You didn’t become a healthcare professional to see your career flounder. You entered this highly demanding yet incredibly lucrative industry because you wanted to push yourself to reach the pinnacle of your potential.
Rest assured, no matter how long you have been a medical expert, there’s nothing stopping you from progressing in your industry. For this to be the case, however, you’re going to have to work at it. Your career dreams and aspirations aren’t going to fall into your lap – you have to go out there and chase them if you want them to become a reality.
Progressing as a medical professional is never going to be straightforward. As long as you are open to the idea of taking advice and embracing new forms of healthcare provision, however, everything will no doubt prove a lot easier for you.
Here are seven things you can do to take your career as a healthcare professional to the next level:
Learn More About Your Profession
Regardless of what specific role you play in the field of healthcare or how long you’ve played it, there’s always more for you to learn about your profession. Whether it’s a new form of patient care or a new way of administering medication, there’s always going to be something advanced or current for you to get your head around.
To ensure that you remain abreast of all the latest developments in your field, you will have to resolve to learn more about your profession. One way to do this is undertaking an advanced degree. By heading back into the world of education and enrolling on a postgraduate course in your specific healthcare niche, you could very well learn about topics that weren’t even conceived, let alone taught, while you were studying the first time around.
For example, if the specific healthcare profession that you work in is nursing, this step might entail you enrolling on a Family Nurse Practitioner course. If you embark on this kind of learning program, you will learn all about what it takes to deliver quality care to the patients of today. Specifically, as a student on such a course, you will:
- Develop clinical skills that allow you to work in a highly focused and accurate manner
- Hone your problem-solving skills to ensure that you are able to face all sorts of healthcare challenges
- Gain a better understanding of advanced practice nursing
- Learn how to lead in your workplace
- Strengthen your approach to patient compassion and empathy
- Know how to treat all your patient’s ailments (including their mental health and emotional wellbeing, for instance)
- Understand what it takes to go beyond treating a patient’s illness
- Deepen your knowledge of pharmacology, pathophysiology, and patient assessment
- Discover a range of resources as well as how to use them
If you’re worried that taking this type of intense course will distract you from your day-to-day responsibilities as a healthcare provider, fear not, as there are now plenty of ways to learn and study in your own time and at your pace. This is because many educational institutions, including Texas Woman’s University, now offer post masters FNP programs online. By enrolling on such a program, you will be able to take your modules as and when your schedule allows you to; this will allow you to find a better balance between being both a working professional and a student.
Hold Yourself Accountable for Your Mistakes and Weaknesses
You might not want to hold yourself accountable for mistakes that you make and weaknesses that you have, but embracing these aspects of your life will actually help you to improve as a healthcare provider in the long-run. For one, knowing and accepting that you are particularly weak when it comes to a certain task will stop you from taking on too heavy a burden with regards to it — this could very well stop you from making a costly mistake that ruins your chances of progressing in your career going forward.
Even more important still is that holding yourself accountable for your mistakes and reflecting on your weakness will help you put a plan for personal development into place. Remember not to be too hard on yourself should you ever do something wrong. So long as you put what you’ve learned about yourself to good use and actively make changes to better your performance as a healthcare provider, you will never fail.
One area that many healthcare providers struggle in is patient care. In particular, many doctors and nurses struggle to handle patients that just do not want to be treated. Don’t be disappointed in yourself if you do, say, find yourself losing your cool with a difficult patient at 2AM in the morning every so often. Instead, learn from the experience, and try to do things differently to make yourself a lot calmer under pressure. One way to do this is to embrace mindfulness.
Show Yourself to Be a Leader in Your Workplace
To prove that you have what it takes to take the next step in your career, you have to show yourself to be a leader in your workplace. Your healthcare institution’s chief physician will be sure to take more of an interest in your work if you take on the mantle of managing your colleagues, as this will show initiative, self-belief, and confidence on your part.
To display the leadership qualities that your superiors want to see from you, you should:
- Go out of your way to ensure that your colleagues are working to the best of their abilities at all times
- Display confidence in your own ability as a healthcare provider, even when you’ve made a mistake or there are gaps in your knowledge
- Never compromise your morals, values, or beliefs in order to get ahead, as doing this will just showcase the fact that you can be manipulated and swayed easily
- Remain in constant contact with everybody that you work with, from your chief physician to the interns that are undergoing work experience in your healthcare institution
Broaden Your Network
The broader your network, the easier it will be for you to progress in your career. With a wider range of healthcare professionals vouching for you and giving you references, you will find more career opportunities coming your way and more employers taking notice of you. You should, then, seek to broaden your network regardless of how many people you already know in your field.
