Working in a sector like healthcare can be rewarding and bring a huge amount of job satisfaction. There are challenges that come with working in such a demanding sector, which means it’s important to consider various factors before accepting a job. In such a large sector like healthcare, there are all sorts of different jobs to consider with varying levels of qualifications and experience needed. Let’s look at some of the things you should consider before working in healthcare.
1. The Income and Career Options
If working your way up the career ladder is important to you, consider the options for progression before accepting a job in the healthcare sector. Many jobs within this sector are specialized positions, which can often have the potential for career growth for those coming in at an entry level. Before accepting a job, speak to the employer and ask about options for progression.
You should also think about the salary you will receive, and the potential for this to increase over the years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should feel certain of getting promoted within the same organization, but that it should at least allow you to gain valuable experience to move on elsewhere.
2. The Flexibility of the Job
Flexibility is an important factor for many workers, particularly for those with children or other non-negotiable life commitments. Depending on the job you choose, there may be a high degree of flexibility within your role. For example, live-in carers are required to stay overnight at the home of their patients, but in return can find the day-to-day lifestyle offers more flexibility than working shifts in a hospital. Receptionist roles and other admin jobs within the healthcare system may offer work-from-home options or allow workers to benefit from flexible working hours by starting later or finishing earlier.
3. Looking After Your Own Health
Working in healthcare can help you to learn more about looking after yourself, but it can also cause a lot of stress and make it difficult to make time for self-care. It’s essential to understand the busy nature of the healthcare sector before taking up any position. You should put in place measures to mitigate stress and anxiety which results from work, such as prioritizing your sleep, going for regular massages and other treatments, and taking time off when you need.
Of course, the toll it may take on your health will depend on the type of job you have and the conditions under which you are working. Make any reasonable adjustments to help you work easier, such as bringing cushions or other desk accessories to an office job, and ensuring you drink enough water on your shift.
4. The Type of Job You Should Choose
The wide range of jobs in the healthcare sector make this one of the largest in the world. Those who have studied health sector management or have experience in managerial positions can consider a range of career options. People who have specialized in a specific type of care, such as palliative care, can consider jobs in settings such as hospitals or residential homes.
Working in healthcare doesn’t always mean it’s essential to have experience in this field. There are also many admin, marketing, procurement, and logistics roles which are suitable for people with skills gained in other sectors. Looking online at job vacancies can help you to learn more about the jobs in the healthcare sector and which roles you might qualify for.
5. Your Own Experience and Credentials
The experience and qualifications required will depend on the role you apply for. Some roles require staff to have very specific qualifications, while others will look for more practical experience. If you want to work directly with patients in a healthcare setting and haven’t done this before, it’s a good idea to gain some experience first. Volunteering in a healthcare setting such as a hospital or care home is a great way to get experience while learning more about working in this environment. It can help you to discover whether you really want to work in healthcare and can also enable you to get valuable references for the future from managers you have worked with.
If you have experience in healthcare or a related field, consider whether there is anything additional which may help you to get your desired job. For example, it might be helpful to study a short course or spend some time volunteering in a new setting for a few weeks.
6. Your Understanding of the Sector
The more you understand about a sector, the easier it can be to decide whether you want to work in it. Speak to people who have worked in the healthcare sector for a while or read blogs and articles from people who are willing to share their experiences.
Studying a subject related to healthcare can be a great way to learn more while also getting closer to health professionals and experts. Placements in hospitals or other care settings can help you to understand more. Talking to lecturers, tutors, doctors, and other health professionals can enable you to find the answers to your questions while also hearing first-hand about the experiences of people who work in this field.
7. The Availability of Jobs in Healthcare
Some areas will have more jobs available in the healthcare sector than others. It’s a good idea to look in your area, or the area you intend to work, to see which jobs are available. This will help you to learn more about the availability of jobs in the area and will also allow you to see the type of salary and benefits which are offered.
If you are looking to work in a very specialized healthcare role, this may mean that you need to travel further to find a suitable role or wait longer for a vacancy to appear. For some specialized roles, many healthcare workers find themselves relocating somewhere closer to the hospital or office where they will be based. You should be prepared for the possibility of relocating if you intend to take up a specialized position in the healthcare sector so consider this beforehand.
8. Working with Teams and Other People
If you enjoy working with other people, a job in the healthcare sector could be ideal for you. However, it will depend on the type of role you take up. If you’re an extroverted and sociable person, you may wish to consider a career which allows more interaction with other people. If you don’t feel the urge to work closely with others as part of your job, there are also roles within this sector that are more suited towards lone workers.
Although there are roles that rely less on teamwork than others, this doesn’t mean that you can work entirely alone. You will always need to interact with other people on various levels, which is why working in the healthcare sector tends to suit people who enjoy working in a team.
Working together as a team means there will be people who understand the same struggles and share a common experience. It also means you can ask your teammates for tips and advice about how they cope with the difficult aspects of the job or what they might recommend to a new member of staff.
9. The Qualities Needed to Work in Healthcare
Some people have personality types which are drawn to helping people who need it. Most of the people working in healthcare are caring, kind, and compassionate – some of the essential qualities needed to work in this field.
Having the qualities that fit well in a certain sector is important and can help you figure out which industry you should choose to work in. Above all, it’s important that you’re passionate about your job and you have a real desire to help people. In a job in the health sector, you may come across difficult situations or find yourself in a position where you need to communicate bad news to people. Being able to do this in a sensitive and compassionate way is critical and can deeply impact the experience of patients and their families.
10. Understanding the Priorities and Values
In the healthcare sector, certain situations can literally be a case of life or death. You might discover that priorities feel different in this sector than in others – the primary purpose is about helping patients and putting their needs first. Processes and procedures might feel more important in healthcare than they feel in other industries, and this can often be the case. Before working in any job in this field, you should consider the priorities and values and decide whether these align with your own.
There are many benefits to working in the healthcare sector, but like any job, it’s important to understand if this is right for you. Speaking to people with more experience, researching jobs near you, and expanding your qualifications and experience can help you to make a highly educated decision with as much information as possible.