Choosing the Right Healthcare Degree for You
Posted By Staff Writer on July 13, 2016
Healthcare is an exciting and prosperous field for those who want to help people get well. However, choosing a profession in healthcare can be challenging. What looks like a great opportunity may actually turn out to be a bad fit for some students.
Here are several things to consider when selecting a professional focus in healthcare.
1. REFLECT ON YOUR MOTIVATIONS
Before you take any steps toward narrowing down your healthcare career options, it’s important to do some self-reflection. Why are you choosing to pursue a job in this industry? What attracts you to healthcare work?
This self-reflection phase is also a good time to think about your natural talents. What are you good at? If you’re eager to help others and don’t mind hands-on work, being a nurse may be right up your alley. But if you’re business-minded and like to manage others, you may be better suited for a job in health services management.
2. CHOOSE YOUR PASSION
When looking at the programs available to healthcare professionals, it’s important to take a good look at your passion. What excites you? Look closely at each program and identify what aspects you think you’d enjoy and ones you’d dislike.
For example, the Medical Assisting program is focused on direct patient care and medical documentation. If you are queasy about taking care of people or you do not care for paperwork, this program may not be the best choice for you. However, if caring for someone and making their life better excites and interests you, this could be the right program!
Health Services Management is leadership and management focused. If you’re interested in helping things work smoothly and looking at the big picture, health services management could be the program for you.
There are many areas in healthcare, and if you take time to review your feelings about a professional track, it should help you choose the right program. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself before moving ahead with your health career.
3. TALK TO OTHERS
Once you have determined two or three areas that interest you, take time to talk to professionals in these areas. This will help you understand the benefits and challenges of choosing that aspect of a healthcare profession.
You can also speak with the dean, any associate deans, or faculty in the School of Healthcare. These professionals will give you an excellent overview of each program and what you can expect.
Understanding the programs from a personal level should help you choose the right program for you.
4. RESEARCH SCHOOLS
By the time you get to this point, you may have a good idea of which healthcare job you would like to pursue, but how much do really know about what it takes to get there?
Research the programs you are considering to better understand the courses you will be expected to take. Talk to a counselor at the school and gather documentation about industry-required certifications, board exams, placement statistics, and so on.
5. SHADOW A PROFESSIONAL
What is a day in the life of a healthcare professional like? You won’t ever know exactly what it’s like to do a certain job until you’re working in the profession yourself, but you can get a pretty good idea by shadowing. This is a great opportunity to learn what day-to-day life is like in any given healthcare profession. It’s also an excellent way to network and talk to someone who does what you’re aspiring to do with your career.
Start with your personal connections to find someone working in the field that most interests you. If you don’t find anyone within your network, try reaching out to medical offices and hospitals to ask if they offer a shadowing program. You’ll need to get permission and possibly fill out paperwork before you can show up on-site.
6. COMMIT TO THE PROGRAM
Once you have chosen the program that best interests you, be sure and commit the time and effort it will take to complete the degree. If you’ve done your research and chosen something you are passionate about, your efforts are much more likely to pay off.
Demonstrate commitment to your education by planning ahead, studying thoroughly for tests, and networking throughout your time in school. Seek out a mentor who can offer you advice as you work toward your degree. Ask for feedback and work hard to improve in any of your weaker areas.
Above all else, don’t forget to maintain a healthy balance of diligence in school and self-care. By taking time for your own well-being, you’ll avoid burnout before you reach the finish line.
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Learning about healthcare will start you down the path to a rewarding and profitable job taking care of people.