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How Do I Know if I Want to Work in Healthcare?

Choosing a career path can be daunting, especially when you’re just beginning to explore your options.

You’re not alone if you find yourself drawn to the healthcare field.

The healthcare industry offers a wide range of rewarding career opportunities that allow you to positively impact people’s lives every day.

But how do you know if working in healthcare is the right path for you?

Western Health share some key questions to ask yourself, strengths to reflect on, and common career challenges to consider.

How Do I Know I Want to Work in Healthcare? Key Questions to Ask Yourself

One of the best ways to help you with this decision is to consider the key qualities, aspects, tasks, and skills needed in the role and how you feel about them.

Below are some great questions to help you get started. Grab a pen and paper and start by making some notes in response to each of these:

  1. Do I have a genuine desire to help others? Working in healthcare often involves providing care and support to people during vulnerable moments. Reflect on whether you are passionate about helping others and making a difference in their well-being.
  2. Am I comfortable with responsibility and pressure? Healthcare professionals are crucial in patient care, often making critical decisions under pressure. Consider whether you thrive in high-pressure situations and can handle the responsibilities.
  3. Am I empathetic and compassionate? Compassion is at the heart of healthcare. Patients rely on you not only for medical care but also for emotional support. Reflect on your ability to empathise with others and provide compassionate care.

Robyn Peel, Director of Education and Learning at Western Health, shares her insight: “I wanted to be a nurse to care for people, I have stayed in nursing because of all the different career options it has given me.”

Key Strengths to Reflect on for a Healthcare Career

Another thing to consider is the professional strengths required for the role.

You can start getting an idea of these by looking at open job roles and job descriptions to see what employers are looking for.

Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential in healthcare settings to ensure patients receive the best care and collaborate with colleagues.
  2. Problem-Solving Abilities: Healthcare professionals must be able to think critically and solve complex problems, whether it’s diagnosing a medical condition or developing a treatment plan.
  3. Adaptability: The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to be adaptable and open to learning new skills and technologies.

Common Career Challenges to Think About

Lastly, while it’s important to consider the role’s positive aspects, you should also reflect on some of its challenges.

You want to ensure you have a balanced perspective, and many challenges can arise in healthcare.

Some common ones include:

  1. Emotional Demands: Working in healthcare can be emotionally taxing, especially when dealing with patients who are facing serious illnesses or injuries.
  2. Extended Hours and Shift Work: Many healthcare roles require long hours and irregular shifts, impacting work-life balance.
  3. Stressful Environments: Healthcare settings can be fast-paced and stressful, requiring professionals to stay calm under pressure and prioritise patient care.

Sandy Schutte, Executive Director of People and Culture at Western Health, reflects on her journey: “From a young age I have been involved in community work, nursing was an extension of this and enabled me to continue to work for the community.”

Could it be the path for you?

By asking yourself key questions, reflecting on your strengths, and considering potential challenges, you can determine whether a healthcare career is the right fit for you.

Remember, the journey to finding your passion is an ongoing process, so stay curious, explore your options, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance along the way.

You can find plenty more resources, employee stories and guidance at Western Health’s dedicated Explore Careers profile!

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