Overcoming the Challenges of a Healthcare Career
A career in healthcare is one of the most demanding jobs a person can have. It requires complete dedication, attention to detail, and accuracy, leaving no room for errors. Mistakes committed in a healthcare profession can literally be fatal, and the professional challenges that come with high pay and a recession-proof career abound. Our experiences in dealing with some of the most hardworking healthcare professionals have given us insights on ways to overcome these challenges. Below are some guidelines.
1. HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET WHEN ON THE JOB
If you’re a nurse, physical therapist or any other allied healthcare professional, you know that your work demands a lot of energy. When your shift supervisor gives you an eight-hour shift, it means eight hours of pure work with potentially no downtime. You’re up on your feet almost 100% of the time. You’re assigned critical tasks that will directly affect your patient’s life. Once you step into a healthcare facility, your environment drastically changes. From here on out, you will fully comprehend the meaning of the phrase “every second counts.”
Doubtlessly, your work is demanding! And for you to face this type of job head-on and succeed in it, you need to have the right mindset. Before you even go to work, prepare yourself emotionally and physically for the tasks ahead. Acknowledge that your job involves saving lives and healing people; not everyone is entrusted with that responsibility. Have a positive outlook at work. See all the benefits of the job more than the pressures. As a healthcare professional, you have a competitive salary which is nearly recession-proof. Your attitude at work will make all the difference between a job you love and a job you will end up abhorring.
2. COMPARTMENTALIZE YOUR LIFE
This one’s definitely easier said than done. If your personal problems will have a negative effect over your work life to the point that you are not able to function effectively on the job, then it’s either you don’t get a healthcare career or you do not report to work (if you’re already a professional). Remember, you perform critical functions. You support a system that nourishes or saves a person’s well being. Your focus and concentration on the job is very important. No less than 100% of your energy is needed. As I wrote earlier, mistakes in your job can be fatal. You wouldn’t want to think of your relationship problems when administering medication to your patient or when doing a blood test on someone. As a healthcare professional, the ability for you to demarcate in your mind when to think about personal issues and when to fully concentrate on work is vital not only to your success, but also to keeping your job and avoiding any mistakes that might cost you your job or your license.
3. WORK WELL WITH PEOPLE
As a nurse or allied health professional, it’s obvious you don’t do selling on the job. But your job has a lot to do with people. From fellow workers, to patients, to patients’ guardians or family, to doctors and facility administrators, your work revolves around people. Despite the fact that a lot of technical skills are expected of you, your career’s success is still dependent on your ability to work well with people.
Early in your career, learn how to work well with people, if this is one of your developmental areas. Enhance your personality by being friendlier, engage in conversations (when appropriate) with co-workers and peers; get to know them better. Understand people’s behavior and recognize their differences from yours. Your patients need your help at critical points in their life. The impact you can make in a person’s life is monumental. If you see people in your workplace as your partners on having a great health career, you will behave differently and acknowledge the need to become a person who would value care not only professionally, but also personally.
4. KNOW THAT PROVIDING CARE IS AS MUCH A CHARACTER TRAIT AS IT IS A SKILL
You could have been trained for years to become the healthcare professional that you are or that you want to be. You may be the most knowledgeable nurse, medical technician, therapist or hospital administrator your university has produced. You could even be the most qualified healthcare professional to have entered your facility. But if you don’t have the innate personality trait to care, then all your qualifications will be rubbish. The healthcare industry has, still is and will always be an industry in the world that involves caring for another and ensuring that the recipient of care receives what he/she needs. To succeed in this line of work, you need to have a genuine concern for others. It’s not a career that deals with paperwork and processes; you are directly involved in influencing the well-being of an individual. A healthcare professional is literally entrusted with someone’s life. You are partially, if not completely responsible for whatever happens to your patient. They are not only the reason why you have a job but they are also the most important foundation of your industry. Your patients epitomize the purpose of your career — to give care.
Caring is first and foremost a trait. It so happens that this level of care giving involves technical knowledge. You were not trained to monitor and track vital signs, perform medical procedures or administer medications for the sake of doing it. You were provided this knowledge to be able to keep your commitment — to care for people and devote yourself to their welfare.
Challenges abound in life. Since most of us have an 8-15 hour daily schedule we have to keep- called work, a lot of the challenges we face can come from one’s profession. But it’s our attitude that will determine if we can overcome these temporary obstacles. As one famous author says, “Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”