The healthcare industry is one of the most important in the world, and working as a part of that global team is a wonderful honor. There are many, many different roles within the healthcare sector, each as important as the last. Changing the world and lives everywhere with research and care, the advances this industry has made are incredible. It is easy to see why so many people are interested in pursuing a healthcare career, as it is such a noble profession and very well respected.

However, the truth is that not everybody is cut out for these jobs. At the very least, a lot of people aren’t suited to frontline positions, as these are high-pressure environments. The decision to pursue a career in healthcare must be carefully considered. If you have had dreams about becoming a doctor, nurse, therapist, etc., ask yourself if you have truly weighed up the commitment this will take and whether or not you’re right for the job. Here are some of the main considerations you will need to think about before embarking on the journey of a healthcare career.

Time

Although there are a lot of jobs in healthcare that might stick to standard office hours, if you’re thinking about becoming a doctor or nurse in a hospital environment, you’re working hours will be vastly different. Be prepared to work night shifts, up to twelve-hour days (or more in desperate circumstances), and having to rotate your days off work. It will be a challenge to maintain a reasonable social life, especially if your friends work 9-5 jobs, and balancing family life could be hard at times, too. There may well come a time in your career when this balances out, but you must be prepared to dedicate this time and commit to that more unpredictable lifestyle at some point during your career if you want to work in frontline roles.

Education

Not only will you have to dedicate time to your job, but you will also need to commit to learning. Certain roles will require a university degree; others you might be able to learn as you work. In any case, you will need to be driven to learn more about your role and receive proper education in healthcare. There are many different routes you can take, and if you’re already a nurse, for example, you might want to think about what can you do with a DNP. A doctorate in nursing can lead to a variety of roles, including ones outside of a clinical setting, which may be where you’re interested in taking your career. Whatever role in healthcare you’re interested in, you must research what educational requirements are needed and be prepared to keep learning new things.

Pressure

In any job, you will have to deal with pressure from time to time, but in healthcare roles, you may face these circumstances more often than not. Again, working in hospitals as a first responder or dealing with patients daily is likely to be a role with the most pressure. However, this isn’t to say other jobs in healthcare don’t have their fair share of stressful days. You will have to be an individual who can work well under pressure and maintain their professionalism in the face of difficulty. If you don’t like conflict or shy away at the thought of dealing with tough situations, you might want to think again about pursuing a career in the medical field.

Consider Alternative Roles

As mentioned previously, many people dream of becoming doctors, nurses, and pursuing other more obvious roles in healthcare. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it’s always worth taking the time to think about other roles within the industry to make sure you’re not missing out on other opportunities. Jobs such as healthcare management and administration are just as important, as are laboratory and equipment technicians, orderlies, occupational therapists, nutritionists and dieticians, and radiation therapists, to name but a few of these alternative career paths.

People Skills

Being able to work with others and become part of the team is necessary everywhere, but in a healthcare job, you must be able to communicate properly with your colleagues. Not only must you be able to work well with the other medical and healthcare staff, but you will also need to be able to cope with patients and their loved ones, too. When it comes to people’s health, emotions run very high, especially if a patient is facing a terminal illness or has been involved in a life-threatening situation and is in critical condition. Their family members will be in an incredibly vulnerable state, as will the patient, and you will need to be able to talk to them about what’s going on, keep them as calm as possible, and make them feel as though they are being heard. You might even have to deliver bad news at some point, which will be very difficult. Compassion and patience are essential personality traits you will need to work in the healthcare industry, especially if you’re planning to be a doctor, surgeon, or nurse.

You’re Motivated by Others

What this means is that you will need to care enough about others to keep you going at your job. There will be days when things get tough and you will want to throw in the towel, but if you’re driven by making sure your patients are getting everything they need and everything you can give them, this will help get you through. Caring about the well-being of your fellow healthcare professionals and your team will also help, motivating you to do your bit for the team.

Can You Handle the Blood?

Okay, so not every healthcare role deals with blood and gore, but if you’re considering a career as a first responder or surgeon, you need to be able to handle it. This doesn’t mean you can watch a horror movie and not flinch, but how do you react when you see an injured person? Do vomit, blood, and other bodily fluids make you feel ill? If not, then you might have what it takes. You will see some horrific things working in those roles, so make sure you can cope with the reality of traumatic accidents and other medical emergencies.

A career in medicine or other healthcare fields can be incredibly rewarding, and you will certainly be contributing to the welfare of humanity. However, despite there being a variety of career paths available, it’s important you think carefully about whether or not you’re truly suited to working in this industry. Take the time to make your decision and choose the right path for you.

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