5 WAYS TO SURVIVE A CAREER IN HEALTH CARE

Did you consider leaving health care last year?

Many of us working in health care this last year were pushed to the edge. Prior to Covid 19, we were already tired, overworked, and frustrated from struggling with documentation and insurance requirements. I had several friends and coworkers, understandably, who made career shifts, took breaks, or considered roles outside of patient care. But most of my friends have continued on despite the difficulties, and would not consider doing anything else!

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash


After celebrating 30 years in health care this June, here are some of the reasons that I have chosen to stay:

  1. Health care is an art. Although there is objectivity to the scientific research, every person presents a unique situation and their health issues may require differing responses.
  2. Health care is a constantly evolving system of research and development. There is always something new and interesting to learn and apply.
  3. The human body is amazing. Being able to witness the process of someone as they recover and heal is an awe inspiring privilege.
  4. You will meet and get to work with many amazing patients. I have worked with talented musicians, athletes, physicians, artists, writers, scientists, etc.
  5. Certain jobs in healthcare may offer a flexible schedule. Depending on your other interests or family needs, you may be able to schedule your work to fit your other commitments.
  6. You may develop deep friendships with coworkers as you lean on each other for moral support in a tough environment.
  7. You can stretch and develop your creativity in providing good communication for and education of patients.
  8. Health care jobs are wherever there are people! It is not usually difficult to find a good job, so you have the option of living and working almost anywhere.
  9. There can be an incredible variety of positions in most health care careers. There are many types of health related businesses, a large variety of patients, and many areas in which you can develop your skills.
  10. There is an emotional benefit that comes with helping others. The satisfaction that comes from knowing you made a difference is healthy for your brain and heart. Even if your work environment is tough, when you see that you have made a difference, it is rewarding.

A few concepts that have helped me survive my time in healthcare:

1. Know your weaknesses. Minimize the time you spend doing things that you do not enjoy. Don’t volunteer for the Quality Assurance team if you hate details. If you dislike speaking in front of groups, trade with someone who loves it when you can.

2. Maximize time with activities that allow you to work in your areas of strength. If you love hospitality, volunteer for the team-building events. If you love to write, offer to help with the marketing efforts.

3. Arrange your schedule to do the difficult tasks when you are fresh, or when you can layer them with a bonus. Reward yourself with a cup of coffee and a quiet corner for documentation if it is difficult for you to stay on top of it! Schedule a task you love after completing an assignment you find frustrating.

4. Find a position that allows you to work in the areas that you most enjoy. If you are compassionate, you may love working with patients with cancer. If you love sports, you might prefer a younger orthopedic setting. Health care does provide great variety and multiple options for most positions.

5. Take a class to specialize in an area that you enjoy. Invest in yourself so that you can make a greater impact. You will find joy in being more helpful, and may even find more fulfilling roles and better pay.

If you are not aware of your strengths or gifting, here are two great tests that can guide you to finding a a great fit: Clifton Strengths Assessment is an excellent career/job focussed assessment and the Gifts, Passions, Story Assessment (GPS) is a spiritually focussed assessment. I have found them both to be very helpful!

When you are prepared with good educational resources you are more able to help patients make positive changes. Improved outcomes will help you feel positive about your work. Check out my patient and senior centered educational handouts for maximal efficiency and effectiveness!

I would love to know your thoughts on working in health care. What has your experience been? What tips would you give to someone considering a job in this field?

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