The healthcare industry is one that can be incredibly rewarding to work in. Each and every day, you get to make a positive difference to people’s lives, promote good health, and even save people’s lives. It can be challenging and demanding work, but the level of job satisfaction is hard to top, so it is easy to see why so many people have an interest in this field. While it is good that it is so competitive because it means that people are getting the best possible care, it can also be hard to stand out and advance your career when you are competing against so many others. Here are a few tips for getting ahead in the healthcare industry.
Set Yourself Regular Career Goals
Ultimately, you are in control of your own destiny, so you need to make sure that you stay focused and that you are always looking ahead rather than treading water. The best way to do this is to set yourself regular and achievable career goals in both the long and short term. You should then celebrate these goals when you accomplish them to motivate yourself and ensure that you continue to progress.
Much like any career, one of the best ways to stand out and get noticed is to show passion and heart in your work. This is particularly important in healthcare because of the importance of the line of work, so it is vital that you are not just going through the motions when you are working. Make sure that you are going the extra mile, working hard to provide the best level of care, and being committed each and every day. This positive attitude will not go unnoticed, and it should also help you to get greater job satisfaction.
Improve Your Performance
Similarly, finding ways to improve your workplace performance is another effective way to advance your career. In addition to being better at your role, taking steps to make improvements also shows commitment and passion, which is what people look out for in any line of work. In order to improve your performance, you need to carefully think about what your strengths and weaknesses are, and take steps to improve in the areas you are lacking.
One of the best ways to identify the areas where you could make improvements is to seek feedback. It can be difficult to ask for feedback from your superior, but ultimately, you are doing yourself a massive service, because it allows you to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Plus, it also shows a willingness to learn and improve, which is vital if you want to climb the ladder and succeed in healthcare.
Develop Soft Skills
No matter where you work, the importance of good soft skills cannot be overstated. Well-developed soft skills can help to improve communication, improve your workplace performance, allow you to lead as well as work as part of a team, and be more efficient in everything that you do. You can usually improve soft skills simply with research and practice, but you may also find courses to be helpful. A few key soft skills that are particularly good for healthcare include:
- Communication skills
- Listening skills
- Presentational skills
- Time management
- Problem solving
Show Leadership Abilities
Leading on from this, you should also try to take the initiative and show leadership skills whenever you can. People will always stand out and be selected to advance when they have shown initiative and the ability to lead, as this is invaluable and not a trait that everyone possesses. You can do this by:
- Volunteering for additional experiences
- Co-coordinating staff when working together
- Coming forward with ideas and solutions
- Helping out staff who are struggling
- Being confident and decisive in all areas of work
Be A Team Player
Although you need to be able to demonstrate leadership skills, you must be careful to avoid being painted as a bad team player. Being able to work as part of a team is integral to success and providing the best level of care for patients, so you must also be able to demonstrate this. You can do this by being a good listener, by following instructions, through good communication skills, and by being eager to help no matter what the role is. This means that you will sometimes only play a small role and that other people may get the credit, but you need to be able to put the patients first and be willing to help in any way no matter how big or small. It is details like this that get noticed and can help an individual to stand out, as unfortunately, many people are too focused on themselves.
Working in healthcare is more of a way of life than a career. Those who thrive and make the biggest difference are the ones that fully immerse themselves in healthcare. There are a few different ways that you can do this, such as:
- Reading journals
- Attending industry events
- Carrying out research
- Volunteering for presentations
- Attending seminars
- Going the extra mile at work
Much like any career, it is helpful if you develop a large network of key contacts for a few reasons. It can help to increase awareness about your skills and abilities, it can open new doors, and it can allow you to form important connections in healthcare. You should certainly be networking online with platforms like Reddit, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These are all highly worthwhile, but you must not overlook the value of networking in person at healthcare events. Shaking someone by the hand, looking them in the eye, and introducing yourself can be much more memorable than simply following someone on social media.
Find A Mentor
Leading on from this, finding a mentor is an excellent way to get ahead in the healthcare industry. A mentor will be able to provide professional guidance, emotional support, and introduce you to key contacts who could help you to get ahead. Additionally, the healthcare industry is one which can be challenging and emotionally draining, so having someone in your corner that has been around the block and seen it all can be immensely helpful in terms of providing support and advice.
