to-back shifts, or long hours that are in support of difficult patients. Meanwhile, you’ll be receiving the psychological and emotional hits of occasionally losing patients that you’ve grown fond of over the years.

There are two key parts of life that you need to bolster when you work in healthcare: support systems, and self-care. You need friends and family who are behind you every step of your remarkable journey, but you also need to know how to care for yourself, in order to avoid any difficult moments in the months and years ahead.

There you have it: your complete guide to qualifying and working in the healthcare industry in 2020 and beyond.

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