For many, the healthcare profession seems like a far and distant sector, reserved for those with strong academic skills and gut determination. However, this is simply not true. It is possible to retrain into the healthcare profession at any time.
Of course, many of you might have watched your peers at school go straight into a medicine career, and they may have had straight A’s, but this is not the path for everyone.
Some individuals may have had less than desirable grades, but that doesn’t mean the avenue is shut off from them, it simply means training later in life.
It’s important to be clear about the bare minimum required when training for a medical or healthcare degree. Particularly when it comes to medical roles such as nurses and doctors, you will need to be able to demonstrate a high level of numeracy and literacy.
If you don’t believe that your original qualifications are truly demonstrative of your current skill level, you will need to have some form of qualification to demonstrate your abilities. These will be the first hurdle into getting into the medical profession. You may have to work exceptionally hard to achieve the results you need, but studying will enable you to begin working within the professional you’ve long desired to be a part of.
For many, it simply wasn’t possible to attain an online degree during their early youth, and considering career options might have been fairly far from being seriously entertained. However, nowadays, there are universities that excel in providing online courses for prospective nursing students.
For example, you can easily become a family nurse practitioner by using online courses as long as you’re ready and willing to face your education with sustained work and determination.
In an online degree like this one, you will learn:
- How to treat illnesses
- What affects patients’ general health and wellbeing
- Learn how to assess, analyze and diagnose
- Learn the fundamentals of pathophysiology, pharmacology and treatments
- How to be approachable, personable and professional in the healthcare industry
Online degrees are particularly useful for those who have a strong desire to work in healthcare, but may already have a family and a career to tend to. You won’t be cut off from returning to academia when you can dedicate your evenings and spare time to studying instead. It may require a sensible family discussion, but it could well be worth it if that is where your passion lies.
Find your niche
Qualifying for a medical role isn’t as simple as just becoming a ‘nurse’ or ‘doctor.’ Once you start studying, you will quickly find that there is plenty of room to specialize and become more focussed in a particular area.
For example, if you were to study a nursing degree, you could become a mental health nurse or a family nurse. As a doctor, you have the mobility and flexibility to work in surgery or become an expert in a particular area of medicine. Again, this will take sustained hard work, but it’s entirely possible.
It’s not all scrubs
Not all people who work in healthcare work in the fast-paced medical side of the industry. Many people are actually office workers and spend their day-to-day work life from the comfort of an office environment.
For example, you might end up being someone who is responsible for coordinating, formulating or implementing policy. Having an interest and passion for the healthcare industry doesn’t have to translate into time spent on the hospital floor, as your talents may lend themselves to more of an administration or policy-creation role.
Move within the industry
There’s a chance that you may already work in healthcare, and what you’re after is actually more of a career side-step. Doing this may be a wise move, as many hospitals are keen to retain staff to climb the professional ladder and progress within their established profession. Retraining within the healthcare sector actually gives you an advantage, as you may already have some of the key skills needed to progress into a particular role.
You will also be able to demonstrate a passion and interest in this field, as well as putting yourself forward as a candidate with relevant education and experience.
Read up on the profession
Never take your knowledge for granted, as you actually may know less than you realize. In fact, it’s recommended that you do plenty of research into what the job entails, i.e. be able to demonstrate your knowledge of what exactly is expected of you from day-to-day. Chatting to other healthcare professionals and asking them about what their day is like and what their values are, will help you form an idea of what to expect all on top of your reading.
It’s equivalent to preparing for any job interview, as you need to show that your enthusiasm is genuine and comes from a place of passionate interest.
Consider your future
Once you’ve made the decision to start studying for a healthcare position, do consider where you want this to take you. Specialized areas of medicine and healthcare will require a post graduate degree, which could be a lucrative avenue for you. Essentially, you are opening yourself up to more job options. While your current decision to re-train may feel like a risky move, you may decide that you want to persist with extra training throughout your medical career.
The education you begin to undertake now may not be the last, but it may only be a good thing for both your career and your pocket.
Finding a mentor is invaluable in any line of work. Someone who can give you tips and advice that are based on experience and genuine know-how is never to be sniffed at. If you know someone who can give you one-on-one advice, then reach out to them and explain what you are planning to do. Ask about their experience in education, and what they did to prove their interest in the field.
One of the easiest ways to find a mentor is to network, in the way of finding someone you can shadow for a day, or someone who might be influential in securing you an internship. It is these kinds of connections that can be hugely valuable to you. If you know that you can’t just ring up your GP surgery, or you don’t believe you have any immediate resources, think about people you went to school with, or acquaintances who may have graduated to then work within the healthcare sector. These are likely to be your most reliable leads.
This may seem like a tough one if your current line of work is completely unrelated to healthcare, however one great way to demonstrate your interest to education bodies and future employers is by getting at least a little bit of industry experience on your resume. This could be volunteering in a GP surgery, or putting in shifts at a retirement home.
You can do this a number of ways:
- Putting in hours around your job
- Taking up an internship
- Changing jobs entirely to take up a lower-paid healthcare role
You may have no option but to put in hours around your job, or opt for full-time paid work if you have mouths to feed.
However, it may ultimately be worth it if you finally get onto that much-coveted healthcare course. If you want to know what experience will afford you the best job and education prospects, then find a mentor or arrange a chat with a healthcare professional.
When you go through the process of training to be in the healthcare profession, you will need to have a sensible and level head on your shoulders. Some of your days will be long and difficult, and many will be emotionally challenging.
By being prepared, you will be ready to face the inevitable challenges that will await you. Retraining to move into the healthcare profession is a courageous move, and you will occasionally need to apply the same courage to your day-to-day work.
Chat to your friends and family
Retraining into a brand new profession can be incredibly challenging, and so it’s important that you are able to have open and frank discussions with your family and friends about what you are planning. You will want to explain:
- Your reasons for leaving your old job
- Why you want to move into healthcare
- How long it will take you
- How you are going to financially support yourself
It’s also important that you break these down for your loved ones as they may have well-meaning concerns. If they have questions it’s not necessarily because they don’t believe that you’re capable, or that you shouldn’t pursue your dreams, instead it might come from a place of genuine care and cautiousness.
Your friends and family will also provide some much-needed support for some of the tougher times during retraining, such as preparing for exams and maybe even leaving your old job. Supportive loved-ones will be your cheer-leaders while you go through this big life change.
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