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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving Ahead with Your Health Career

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Are your favorite TV shows "Grey's Anatomy," "E/R", and "Scrubs?" Or maybe you were the student who breezed through Biology and Chemistry in college while everyone else struggled to get a passing grade. If you've been dreaming of a career in the Healthcare field, does that mean it's right for you? Here are a few things to consider before moving forward with your career plan in the medical field.

1. What is your Motivation to Pursue a Healthcare Career?

What are you hoping to gain? Do you want to help others? Do you love math and science? Is money motivating you? These are all good reasons that may prompt you to consider a career in healthcare.

However, if you are more interested in meeting Dr. McDreamy, think twice. Although a medical career is extremely rewarding and often lucrative, healthcare professionals experience high levels of stress, and the field requires a great deal of commitment, endurance and hard work.

Also, if you are thinking about healthcare because of a family member or friend, that is fine, as long as your goals and objectives are in line with theirs. You are ultimately the one who has to live with your decision. Knowing your motives will help you stay focused later.

2. How are You Going to Obtain the Education and Training Needed for Your Career?

Learn about the degrees, diplomas, and training required for the various medical jobs. Being a doctor or a high-level nurse can be a significant investment of time and money. Be sure you have thought out how to finance the necessary education, and how you will balance that with the time you will need to complete all of the coursework required.

If you want to be a physician but do not have 15 years to devote to school and training, there are plenty of other options such as being a Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, which may not require quite as many years of training.

If you are still set on a career which requires an expensive degree, plan ahead to save thousands of dollars on your tuition bill, or apply for financial assistance.

3. Are your Skills and Strengths a Fit for the Healthcare Industry?

Each health career requires different skill sets and personality traits. However, there are a few common attributes which most healthcare careers require on some level. Most roles require excellent interpersonal and communication skills, some level of technical or mathematic capacity, and a strong work ethic. Additionally, most medical jobs entail a great deal of responsibility and maturity. Your patient's well-being, and even their lives could depend on the quality of your work.

If you are a person who loves to learn new things, that will also serve you well as a healthcare professional, because the healthcare field changes constantly with the development of new technology, advanced procedures, emerging treatments, and even new diseases.

4. What Specific Role within the Healthcare Field is Most Suitable for You?

What is your passion? No matter what drives you, there is a role for you in the medical field. You may have already considered being a nurse or a doctor. However, allied health care offers another whole world of opportunity.

For example, if cardiology (heart health) is a cause that moves you, you could be a cardiologist, a cardiovascular technician, a cardiac nurse, or cardiac perfusionist. If you love working with kids, pediatrics could be the field for you. Within each medical specialty, jobs are available for any level of education or experience. Whether you have a high school diploma or a graduate education, you may be surprised to find your dream job is within your reach!

5. Where Do You Want to Work?

In which type of environment would you be most comfortable, and most successful? For example, if hospitals seem too cold or too large, you probably should not be a surgeon or a hospital nurse. If you are easily depressed, you might not want to work in a hospice environment, where patients typically spend their final days. But you could be a nurse in a pediatric office or at a school where you are not dealing with mortality or serious illness on a regular basis. If you do not enjoy interacting with people, you might be happier working in a lab, or even as a pathologist in a morgue...if you prefer your patients not ask so many questions. Or, have you thought about jobs on a military base, on a cruise ship, or even a submarine?

6. How Will Your Healthcare Career Impact Your Family and Personal Life Long-term?

Be sure to consider how your life, and your family will be impacted while you are in school, completing training, and after you get the job. For example, if you want to be a doctor or nurse, you may be required to work nights or weekends while you are on call.

Additionally, are jobs and residencies available in your area, or will you have to relocate at some point? If relocation is necessary, is this a feasible move for your family? How will the financial constraints impact your family as well? It is crucial to give this thought now, before you begin to invest energy, time, and money towards obtaining your new career in the healthcare field.

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