This is never going to be a straightforward task. How can you be expected to network your way to success when you work every hour under the sun? Fear not, as there are ways to interact with other healthcare professionals and spread the word about your capabilities no matter how tight your schedule might be. One way to do this is to create a professional online presence for yourself. By setting yourself up with a LinkedIn page, you will be able to promote yourself and remain in contact with other medical experts while you’re on the go. Another route that you can take in this instance is to head to healthcare job fairs and trade shows. By heading to this kind of event, you will be able to come into contact with a plethora of professionals all at one time — this will allow you to schmooze all of the leaders in your industry in one fell swoop rather than spending copious amounts of time schmoozing them individually.
Try Different Approaches to Healthcare
Unfortunately, being a skilled healthcare provider and working hard on a day-to-day basis might not be enough to catapult your career to the next level. If you aren’t catching the eye of all the right people (i.e. your hospital’s committee, your chief physician, etc.), all of your efforts will be in vain. Quite simply, you will have to go out of your way to draw attention to yourself if you truly want to prove yourself worthy of a promotion.
To stand out from the crowd in this instance, you’re going to have to do something that none of your colleagues are doing. This means you’re going to have to dabble in different approaches to healthcare, one of which potentially being holism. By trying out the holistic approach to nursing and doctoring, you could very well find yourself being the talk of your hospital in no time, simply because you’ve tried something a little bit different.
If you decide to give holistic healthcare a go, it’s important to understand what you’re letting yourself in for. Mainly, this means being aware of the fact that holism doesn’t rely as heavily on ‘Western’ treatments like other forms of healthcare do. More to the point, if you take on this type of challenge, you will be tasked with treating your patients as a whole. You won’t just administer them medicines or treat their bodies through physiotherapy, but you will also teach them how to look after their body, their mind, and their soul.
As a holistic healthcare provider, on any given day, you could:
- Provide meditation therapy
- Give therapeutic massages
- Teach your patients about spirituality
- Offer hypnosis therapy
- Provide wellness coaching
Take Advantage of Your Positive Appraisals
All healthcare institutions have some sort of appraisal system in place, and yours will be no different. In some form or another, your patients will be able to review the care that you provided them and score you based on the performance that they believe you gave. First and foremost, you have to work hard to ensure that each individual patient scores you highly. Second of all, once you receive a positive appraisal from a patient, you cannot be afraid to make sure everybody knows about it.
You will have to take full advantage of your positive appraisals and toot your own horn with regards to them, as this is the only way you are going to prove your worth. To get the most out of your performance appraisals in this sense, you must discuss them with your superiors whenever it is appropriate for you to do so. Should you ever have a meeting with, say, your chief physician to discuss your development, you should be sure to bring up the fact that your patients are scoring you highly at some point during the conversation. Remember, though, that there is a fine line between talking about accomplishments and sounding like a complete braggart.
To walk this line with the utmost care, you should:
- Always seek to shift the focus back to your hard work
- Never belittle others to make yourself appear to be more successful
- Be sure to give credit where it’s due, even if that means sharing your successes with others
- Never embellish anything, and stick to the facts at all times
- Express gratitude, and thank everybody that helped you achieve your success
- Don’t use qualifiers such as ‘I hate to brag, but…’ – this will only draw attention to the fact that you know what you are saying sounds boastful
Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Constantly working or, on the other hand, allowing your personal life to impact your professional life will hold you back from realizing your full potential, and there’s no doubt about that. Quite simply, you need to find a healthy work-life balance.
By finding this all-important balance, you’ll find yourself performing in a far more focused and attentive manner when you’re at work. What’s more, you’ll be sure to get the rest and recuperation you need in your free time to ensure that you meet each new working day with a renewed sense of enthusiasm.
If you need a bit of assistance when it comes to improving your work-life balance, be sure to check out this helpful article on the matter.
If you’re to progress in your chosen career, you’re going to need to put all of the advice laid out above into practice. By doing this, you will be sure to broaden your skillset and learn more about yourself as a working professional in the healthcare industry.