HEALTHY LIVING

Pursuing A Second Career In Healthcare Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult – Here’s Why

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Setting up a new healthcare career for yourself is, on the face of it, an almost insurmountable process. This is because you aren’t just switching jobs, you’re creating a whole new life for yourself. It’s a task that can present challenges that stretch further than your work. Unfortunately, this only becomes more complicated with age, as marriages and families may be the overriding factors in your decision making.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, while there’s no doubting the difficulty of pursuing a second career in healthcare, it can actually become an enjoyable jigsaw puzzle for you to decipher, as you work to fit all the pieces of your new life together.

With a healthy dose of faith, dedication, and hard work, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve your dreams in medical practice and find the journey itself deeply rewarding.

Here’s why pursuing a second career in healthcare doesn’t have to be difficult:

You can become qualified faster than you think

So, where to start? Well, the first myth to bust is the amount of time you will spend training. 

It’s a common misconception that if you want to get involved in medical practice you have to spend year upon year stuck on the same course in the same place. While this is certainly true in many cases, it doesn’t have to be this way.

One of the worst anxieties people harbor when considering a second career in healthcare is how quickly they can get themselves up and running. It can be tough to leave behind a job you’ve grown comfortable in, with increasingly tempting salaries keeping you locked in your current life. The faster you are set up, the less risk and the easier it will be to adjust to your new career.

While there is no guarantee of a job at the end of your training, you can minimize the time (and money) you spend locked in education by taking an online course, such as the online accelerated BSN programs. An online-based degree will compact the course duration into a shorter time span. While you’ll have to step up to the mark and shoulder the intensity, it is an efficient and workable way to start your new career in healthcare.

Find methods to enhance your learning power

With an online-based course (or indeed any form of education) there is only so much it can offer you if you aren’t learning as efficiently as you could be. Think of your education like a sports car you’ve just bought. Yes, it’s very fast, with the potential to travel twice as fast as everyone else, but you won’t feel any difference if you’re stuck in the slow lane. 

After all, you only get out what you are willing to put in.

This all sounds like a lot of hard work – and it is – but it is actually less about your work ethic and more about the quality of the work you complete. Go online and research different ways you can train your ability to focus, learn how to read and write faster – perhaps even learn basic shorthand. Anything that gives you an edge and increases your learning power will greatly enhance your education.

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Maintain a reliable income stream

Now, while most courses – whether online or offline – will require a lot of your time and likely prevent you from maintaining even a part-time job, it doesn’t mean you have to worry about money necessarily. If you increase your financial intelligence you can make what money you have work for you far more efficiently.

For instance, before you start your healthcare course, you can find ways of making passive income. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount, because a trickle of money is better than no money at all. Perhaps you have a passion for knitting hats or drawing cartoons in your free time. Why not set up an account on Fiverr or Upwork, or just sell whatever you produce to friends, family, and your new course-mates? 

If this doesn’t sound like you, there’s always investing. While investment gets a bad name, as long as you do your homework and understand the basics, you can quickly, easily, and cheaply invest in safe assets that will keep ticking over while you focus on your studies. At the end of the day, you don’t want to eat through your savings and be left with nothing at the end of your training. 

There are lots of possibilities, and, thanks to the internet and the rise of the gig economy, there are only going to be more and more as time progresses. Take time to swat up on your financial basics, even if it just means you save more money each month on groceries. You’ll be amazed at how powerful even a little financial intelligence is, especially when you’re between jobs.

Make your move work for everybody

This is another big factor if you’re considering a second career in healthcare. While moving home and leaving your existing job behind may suit you perfectly, many people struggle to adjust to such a dramatic uprooting. 

In fact, the problem may not just affect you. If you have a partner or a family to think about, this move has a huge impact. You will need to make sure your second career works for everybody. If this sounds like your situation, consider sitting down with your partner or family to explain how you’re feeling, what your current situation is and what the consequences of a sudden move would mean for you all. 

Throw around ideas, work out a plan that works for everybody. Perhaps you all want to move to a particular area which has a relevant course or job available. Maybe it doesn’t work and you have to consider different ways to pursue your dream – studying online, for example. Whatever the case, communication is key. Otherwise, massive problems can go unsolved and crop up years down the line, right when you could do without them.

Improve your people skills

This is where you should start thinking a little outside the box. Starting a new career in healthcare will require you to work with a whole new group of people. Your ability to present yourself well, communicate effectively, and develop influence will greatly determine whether your career succeeds or fails. 

