Editorials 9 Ways to Progress in Your Healthcare Career

9 Ways to Progress in Your Healthcare Career

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When considering career progression, healthcare is one area you can always depend on to offer plenty of potential. With so many industries, career paths and roles within healthcare, you can always be certain that no matter what you’re doing, it is a rewarding field in which there’s always the potential to help people as well as furthering your own career plans. Not only that, but there’s always potential to change roles or paths within healthcare at any stage of your career, if you feel as though a new path is calling to you, or if you’d rather switch your specialization or learn a new skill.

If you’re considering the best ways to grow and develop within a healthcare setting and build a career which works for you, here are nine ways you can work to achieve that.

1. Set Your Goals

You might not be able to progress effectively if you don’t set clear goals, as you won’t know what you’re aiming for regarding career progression. Your goals should be personal to you, and you should focus on both short-term and long-term goals. Your goals might encompass purely your career, or you may also want to take into account lifestyle or location goals, too, such as eventually wanting to relocate, or eventually wanting to work different hours better suited around your lifestyle.

Whatever your goals are, you need to be clear about them to progress. It may be a good idea to start with your long-term goals — or, at the very least, one long-term goal to focus on — so that you can then break down the steps into lots of short-term goals which you can work to attain over a while, such as how you can enter into nurse practitioner programs.

You might want to be extremely organized with your goal planning, too, such as keeping a goal journal, or a dedicated plan or document which helps you to keep track of your steps and meeting your goals.

2. Do Your Research

Research should then go hand in hand with your goal planning. Once you know what it is that you’re trying to achieve, you can then perform relevant research into how exactly to accomplish your goals. For example, if one of your long-term goals is to reach a certain position within your healthcare career, you then may need to research precisely what you need to do (such as qualifications or experience) to be in with the best chance of being considered for such a position.

You can fulfil your research needs in many ways, such as consulting with online resources, information from books, or even speaking with healthcare professionals who can advise on key information and steps which you need to take, like those who have achieved the role you have been considering, or those who have undergone further training, like with nurse practitioner programs.

Additionally, your research could also include first-hand observation or experience regarding anything you’re considering. Perhaps you’re wondering about one particular healthcare role or career path which you’re not fully convinced of yet. It might be that some of your research needs to be in an observational or in a professional capacity, such as volunteer work, in which you can better understand certain roles or environments and decide whether they’re suited to you. Then you can begin to narrow it down.

3. Network with the Right People

With any career planning, sometimes it can be about who you know as well as what you know. With healthcare being such a wide-ranging and diverse industry, it’s a good idea to seek important contacts within your desired field or experience level.

You may also want to physically attend any networking events related to healthcare, or even just general events such as demonstrations, talks or trade shows, to learn more about the industry from those contacts working within it. Even just one valuable contact made can make a world of difference regarding advice, information or even just getting your foot in the door when it comes to a certain job role. They may even be able to offer advice regarding choosing further qualifications or specializations, like nurse practitioner programs, if they have been there and done that.

4. Get to Know Your Industry

To give yourself the best chance and build your confidence within your chosen field, it’s important to learn as much as you possibly can about your chosen healthcare industry. While of course there will be many key lessons you learn along the way and which can only be learned and developed through doing, committing to thorough background research and finding out as much as you can be key.

Furthermore, taking the time to learn as much as possible about your chosen industry in your spare time reflects a strong work ethic and passion for what you’re doing, which will always show in a positive light when it comes to job applications or resumes.

Getting to know your industry will also help you to understand better all the career paths and roles available to you, as you may even discover some that you didn’t know existed and which greatly interest you, like extra specializations for nurse practitioner programs or doctor specializations.

You may also even want to seek job roles within a specific industry to be in the right environment, even if the role isn’t directly related to your long-term career goal. For example, this could be working in an admin or reception position within a medical setting which exposes you to that kind of environment and the work done there, so that you have this experience and knowledge to work off when it comes to developing your healthcare roles further down the line.

5. Advance Your Specialization 

Furthering your healthcare career doesn’t have to mean switching to a new role entirely or developing down a different path; it could mean building upon the experience and qualifications you already have for a similar role at a higher level. You can advance your specialization, like with nurse practitioner programs, for example, to learn key new skills suited for your area of work.

