Is Healthcare a Good Career Path? Everything You Need to Know
Everyone has thought about working in healthcare at some point in life. The notion of being able to reunite families and bring joy to others is alluring. However, healthcare is not for everyone. There are obstacles and hardships aside from the satisfaction of helping people.
Take a look at this full analysis of working in healthcare and see if it is the right career path for you.
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Is Healthcare a Good Career Path?
Becoming nurses and doctors is a popular choice for young students. Aspiring healthcare workers are fascinated by the selfless work in this sector. Career-wise, the healthcare industry makes billions of dollars each world, with a growing trend in recent decades.
People are emphasizing the importance of healthcare, leading to a greater demand for professional staff. Now is a good time to join the industry to discover your passion. That said, it takes years of hard work and practice before you can gain your license.
There is a range of jobs available in the healthcare sector, including:
- Medical Assistant
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Licensed Practice Nurse (NLP)
- Home Health Aide
- Pharmacy Technician
- Dental Assistant
- And many others
The road to becoming a medical worker is treacherous. The expenses throughout the academic years can be costly for low-income households. There are a lot of pros and cons to joining the sector.
Pros of Working in Healthcare
1. Excellent Medical Benefits
As a healthcare worker, your medical needs are covered. Your package will clearly state the treatments and procedures you can claim. Institutions will generally offer discounts for non-essential treatments and even free essential treatments.
In the US, the healthcare sector is infamously inaccessible. People are unable to get adequate help. Securing medical benefits with work is the best way to protect your medical needs.
2. Benefits Extend to Your Family
Whether you work in private or public healthcare, it is almost certain that your package will cover your family’s medical treatments as well. Medical staff is highly valued. Extending the benefits to family members retains talents.
Healthcare workers choose to stay in the industry because of the all-rounded compensation for their families. You save a sizeable amount of money over the years with your healthcare plan covered by the company.
3. Demand for Medical Staff Is Rising Rapidly
With the pandemic and people urging healthcare reform, it is projected that the demand for healthcare workers will increase by at least 30% in the next decades. It creates millions of jobs across the entire field.
A rise in healthcare demand increases job security. Graduates are likely to land a job easily. In some states, medical research is booming. The healthcare sector in those states may show a larger jump in the economy.
4. It Is a Respectable Job
Healthcare workers are always respected. Working in this sector gives you an aurora above your head. People appreciate the work you do to care for patients and your ability to handle heartbreaking moments.
5. You Get Discounts Outside of Work
You probably have seen stickers outside of restaurants, shops, and other places, offering discounts for healthcare workers. This has been more prominent since the start of the pandemic. Everyone is doing what they can to show appreciation.
Healthcare workers are also entitled to mortgage discounts and other promotions with the bank. It is an honorable job that brings lots of benefits outside of work.
6. It Is a Satisfying Job
Despite the hardship you face at work, working in this field is irresistibly satisfying. You can’t enter the field without a heart to help. When you see patients getting discharged and family members thanking you for your hard work, all your effort is worth it.
Saving lives is a feeling you can’t compare with other jobs. You know you are creating a better world. That’s why many healthcare staff decide to stay even when the stress is immense.
7. It Pays Well
This is a direct reason for people to join the industry. Generally, healthcare workers get paid more than the state’s average. Depending on the state, it is not uncommon for workers to earn top dollar.
The charming offer encourages new blood to join the field. Since the demand for medical staff remains high, people are not concerned about the sector being oversaturated either. It is a stable career.
Cons of Working in Healthcare
1. The Stress Is High
Although not every position requires you to deal with life-and-death situations, you should expect it. Working with patients can cause unspeakable stress to your mental and physical health. Nurses and doctors often struggle with seeing patients in pain.
Over the years, you may learn to handle it better, but some people will never be able to digest it. Some workers even require therapy to cope with their symptoms. Not everyone will excel at handling the stress that comes with the job.
2. Unstable Work Hours
Unless you work in a research institution or a clinic, you will likely have to take up shifts at work. The unstable work hours will take a toll on your health. Working overnight is especially challenging for many workers.
A coordinator sets the schedule. Usually, you don’t get to pick the shift you want. Everyone in the department should get equal day and night shifts. Coming home after a few consecutive night shifts could damage your spirit for healthcare.
