A career in health care is one that appeals to many of us when we are younger. We like the idea of using our lives to help others and of doing something that society deems useful with our time. We see careers in health care as respectable and fulfilling. Health care is even a popular choice with older people looking for a career change. Many women go on to be midwives or nurses in later life, and older people often start work in care homes, even if they don’t want to go back to school to get extra qualifications to work in other areas of health.
But, despite being a popular ambition, the health care sector struggles. There always seems to be a nursing shortage. GP’s offices struggle to stay open because of a lack of staff and doctors, and other hospital staff seem to be working around the clock because there just aren’t enough of them. Part of the reason for this is that people jump into a career in health without honestly asking if it’s right for them. They end up leaving the profession after discovering that it wasn’t the right fit after all. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself before seeking out a job in health.
Do you Love to Learn?
To be a doctor, you probably already know that you’d need to stay at school for many years. But, have you considered the other learning? For any job in health, you need to be open to continual learning throughout your career. It never ends. New developments are made, there’s new research, new medications, new methods, new microtitre plate filters, even new ways to speak to patients. Whether you are a researcher, a surgeon, a ward nurse or a GP’s receptionist, you’ll never stop learning.
Why Do You Want to Work in Health Care?
There’s no right answer, but it’s always a good idea to understand your motivation as it can help you to follow the right path. If you want to spend your days with patients and their families and contact is important to you, you won’t want to be a surgeon or a researcher. If you love science and maths but struggle with empathy, then you might be better suited to a job behind the scenes.
If the answer is to make a lot of money or to please a family member, then you might not have to commitment to see it through, which could backfire horribly.
Where Do You Want to Work?
Health care isn’t just in hospitals. You could work in a doctors practice. You could even open your own private practice. You could work with children and young people. You could work in mental health. Or in old peoples homes. You could be a school nurse or work in the community. You could work in a hospice, or travel with the military. Think about where you’d like to work, but also how your skills and passions would fit in with these roles, and try to find something that matches.
The great thing about health care is that you’ll never be stuck. The position you choose at the beginning doesn’t need to be forever. With training, skills, and experience, you could move around the sector later on, if your needs changed or your skills could be more useful elsewhere.