Whether in nursing, therapy, administration, or any other role in healthcare, it is quite possible to feel stuck in a rut in your career. Performing the same functions repeatedly for years can create monotony by decreasing the excitement that accompanies new learning opportunities.
Besides monotony, healthcare professionals also develop new career aspirations over the years. They change their outlook on where they want to see themselves in the future. But, sometimes, they feel stuck in their career, unable to move ahead. So here we are, introducing you to all the ways you can progress your career in healthcare.
- Self-asses yourself
If you are not ready to take any steps right away, start with conducting a self-assessment. In self-assessment, you deliberate on where you are standing professionally and personally and what path to career development you want to take. It helps you identify the skill and qualification gap barring you from reaching your true potential. Self-assessments are highly effective in designing a plan of action. As a result of this exercise, you might identify that you need “XYZ” training and skills to take the big leap in your career. Once you critically appraise yourself, you can decide the job or career you want to get into.
- Specialize in the area of your choice
Many healthcare professionals, including nurses, perform general responsibilities for years with no specialized work area. They don’t realize that getting a specialization such as Nurse Midwives or Family Nurse Practitioners makes them experts in their work area. Earning these specializations is not difficult. Nurses, as well as other healthcare professionals, can easily do so online. For instance, a nurse with a BSN degree can enroll in BSN to FNP online program and enter the domain of family health.
In recent years, the demand for nurse practitioners with a specialization is much more than for RNs with no specialized practice area. According to BLS, the job outlook for registered nurses from 2020 to 2030 is 9 percent. However, at 45%, the job outlook for Family Nurse Practitioners is five times more than RNs. These numbers are eye-openers for all the nurses who have been postponing their specialization for years.
- Earn a new degree
Healthcare is a diverse field. Therefore, it is seldom enough for healthcare professionals to keep working with one degree. Moreover, it is a well-accepted fact that getting a new degree in the healthcare field can speed up your development process. For instance, if you are a nurse with a diploma in nursing, earning a BSN degree is a surefire way to progress your nursing career. Higher qualifications translate into more meaningful responsibilities and better control over your work. A BSN degree also increases job opportunities, and more hospitals and clinics will be ready to offer you a job.
The need for higher education is not limited to nurses. Healthcare professionals across all domains and departments are asking their employees to continue their education and improve their skills to match the changing healthcare demands. Only higher education can introduce you to new healthcare and technology trends. The good news about healthcare professionals is that their learning never stops. As healthcare continues to evolve perpetually, the need for educated staff with the most current knowledge increases too.
- Change your career domain
One of the ways to develop your career is by changing the work domain. You might have been working on the clinical side of a hospital for years. Now, you can transition to administrative jobs such as Clinical Manager, Health Services administrator, Hospital Administrator, Nurse Manager, etc. Though each of these will have its own educational and certification requirements, transitioning to one of them can surely help you climb higher on your career ladder.
- Eliminate distractions from your personal life
Often it is not the professional skills and capabilities that make you feel in a rut. The reasons can be more personal. You might be going through a tough period of divorce or child custody, or you might be dealing with a relationship that is not working anymore. These distractions at home are enough to distract you from the path of development and from exploring ways to climb up or upskill yourself.
Being unhappy in your personal life, constantly fighting with your spouse, or not having anyone to discuss your professional struggles create stress and deprivation. It bleeds over your professional progress at work.
So, as soon as possible, work on these issues one by one and eliminate these hurdles draining the energy you might otherwise use for progressing in your career.
- Take the initiative in your current healthcare career
Because of the critical nature of the work healthcare professionals engage in, healthcare does not want followers only. Healthcare professionals often find themselves in critical situations where they lead teams of professionals and make prompt decisions without the direct oversight of senior medical professionals. Therefore, it wants go-getters and initiators.
Taking the initiative in healthcare means becoming a leader and a problem solver. Others look up to you for direction on how they should work. Becoming a leader is one of the surefire ways to progress in your career.
When you take the initiative, you become the ideal candidate for a promotion to engage in high-responsibility tasks. Promotion is also one of the measures to gauge your professional progress.
- Find a mentor
As a healthcare professional, you might have developed a lot of connections with people inside and outside your work environment. Now is the time to leverage those relationships and networks to find a mentor.
Connecting with mentors can help you choose the path to professional development and progress. Your mentor can help you gain the right skills, qualifications, and training. You can discuss what you have in mind and the healthcare domain you want to enter. Don’t be afraid to get critical counsel about your career choices. Often their critical advice helps you stick with your goals and pass the hurdles that come your way.
Progressing within the career stream or moving to another field within healthcare becomes imperative if you want to eliminate the monotony of your work. But the key to advancing your career is appraising your options and deciding what path to take. Undoubtedly, the thought of progressing in your career brings fear of the unknown. But the good news is that you are not shooting arrows in the dark. There are time-tested ways of progressing in your healthcare career; some of them are listed above in this article.