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Now, this may sound overblown – of course, you can get on with people, you already have a career, right? Well, that might be true, but healthcare is likely a step change from anything you’ve experienced before. 

Teamwork and communication are vital. Hopefully, at some point, you will be required to lead a team of professionals. You will also have to report to teachers, lecturers, and bosses along the way. Learn to maximize your communication and people skills. Reflect on how people may perceive you. Shyness can often be mistaken for aloofness and enthusiasm for boorishness. Ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when you embark on your new career, with a shiny set of new social skills in your pocket. 

Remember why you’re doing it

Creating a new life for yourself can often become overwhelming. 

In the midst of your training, when mastery of every skill evades you and information is as difficult to decipher as a foreign language, it can be easy to get down on yourself. You may even consider throwing in the towel.

This would be a mistake and you know it. 

The solution? Constantly remind yourself of why you’re pursuing your goal

There will be a difficult moment when you think back to your old, comfortable life and your comfortable income and how everything was easy. But you chose to leave all that behind for a reason. 

You experienced an inner calling that wouldn’t go away until you chased it. When you’re feeling disillusioned, remind yourself of the reasons behind your decision. Perhaps you want to help others, or maybe you’re fascinated by a particular aspect of medical care. Whatever it is, bring it to the forefront of your mind. It will soon drown out any doubts or worries you might have. 

Get your house in order before you dive in

As an extension of the previous point, make sure you have your affairs in order before you dive headfirst into a change of career. Make sure you gather your financial statements together and ensure you have enough savings or cash flow to see you through your training and beyond. Take into consideration that you may not immediately have a job after you graduate, and if you do, it may not cover your existing expenses. 

Talking of expenses, your training will require full immersion and dedication. Having money worries and the debt hanging over your head will only distract you from your work and prevent you from maximizing your potential, or worse. This ethos goes for your personal life, too. Ensure you are mentally and emotionally prepared for the changes ahead, whether it involves leaving friends and family behind, compromising a relationship or feeling isolated. These are natural concerns, but do your best to head them off before you start.

Stack the cards in your favor – establish a routine

Establishing a simple and easy to follow routine is one of the most underrated ways you can transform your day-to-day life. During a time of stress and upheaval, it is one of the only constants to cling on to and build your new life around. If you are starting your second career in healthcare following a long stint in another industry, you will be used to an existing routine. These routines become so deeply embedded that it feels disconcerting and even anxiety-inducing when you rip them up and start again. 

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Therefore, if possible, establish a similar routine as you transition from your previous career to your new one. It may not line up perfectly, but by establishing some basic commonalities you can trick your brain into thinking everything is normal – which of course it soon will be. It is equally crucial to maintain consistency. Creating a routine that is all over the place and against your usual behavioral patterns will mess with your head. The foundation to base this around is your sleeping pattern. It doesn’t matter when you fall asleep at night (who really plans that?) but make sure you set an alarm and wake up at precisely the same moment in the morning. This simple trick has been linked to improved moods and better levels of brain functionality. Give it a try and see how it works out for you.

Always have a plan B

While establishing a successful medical career is your aim, it is important to have a backup plan. Betting the farm and burning all your bridges might sound like something a character in a Hollywood movie would do, but it rarely works out in reality. By all means give your new occupation intense dedication, but don’t ignore the risks and put yourself in a vulnerable situation. 

As long as you are sensible and don’t go bankrupt funding your education or any possible house moves and associated costs, there’s no overarching danger lurking behind the corner. 

Nevertheless, think about a job or industry you could fall back on if necessary. Having skills in your toolbox to fall back on is a powerful position to be in, and will likely increase your confidence levels in the process. Like any good business decision – you must always be willing to walk away.

Keep some time aside for yourself 

If possible, set some time aside each day for yourself. Don’t use this time to think about your studies or your career, or money worries, or anything that occupies headspace during the rest of your day. Instead, go for a walk, read a book or listen to some music. Allow your mind to clear naturally and wipe the slate clean. Think of your mind like a glass. During the course of each day, it is filled with information, worries, and incessant internal dialogue. It is like water being poured into the glass until it reaches capacity and spills over the top. A cliche, but true nonetheless. Give yourself the opportunity to clear your head, and your normal levels of focus will resume when you return to your work.

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The chief editor here at Billboard Health, wife and Mother of 1, Nutritionist and goal getter.

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