3. You May Be Exposed to Dangerous Situations
While the hospital is safer than most places, medical workers are exposed to life-threatening situations. At the beginning of COVID-19, hospitals scrambled to unravel the mystery behind this new virus. Before they managed to section off different wards, millions of healthcare workers were exposed to the risk.
These situations may arise in the future. This is an undeniable fact for workers. You must bear the risk that you could come into contact with a new virus. Contagious diseases may not be picked up immediately if they are combined with other symptoms.
4. You Have to Deal With Angry Patients
Patients in pain or family members not happy with the treatment plan can take it out on medical workers. Working in this field entails customer service skills. You have to calm people in your care and explain repeatedly how the treatment is supposed to work.
It can be frustrating to be targeted when you are giving all your care. Some patients may not see your dedication but only their struggles. There is no right or wrong in many instances. Therefore, the authority is unlikely to intervene unless the insult turns verbal or physical.
5. You Have to Work Through Holidays
Christmas, the Forth of July, Easter…Forget about celebrating during these special holidays because you will probably be working. Medical workers do not get the traditional holidays off to spend time with family.
Quite the contrary, most institutions require more people to be in during these special holidays if they anticipate higher chances for accidents. When the crowd parties in the city waiting for the new year countdown, you could be having a very quiet night in with patients resting in the ward.
6. You Have to Deal With the Bureaucracy and Administration
Unfortunately, there is no job in the world where bureaucracy doesn’t exist. You have to deal with the upper management and follow the rules. Institutions set different standards. These standards are not the same in every workplace, confusing new workers.
As a medical institution deals with the lives of people, everything has to be meticulously documented. The administration work can add up to the majority of your tasks. It may not be what you signed up for but it comes with the job.
How Can You Enter the Healthcare Field?
Unlike many fields where the learn-by-doing approach is prevalent, every position in the healthcare field requires relevant educational background and a degree. You can’t simply decide to join the field one day and apply. You must spend years studying for it.
There are many layers to a position. Some will require a course completion certificate while others will demand a full degree at a recognized college. Typically, a degree takes two to four years to acquire. After that, you are eligible to take an exam to be a licensed healthcare worker.
If you want to advance your career in the future, you have to take up another degree and have enough practical hours. The journey to becoming a healthcare worker is long and difficult. During your degree, you have to complete hundreds of hours of practical work to familiarize yourself with the workplace.
In addition, you have to write several essays discussing topics you are interested in. To graduate, you have to fulfill all the requirements. Passing a nursing school or graduating with a medical degree is never easy. It is time-consuming with students having to repeat it multiple times.
Students spend years before they are allowed to examine patients independently. This is to ensure each patient receives professional treatments from licensed staff. During your school years, you can choose your expertise. Students may choose to specialize in psychiatric care or general care. Your chosen specialty will dedicate your career path.
Salary in Healthcare
The salary range expands sharply based on the role and location. For example, the national average salary for nurses is around $80,000 a year while doctors make around $180,000 a year. In some states with lower costs of living, the salary for nurses would be around $70,000 whereas in expensive states the average salary can go up to $150,000.
Despite the salary gap, it is not always the higher the salary, the better. Candidates should think about other things such as the size of the company, promotion opportunities, work culture, company structure, turnover rate, etc.
The reputation of the institution matters a lot as well. Working in reputable corporations will raise your bargaining power in future jobs. These directly influence the value of your CV.
Hence, interested candidates should not simply look at the salary. There are a number of factors to consider before taking up a job. Working in expensive states means your expenses in other aspects can drain out your savings. You may end up saving less than working in other states with a lower salary.
Also, the non-monetary benefits play a huge role. Companies with a lack of budget tend to attract talent in other ways. They may advertise overseas training opportunities or paid education to sign you on. Your school fees are fully paid by the company.
There will also be impressive healthcare packages for you and your family to enjoy. Housing allowances are common for shift workers to afford accommodation closer to the workplace. You may have to negotiate with your HR manager for a better deal.
If you are set on saving people and making the world a better place, the healthcare industry is a desirable goal to chase. There are disadvantages to every job. You should think about your personal circumstances to see how well you will fit the role.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.