Form Relationships with Co-Workers
Healthcare is competitive, but there is a closeness and togetherness amongst staff that can be helpful in terms of emotional support and unity. You need to make sure that you get along with your co-workers so that you can help each other out and make every working day easier and more enjoyable for all. This positivity is incredibly important in healthcare and will not go unnoticed.
Connect with Patients
A good healthcare professional will have a good bedside manner and know how to connect with patients. You will be encountering people who are sick, ill, vulnerable, and afraid in this line of work, so being able to make a connection and provide medical and emotional support while retaining professionalism is a real skill and one that can take some time to develop. Although you need to be able to connect, you must also be able to disconnect at the end of the day so that you can avoid taking your work home with you (more on this to come).
Express Desire to Advance
It may seem obvious, but unless you make your intentions to advance and grow clear, then your superior may simply assume that you are happy where you are. Expressing your desire to advance will create a mental note for those above you and ensure they keep you in mind for relevant vacancies as well as tell you what you need to do in order to take the next step in your career.
Consider Moving Facilities
It can be intimidating and daunting, but in order to advance, you will sometimes need to move to a different healthcare facility. It is difficult when you have formed connections in one place, but ultimately, you need to be flexible and willing to move if you are serious about making it to the top. This may even involve moving to a new town or a totally different part of the country where there may be more job opportunities and better pay.
Stay Current with Healthcare News & Trends
The healthcare industry is one that is constantly changing, and what was practiced just 10 years ago is vastly different to what we see today. This means that you need to be on the ball and up to date with healthcare news and trends if you want to get ahead in this industry. It is easy to get left behind in this industry if you are not careful, so you need to make sure that you do not let this happen to you. Here are a few methods to ensure that you’re always up to date:
- Subscribing to respected publications
- Reading blogs
- Joining online communities
- Signing up to newsletters
- Following relevant people/organizations on social media
There is always more to learn in the healthcare industry, and continuing your education will be essential for climbing up the ladder. In addition to teaching you the relevant skills and knowledge to succeed, this also shows your eagerness and commitment to the industry. If you are a nurse, for example, then Texas Woman’s University nursing online programs can help you to get ahead, and they allow you to study online, which can make it much easier to juggle your work and study.
Separate Your Work & Home Life
As mentioned earlier, it is important that you are able to disconnect at the end of your shift. This can be much harder in the healthcare industry, because you have such important work and are dealing with people who are suffering. This is an area that many people struggle with, and the emotional toll of this industry can make it challenging to advance. It can take some time to be able to separate your work and home life, but here are a few tips:
- Avoid talking about work at home
- Find ways to relax in your free time
- Use your free time productively
- Change out of work clothes immediately
- Do something for you (hobbies, shopping, etc.)
Lead A Healthy Lifestyle
Another area that many people struggle with is leading a healthy lifestyle. This is hard when you work in healthcare, because you often work long, antisocial hours and do not get much time to focus on your own wellbeing. It is challenging, but you need to try and be healthy both while you are working and in your free time. This should involve:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Staying hydrated
- Doing regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
As anyone with experience in healthcare will tell you, this can be hugely challenging, but you need to make it a priority. When you lead a healthy lifestyle, it will help you to be energized, fresh, and ready for every shift, and it should also lessen the chances of you falling ill or suffering with your mental health. Mental health is an area that many healthcare professionals struggle with, so having someone that you can vent to, looking after your wellbeing, and speaking to a professional is important if you are struggling.
Anyone looking to advance their career in healthcare should heed the above advice. These are all highly effective strategies for enabling an individual to improve their workplace performance, develop their skillset, stand out from the crowd, and navigate the many challenges that this demanding industry can create. Working in healthcare can be immensely rewarding and provide great job satisfaction, but it can also be upsetting, challenging, and incredibly competitive. It is not an industry that everyone can thrive in, but those that do often do well for themselves and get a lot from their work. Combining a few of the above tips can deliver fast results and help you take the next step in your career as well as provide better care for your patients.