Furthermore, with the ease of online learning and flexible training or courses which can be worked around you, advancing your specialization and learning more has never been easier.

6. Develop Your Qualifications

When it comes to medical or healthcare career paths, qualifications are going to mean everything. Not only are they important for direct relation to your own career roles and progression, such as a degree in nursing if you want to progress within nurse practitioner programs, but supportive qualifications may also help considerably when applying for certain job roles, even if they don’t directly relate. For example, a business qualification could be a huge boon if you’re looking for a healthcare position within a head office or a business environment like pharmaceuticals.

Be sure to develop your own education and qualifications as much as you can in the right way so that you always have these to bolster your resume and your applications when needed.

7. Gain Further Experience or Expertise

As well as broadening your qualifications, it’s also important to expand your experience or expertise in other ways. Think of everything you can possibly do to build your knowledge and understanding of your chosen healthcare area. Think of all the ways you can build your experience. Can you gain further experience from offering to work extra shifts, from shadowing others or from volunteer work? How can you gain extra expertise during your working hours and during your spare time?

Always be willing to learn more, as well as taking the time to understand how exactly you can build on these skills. Keep an open mind and your eyes open for opportunities which may be presented to you for you to further your experience or expertise. Online courses, like with online nurse practitioner programs, are ideal for developing expertise around current job roles or in your spare time.

8. Make Time for Appraisals 

Not only do you need to make plans for your own progression, but you need to be willing to discuss these plans with your boss or managers openly. Appraisals allow you to both discuss your own goals and ideas for your career path and also hear valuable feedback from others regarding your own position. Appraisals may mean that you learn something new about your own progression potential, and better understand how you can focus on the next steps to get there, such as being informed about the potential for nurse practitioner programs or an extra qualification.

You may be able to discuss with your boss any advice regarding what you need to do in the future, whether there is long-term progression potential and where you are currently placed for anything like promotions or extra responsibilities.

It’s important to note that appraisals, reviews and meetings may not always be made automatically for you, and there’s nothing wrong with broaching the subject yourself. If you feel that you would benefit from a discussion or meeting, or are concerned that you have never had a detailed review, then you can always request one with your superiors and fit it in.

If the opportunity for an appraisal is offered to you, don’t turn it down.

9. Be Available 

It’s always important to maintain a healthy and happy work-life balance. Even those who are extremely career-oriented should never have to forego a healthy home life or regular time off to meet their career goals. However, there may be times when you do need to make extra effort or sacrifices to progress. What’s important is making yourself available for any opportunities which are going to help your career.

If you’re constantly turning down extra shifts, events which happen on the weekend (such as medical talks or trips) or having to decline extra meetings or reviews which might need to occur outside of work hours, then this is not only limiting your experience with healthcare-related events, but it’s also telling those in charge that you’re not willing to put in a little extra effort for your job role. There will always be times when you can’t make it, such as when you can’t take on extra shifts due to home commitments, but at the very least you should always take the time to think about new opportunities and how you may be able to better work your home life around any extra responsibilities needed within your career.

After all, you can’t hope to seriously progress in your healthcare career if you’re not willing to put in the extra hard work, even if that might come at the cost of some of your spare time.

In Summary

The key points to take away from this guide include:

  • Set your goals. Whether short-term, long-term or both, always be sure you know what you’re working towards, what you want from your career, and how you can make it happen. 
  • Do your research. You can never conduct too much research. Anything which you feel you lack knowledge with or which you want to learn, take the time to do your research. Understand which healthcare positions are out there, and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
  • Network with the right people. Always make time for meeting new healthcare contacts and gaining valuable advice and insights. Attend any events and start important conversations.
  • Know your industry. Learn as much as you can about your industry or the industry you would like to go into it.
  • Advance your specialization. Whether it’s a specific doctor’s field, dental health or nurse practitioner programs, also be sure to look for new opportunities to build and grow with your chosen specialization. 
  • Develop your qualifications, experience and expertise. Always look for new ways to expand your resume and background, like with nurse practitioner programs.
  • Always gain relevant feedback and make time for appraisals. Ask for feedback regarding your current job role and how others believe you could better yourself.
  • Be open to further opportunities and make time for work opportunities. Don’t be quick to turn down extra shifts, responsibilities or work, as you could always learn something new.

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