A Golden Opportunity: How to Prepare for a Job in Healthcare
The healthcare industry is currently one of the best places to seek employment in the USA. Opportunities are rife, with an average of 30,000 new roles regularly becoming available every month. That explosive growth isn’t set to stop. Projections suggest the number of jobs within healthcare will grow by 18% before 2026. The industry now employs more people than any other sector in the country, with reports suggesting that only the US government has more active workers. Healthcare even beats out retail for the number one spot.
We aren’t just talking highly-trained doctors, surgeons and other staff with years of college education either. The healthcare industry’s growth is bringing in thousands of job roles from across a range of fields. Everyone — from reception staff to supportive care providers — is seeing new opportunities.
If you are looking for a change of career path, now is the perfect time to consider a job in healthcare. Demand for competent employees is high. But this leads to two questions:
- How do you become a viable candidate for a role in the industry?
- How do you succeed in healthcare if you land the job?
For many, success is all about good preparation. Being ready for the job before you even step through the door could be the key to a long-life career in healthcare. So what steps can you take to support that goal?
Become Community Orientated
Healthcare often requires a lot of customer-facing work. You’ll likely be dealing with many different people throughout your working day — whether you are providing supportive care for patients in a hospital or arranging appointments for clients of a dental practice.
Preparation for this sort of work can start early. So get involved in opportunities that require similar community engagement. Volunteer roles or integrating yourself with local organizations can be a great way of supporting this sort of personal development.
But why not just wait until you start your role?
Because learning these skills now can help you adjust to your new position at a faster rate, and also impress employers. By building up your experience of face-to-face interaction, you can acquire essential skills for jobs in healthcare. These skills include confidence, patience, excellent communication, and team skills, as well as demonstrating you have the right attitude for the role.
Obtain Some Formal Training
There is no denying the healthcare industry can be a high-stress, high-intensity place to work. However, it is also incredibly rewarding. Based on employee happiness ratings submitted through staff surveys, those in healthcare are happier than the national average. To obtain this level of happiness from your job, though, you need to know what you are doing. In healthcare, the key to personal satisfaction is navigating those high-stress, high-intensity situations. Successful navigation of these situations is often down to competence and an ability to perform.
The more you can learn about how to cope and handle your role before starting your career in healthcare, the better. This means — where possible — you should obtain formal training. Internships and shadow schemes are incredibly powerful ways to learn what you need. Courses in patient care, computer software, project management, and other general skills will provide crucial advantages to you once you start your job.
Formal training has the added benefit of looking good on your resume and boosting your chances of landing work in the first place.
Learn about Your Sector
When you go into a Starbucks, you expect the barista behind the counter to be able to tell you about the differences in the coffee they’re selling. When you go into an Apple store, you ask questions assuming the clerk knows which laptop or phone is going to suit your needs. While the healthcare industry is a bit more complicated, patients and clients are still going to ask questions and expect you to know what you are talking about.
As a result, you need to know what you are talking about.
You want to think about your specific niche within healthcare. For instance, are you going to be part of chiropractic, dentistry, or primary care? Become fluent in the language of your chosen specialism. Learn about the treatments and procedures; the costs and timeframes; the long-term results and the risk factors.
It will take time, effort, and dedication to achieve this level of insight. But it’s what people will expect of you when working in healthcare. Without this knowledge, you may find yourself unprepared for the demands of the job.
Equip Yourself with the Tools You Need
Once you’ve landed your job in healthcare, you are going to need to kit yourself out with the necessary tools for the job. Without the right equipment, you may struggle to integrate yourself and find the early days of your new career challenging.
If you are going into a supportive care role, for example, having a few good sets of nursing scrubs is vital. Looking the part can help you feel the part — boosting confidence and client trust. For a computer-based role, items as simple as glasses to avoid eye strain can be essential for effective and efficient work. Other equipment worth considering is technology to track your projects and tasks, as well as digital calendars for easily inputting work dates and timetables.
Understand the Industry
The healthcare industry is a complicated one.
While healthcare is mostly private, government and insurance providers also influence it. This means different sectors within healthcare have varying levels of control in terms of treatment options and patient care. So, while healthcare is supportive of care options and patient needs, there are also a lot of frustrations faced by both consumers and healthcare professionals.
Understanding the nature of healthcare and how it operates is crucial if you work within it. Ignorance of the plight of your clients and your colleagues is going to cause tension. Knowing the limitations and the restrictions of the industry allow you to understand how to offer the best patient care, support your peers — and ensures you follow the correct practices when necessary.
Educate yourself on how the industry works as a whole. Make sure you understand the politics behind it and what it’s like to be part of. The best way to do this is to discuss the ins and outs with somebody who has on the job experience. Anyone entering a healthcare career needs to know what it’s like to work within their specific sector — and what it’s like to be a patient or client too.