In 2010 I started studying Health Sciences with the Open University. At first, this was purely to improve my knowledge of health sciences, but as the course progressed I started to become more interested in health as a career choice, and naturally, started to look into what I, at the age of 36, could achieve. Admittedly, the research I did never resulted in a radical change in career (I was still coming to terms with no longer being a “City boy” in the banking sector), but what I learned may certainly be useful to others, so, here is my latest blog post.
Things to Consider Before Pursuing a Career in Healthcare
If you are passionate about health and fitness, it’s not unusual to want to pursue a career in either the healthcare or fitness industries – or perhaps even both. I have already written about the fitness industry here, where I touched upon healthcare too.
If you’re passionate enough about health and fitness to want to help others be the healthiest version of themselves for the rest of your life, it may well be that a career in the health or fitness industry is the best choice for you. But, before you start putting together your plan of action for your dream career, it’s important to take a few key factors into consideration.
Obtaining Education and Training
For the vast majority of careers available in the healthcare and fitness industries, you will need to obtain some level of formal education and training beforehand, usually in the form of a diploma or degree.
Before you jump into planning your future career, it’s a good idea to research the different degrees and qualifications required for specific career paths which you are interested in. Along with that, you’ll need to figure out how you are going to do the course. Whilst most colleges offer healthcare based courses, it’s also a good idea to consider online learning schools, too – for example Bradley University, where you can study right up to a doctorate in nursing practice online.
Your Skills and Strengths
Each career option in the healthcare industry requires certain skills and strengths which not everybody has. Before you embark on your future career plan, it’s important to evaluate your own skills and strengths to figure out whether or not you are a good fit for the job.
Whilst you will be able to learn a whole range of relevant and necessary skills when studying a course such as a DNP online, there are various skills, characteristics and personality traits that are required for many healthcare jobs.
Where Do You Want to Work?
If you’re set on pursuing a career in healthcare but aren’t yet one hundred percent sure on the specific role that you’d like to do, a good way to help yourself come to an informed decision is to ask yourself questions about the setting in which you would like to work.
If you’d prefer to work in a hospital setting and/or a healthcare managerial role, a doctor of nursing practice degree could be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you’d rather work office hours, a GP or nurse practitioner may be a good choice.
You should think about the kind of interactions that you will be having on the job – if you don’t enjoy interacting with new people, you might want to steer clear of the hospital setting and work in a lab instead where you can still help people, but indirectly.
Speak To Healthcare Workers
I cannot emphasize this enough – talk to healthcare workers! Ideally, you will have some friends or family connections who are already working in the sector. Contact them, and ask if you can spend an hour chatting to them about their work. This is a good way to learn more about the profession before committing yourself to a long, expensive training course. If you can, ask to shadow somebody for a day to get some first-hand experience.
Things To Remember
Unlike working as a personal trainer, if you work in healthcare it will be expected that you will be available for work at any time. Forget about evenings sat in front of the television, constant weekends away and enjoying Christmas dinner with the family – you will have to work unsociable hours for most of your working career – that’s nights, weekends, holidays, your birthday, your wife’s birthday, your kids birthdays. Yes, you will be able to book time off, but you may always be asked to fill in at the last minute. This may sound dreadful, but in reality, it is not much different from the retail and hospitality sector.
Working in healthcare can be a hugely rewarding and very lucrative career option. But, with so many different fields of healthcare which you could possibly end up getting into, it’s important that you make the right decision for your future. Before pursuing a healthcare career, it’s important to make sure that it’s a good fit for you.