Are you considering a career in healthcare? It is easy to see why so many people want to become doctors and nurses even from a young age because you know that you are making a positive difference in the world and saving lives each and every day. Healthcare workers have been viewed as heroes during COVID-19, and you can certainly enjoy career satisfaction, but healthcare is also an industry unlike any other, and there are some drawbacks. Therefore, it is helpful to know what to expect from a career in healthcare – keep reading to find out what to expect so that you can see if it is right for you.
It Is A Way Of Life
First, you will find that a career in healthcare is more a way of life than a job. If you are someone that wants to be able to work 9-5 and not have to worry about working in their spare time, then this is not an industry for you. Working in healthcare will impact your personal life, and you will have to work odd, long, and antisocial hours, so for many, it is a way of life, and you need to be willing to embrace this.
It Is Rewarding
Although it does impact your personal life, you will find that a career in healthcare is hugely rewarding, and many healthcare workers would not change for any other job. This is because you are saving people’s lives, improving their well-being, and helping them to become happier and healthier with your work. There is no greater feeling than someone getting better because of the work that you are doing, and this can make all of the negatives worth it in the end.
There Will Be Dark Days
Following this, the other side of healthcare is that there will be dark days and times when there is nothing that you can do for your patients. Seeing people die, giving terminal diagnoses, and seeing people suffering and in pain will inevitably take its toll, especially when you enjoy spending time with the patient. You do learn to manage these dark days, but they will always leave their mark, and this is, unfortunately, all part of the job. This is why you need to make sure that you have a strong support network in place both at work and at home so that you have people that you can turn to during these dark days.
You Need A Strong Stomach & Thick Skin
You will also be seeing things that shock, alarm, and disgust you on a daily basis. This can feel overwhelming at first, and many people struggle, but you do learn to take it in your stride and get on with the job. In addition to having a strong stomach, you also need to have thick skin as a healthcare professional. This is because you will be shouted at, called names, and told off, whether this is from doctors, nurses, patients, and/or loved ones of patients. You are working in a high-pressure environment, so emotions can flare, and you need to be able to face this without it impacting the quality of your work.
You Can Work Anywhere
One often overlooked benefit of working in healthcare is that you can find work anywhere. There is always a need for skilled healthcare workers, and there is currently a nursing shortage, so now could be a good time to enter the workforce. This means that it should not be too hard to find work whether you want to find work close to where you live, or you want to move to a new city or even country. Many healthcare workers like to travel and work in the early stages of their career, and this can be a great way to gain experience while having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
You Can Always Progress & Earn New Qualifications
Another benefit of a career in healthcare is that it is always possible to advance your career to take on extra responsibilities and earn more money, and qualifications are usually the best way to go about doing this. Nurses can take the online family nursing practitioner program to advance their careers and develop the skills and knowledge that are required to become a family nurse practitioners. As an online program, it can be easier to fit into your schedule as well.
You Need To Master Time Management
With any role in healthcare, it is vital that you master time management as your time will be precious, and it will feel like there are not enough hours in the day. You need to know how to make the most out of your time at work so that you can provide the highest possible level of care for your patients and give everyone enough attention. In addition to this, you also need to master the time that you have in your free time. When you work long, antisocial hours, it is important that you are able to give enough time to the other important areas of your life like relationships, hobbies, exercise, and, of course, sleep. This is why healthcare workers often create schedules for their free time so that they are able to stay on top of everything.
It Is Hard To Switch Off
Following this, it is hard to switch off from work when you work in healthcare. Due to the nature of the work and the high pressure, many people find it hard to switch off and make the most out of their free time. Everyone is different, but you need to try and find a way to switch off so that you can keep work and home separate. A few ideas that could help include meditation, exercise, socializing, or simply taking a shower and getting changed after work.
Shift Work Has Benefits
Although shift work can take its toll, especially when working in a high-pressure environment, you will find that it does have its benefits, and many healthcare workers would not switch for a typical 9-5 role. When you work shifts, you can enjoy multiple days off in a row, and many find that it can provide a good work-life balance. Additionally, you will often be off when other people are working, which means that places like the gym and grocery store will be quieter. It can take some getting used to, but shift work can offer more benefits than drawbacks and can work well for many people.
Healthcare Workers Have A Strong Community
As healthcare is such a unique industry and you have to deal with difficult things on a daily basis, you will find that there is a strong community amongst healthcare workers (particularly nurses). There is a feeling of everyone being in it together, which means that you can develop a great support network at work as your colleagues will be there for you when you need it, whether this is practical or emotional support. Additionally, this means that healthcare workers often find friends for life at work, and it can be helpful to have friends in your life that understand your line of work. Although this is beneficial, many people find that spending time with non-healthcare workers is important as a way to switch off from work.
You, Will, Become Everyone’s Doctor
When you work in healthcare – in any role – you will find that you become a doctor for everyone that you know. Friends, family members, and even neighbors are likely to come to you when they have any kind of health complaint. Some people enjoy this, but for others, it can be a burden. Additionally, due to your level of knowledge, you might find yourself thinking about the health of your loved ones and perhaps worrying more than others do. Of course, this can be helpful as you may be able to help them to seek medical care in a timely manner, but it can also take its toll when you are worried about the people that you love.
You Need To Look After Your Own Health
Finally, you must also make sure that you look after your own health. Due to the nature of the work, it can be easy to neglect your own health, but this is obviously dangerous and can impact all areas of your life. You need to make sure that you are eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated throughout your shift, and leading a healthy lifestyle in your free time. Additionally, if you are struggling with your mental health, then you should never “power through” and always seek support and let your boss know. You are not doing anyone any favors by working if you are struggling or burned out.
Hopefully, this post will give you an idea of what it is like to work in healthcare. Healthcare can be a fantastic area to work in with many perks, but there are also a number of unique challenges and issues to be aware of with this type of work.