7 Ways to Take Control of Your Medical Career
Have you recently started to become disillusioned with your medical career? Perhaps your professional progression has hit a brick wall, and you desperately want to avoid stagnation? Whatever your reasons may be for wanting to take control of your life as a healthcare provider, the advice laid out below will be sure to help you to achieve this crucial feat.
Here are seven changes you must make if you’re serious about taking back the reins of your medical career:
1. Draw up a career plan
Do you want to reach the pinnacle of your niche healthcare sector? If so, you can’t afford to meander through your career. You aren’t going to stumble across promotions by chance, which is why you must draw up a professional development plan. This will provide you with a much-needed sense of direction, which in turn will help you to unearth all of the opportunities that are out there awaiting you.
If you want to draw up a robust career plan that actively grows with your professional development, be sure to heed the following advice:
1. Examine your personal interests, values, and motivations by performing a thorough self-assessment
2. Prioritize the different aspects of your life (do you want to work in a medical sector that actively interests you, or are you looking to obtain a healthcare position that provides family-friendly benefits?)
3. Compare a whole host of different career pathways (even those that take you away from the traditional hospital environment)
4. Identify medical roles that match your specific skills and capabilities
5. Always take your future into account
6. Perform a personal S.W.O.T (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis
7. Work alongside a professional career planner
8. Explore your training and education options
9. Update your resume on an annual basis
10. Identify your soft skills and transferable attributes
2. Find yourself a mentor
It doesn’t matter how much experience you have in the field of healthcare; there’s always more for you to learn about both the industry and yourself. If you want to expand your knowledge in both of these senses, you should seriously consider finding yourself a mentor.
With the right counsel and guidance by your side, you will be sure to reap the following benefits:
1. Encouragement and empowerment
2. Assistance with regard to setting S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based) goals
3. Increased confidence
4. The capacity to avoid potential pitfalls as you approach a crossroads in your career
5. A commitment to continuous learning
3. Expand your network
An experienced mentor isn’t the only fellow medical professional that you should seek to align yourself with. No matter how skilled you may be as a healthcare provider, you aren’t going to open up doors for yourself all by yourself. If you’re serious about exploring different avenues in your career, you need to become friendly with a whole host of different individuals.
Receptions, nurses, key stakeholders, chiefs of staff — you need to forge connections with lots of people, as this will help you to attain a robust nexus of referrals. With the right criterion in place, you will be much more likely to retain control over your professional direction.
Here are four top tips for building your professional healthcare network:
1. Embrace online networking
2. Join professional groups within your niche healthcare sector
3. Attend conferences as often as you can
4. Always have a business card at hand
5. Take advantage of your alumni networks
6. Host your own medical events
7. Know your target audience when promoting yourself
8. Don’t force relationships or rush the networking process — be patient, and the right people will come to you
9. Gain credibility as a healthcare provider
10. Clean up your online presence (particularly your social media presence)
4. Hone new skills
If you’re to truly take control of your medical career, you can’t afford to dwell on your past experiences. Resting on your laurels in this sense will hold you back from progressing, which in turn will make it harder for you to provide a level of healthcare that is befitting of today.
Quite simply, if you’re to provide your patients with the care that they want, expect, and deserve in this day and age, you need to hone new skills. And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should focus solely on expanding your medical knowledge. There are a whole host of soft skills that you must cultivate if you’re to improve your standing as a healthcare provider, some of which include:
4. Strong work ethic
5. Stress management
12. Attention to detail
13. Receptive attitude
14. Emotional intelligence
15. Active listening
5. Stand out from the competing pack
Do you constantly feel overlooked when it comes to promotions and opportunities? If so, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of playing the blame game. Unless your superiors are holding you back on purpose — in which case, you must gather evidence on the matter and take legal action against your employer right away — dwelling on your misfortunes will get you nowhere. If you’re to truly stand a chance at taking that next all-important step in your medical career, you need to be proactive. More to the point, you need to go above and beyond to stand out from the competing pack.
Want to differentiate yourself from all of the other physicians that you work alongside? If so, be sure to put the following advice into practice:
1. Showcase your leadership capabilities at every possible turn
2. Join a host of different external healthcare organizations
3. Take it upon yourself to mentor new/young employees
4. Consider becoming a travel physician
5. Never be afraid to offer up your ideas and suggestions
6. Actively contribute to meetings
7. Do more than what your job requires (go above and beyond to improve your patient bedside manner, for example)
8. Use your initiative and do things without being asked
9. Always go out of your way to help others
10. Demonstrate a growth mindset
6. Expand beyond your industry
If you’re sick and tired of working in a traditional hospital environment, you could always take a leap of faith by expanding beyond your industry. There’s no reason why you can’t transfer the skills that you’ve learned as a medical professional to another field. Here are just a few of the alternative routes that you can take in your career:
4. Healthcare management
5. Medical law
7. Overseas aid
8. Pharmaceutical medicine
9. Civil service
10. Expedition medicine
7. Start your own private practice
Do you feel like you’ve achieved everything you set out to achieve when you left medical school? Have you reached the top of your field and exhausted all of your promotion options? If so, there’s only more direction that you can possibly go in, that being to start your own private practice. When you take this leap of faith, you will be afforded complete control of how, when, and where you operate. This increased autonomy will allow you to truly take the reins of your career simply because you won’t have to answer to anybody else.
As an outline, here are the most basic steps that you must take in your attempt to start your own private practice:
1. Complete your post-graduate nurse practitioner education
2. Obtain state and national board certification
3. Understand the practice rules that govern your state
4. Draw up a business plan (include an executive summary, a company description, market analysis, and financial projections)
5. Obtain funding (loans, small business grants, etc.)
6. Find the perfect location in which to base your practice (take practitioner demand and regional expenses into account in this instance)
7. Choose a legal structure (partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.)
8. Obtain lawful permits and licenses
9. Take out robust malpractice insurance
10. Source medical supplies and cutting-edge healthcare equipment
Staring your own private practice is never going to be a straightforward endeavor; there’s no denying that. You can, however, make this challenge a lot easier for yourself by noting the advice provided by Texas Woman’s University. For more information about what you must do to get your own medical facility up and running, be sure to check out this insightful article.
Whether you’re determined to become a leading physician in your field or whether you just want to take a different route in your professional development, be sure to follow all of the advice laid out above. More importantly, make sure you dedicate yourself to your craft. You aren’t going to take your career to the next level if you don’t work hard, which is why you must devote time and effort to this cause. So long as you are dedicated to the healthcare industry, the money, success, and admiration will be sure to follow.