male clinician

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

As a person that thrives off of nursing others back to full health, it’s only natural that you have gravitated to the field of healthcare. You enjoy what you do, you get real job satisfaction throughout the course of every shift, and you get to meet new people each and every day. In terms of your life as a working professional, you’re right where you need to be.

No matter how much you might love your profession, however, there will always come a time where you have to consider your place in the field. More to the point, there will come a time where you have to ask yourself: ‘Can I do more?’ If you don’t strive to advance your career in healthcare, you’ll never realize your true potential, and you’ll only be left to rue that once your career is over.

It’s time to stop wondering where the healthcare industry is going to take you throughout the next few years, and it’s now time to take action. Here’s what you can do to advance your career in healthcare:

Invest in further education

If you’re serious about taking steps forward in your career, then you’re going to have to seriously consider taking a step back into education. By going back to college or university and earning a degree that all the top healthcare employers want to see on your resume, you’ll open a plethora of prosperous doors for yourself going forward. What’s more, by taking a course, your knowledge regarding aspects such as medicine and good bedside manner will be sure to improve, which will only ever result in you becoming a more well-rounded healthcare professional.

The type of course that you enroll on will, of course, be completely dependent on what type of healthcare provider you are and what specific subject field you work in. If you’re a nurse that is looking to advance your career, for instance, then the type of program you should consider enrolling yourself upon should be a Master of Nursing degree. By taking this kind of course, you will receive a comprehensive education with regards to a whole host of specialist nurse subjects. From treatment quality to safety and efficiency, by devoting your time and effort to such a program, you will sharpen all the tools you need to realize your full nursing potential.

If you’re worried about balancing such an intense postgraduate course with your ongoing nursing career, fear not as it is very much achievable. Designed specifically for working nurses, the MSN Nursing degree offered by Spring Arbor University allows those that enroll upon it to complete their course online. This means that, should you opt to take this course or another of the like, you would be able to learn, revise, and study in your own time. As a result, you can better your future without having to worry about compromising your present performance in the nursing field.

Build your network

By networking, both within your healthcare organization and outside of it, you could stand to push your career very much in the right direction. This is because by building your network, not only will you forge connections that could put you in line for promotions further on down the line, but you will also sharpen your caregiving tools. By coming into contact with a plethora of different people and exchanging useful information and ideas with them, you will be sure to garner a broader understanding of the health sector – from fresh treatment approaches to information pertaining to new medicines, by meeting new people, you will no doubt unearth a useful piece of info at some point that you can then use to better your career. It is essential, then, that you get out there and try to converse with as many different people in the healthcare sector as you can. From work experience nurses to the Chief of Surgery, speak to everybody you can, and you will be sure to learn something new.

Networking could very well hold the key to you advancing in your healthcare career; you just have to find the time to do it. Of course, the demands of your day-to-day job are never going to make this an easy task, and you certainly cannot shirk on your responsibilities in order to be able to network. There are, however, a number of ways to accommodate networking into your schedule, no matter how many hours or shifts you work. One way to do so is to set yourself up with a LinkedIn profile. By going down this remote networking route, you will be able to get in touch with a host of worthwhile individuals without having to leave your home – if you get a spare five minutes during your shift, you might even be able to do it while at work. This is because LinkedIn is the place where all working professionals flock to in order to collaborate with one another and forge meaningful career connections. If you find that the demands of being a healthcare professional hold you back from building a network, then, don’t forget to turn to this online resource.

Always remain professional

The path that you have embarked on demands professionalism from you at all times. If you ever let your guard down in this sense, even if only for a short period of time, you could do serious damage to your career prospects going forward. By acting in an unprofessional manner with your patients, for instance, you could lose their trust in an instant. This is because you’re there to nurse them back to full health, and they’re not going to trust in your ability to do that if you don’t show yourself to be taking their situation seriously. If this were to happen and a patient was to request another treating physician as a result, you could then hold yourself back with regards to promotions in the future. Why would your head of department put you forward for a promotion if you can’t treat your own patients? It really is quite simple: you’re there to do a job for your patients – the most important job of all, no less, save their lives – not be their friend.

You’re going to find it much easier to remain professional at work if you resolve to remain professional in your downtime as well. It’s true; you should seek to remain in a professional mindset around the clock, as pursuing this kind of lifestyle will allow to pick up right where you left off every time you start a shift. What’s more, remaining professional at all times will allow you to avoid the plight of your social life creeping into your professional one. By, say, drinking too much alcohol the night before a shift, you might work sluggishly the next day, and that’ll do nothing to convince your superiors that you are the right person for a promotion. Or, by allowing unprofessional photographs of you to be uploaded online (whether you know they have been uploaded or not), you will instantly show yourself to be irresponsible and, thus, incapable of looking after your patient’s needs.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. You work harder than most people, so you definitely deserve to let your hair down every now and again. When you do decide to blow off some steam, however, just be sure not to do so in a way that is going to come back to haunt you while you’re at work.

Be a leader

Whether you’re just starting out on your healthcare career path or whether you’ve been trudging along with it for a number of years now, it never hurts to be a leader in your workspace. By taking on the onus of keeping others on the straight and narrow, you will show yourself to someone befitting of a big promotion. This is because the leading physicians, surgeons, and nurse practitioners of today don’t stay atop of their departments because of their expertise – they remain at the top because of their ability to lead.

When it comes to being a leader in your healthcare setting, you should:

  • Never be content with only focusing on your own performance – ensure that your colleagues are providing the best possible care at all times, too
  • Always showcase your confidence in being able to prescribe the right medicines and provide the best bedside treatment
  • Refrain from compromising your values in order to gain promotions, as this will only ever show you to be somebody that can be swayed (leaders never sway)
  • Make yourself reachable and accessible at all times, even during your downtime

If you seriously want to climb the ladder in the healthcare industry, you have to take career-advancing advice laid out above. Invest in further education, build your network, remain professional around the clock, and be a leader – if you do all of that, you’ll have the title ‘Chief’ placed in front of your name before you know it.