With so many new and tempting career fields available, how do you decide which one is right for you? Those of us in the healthcare field are granted the distinct privilege of supporting other human beings at times when they are most vulnerable.
Whether providing direct or indirect patient care, conducting critical diagnostic tests, managing a patient’s private information, developing new treatments, or keeping the technology infrastructure running, a patient’s well-being depends on numerous moving parts and the quality of each job done.
Choosing your healthcare career path can be both exciting and overwhelming because of the many options available today. I hope to provide guidance as you explore opportunities and take the next step toward fulfilling your career goals.
Ask yourself some questions
If you desire to help others, participate in science, be part of a team, be continually challenged, or find job security, then a healthcare career could be for you. Ask yourself:
- Why am I considering a healthcare career?
- What are my skills and strengths?
- What type of environment will I feel comfortable in?
A career in healthcare requires serious commitment, endurance and hard work. At times there can be high levels of stress; however, healthcare careers are some of the most stable and lucrative among all fields.
Some of the most important skills and abilities that a healthcare professional can have include:
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Technical abilities
- Strong work ethic
- Critical thinking skills
- Commitment to continuing education
- Compassion for others
- Team player
- Math and science (for a clinical career)
Two sectors to think about
Healthcare can be divided into two main areas: patient care and non-patient care. Patient care can focus on either direct or indirect care to people. Direct patient care positions can include nursing, physical therapist, perfusionist, physician, etc. Careers involving indirect patient care can include pharmacist, lab technologist, imaging (x-ray) technician, or social worker.
Non-patient care has both clinical and non-clinical career options. Clinical, non-patient care careers can include research, health information, case management, medical librarian and bioengineering. Non-clinical, non-patient care includes positions in business operations, financial management, facility management, and marketing.
When deciding which area is best for you, think about your interests, skills and how you could best help patients.
Lifestyle of a healthcare career
The last issue to consider is how a specific healthcare career will affect your personal life. Think about the responsibilities of various healthcare professions to help determine the best career path for you. Some of the common situations in healthcare careers include:
- Facing life and death decisions on a daily basis
- Managing the emotional aspects of caring for patients
- Practicing personal and patient safety precautions
- Managing stress
- Having knowledge of confidential patient information and maintaining that confidentiality
To find job descriptions, salary information and the projected need for specific healthcare careers, visit the US Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook.
About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University is an accredited online university that offers affordable and convenient healthcare degree programs. Their online degree programs are designed especially for busy, working professionals who need maximum flexibility while balancing school, family and work. To learn more, visit us at www.americansentinel.edu/healthcare/ or to hear from our students, visit our video library.