How to Advance Your Healthcare Career

by Lily White
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When you are building a career in healthcare or in the health industry, it is important to focus on advancement. If you do not focus on advancing your career, you may find that you end up stagnant and stuck in a less fulfilling role than you want it to be. To advance your healthcare career, you have to take it step by step. When you do this, you can then be sure that you are not missing out on any key aspects along the way.

Know What You Want

Firstly, you need to know just what you want. You cannot expect to build a fulfilling career or gain career advancement if you do not know what you want. So, would you like to move on into nursing leadership? Or, are you looking at moving into training other nurses – perhaps taking your nursing career that little bit further. When it comes to knowing what you want, you have to look ahead to your future role. Establish what it looks like, and establish what role you will play in the healthcare industry. Then, when you have done this, you will be able to work backward from this end goal.

Create a Strategy

Expecting progression or advancement to happen within any industry (without putting in the work or without having a plan) is naive. For progression plans to become a reality, you have to create a strategy. A strategy for your career will outline where you want to go and by when. It will also outline what you should be hoping to achieve along the way. If you do not have a strategy to follow, then you may find that your career deviates from the track you want it to follow. You may also find that progression and advancement take even longer than you thought they would. When you are creating a strategy, it is important to create goals and objectives that you can work towards and focus on.

Remain Focused

To push your career forwards, you must remember to remain focused. It can be very easy for your time and your attention to get diverted, especially when you are working as well. However, at all costs, this procrastination should be avoided where possible. When you remain focused, you find it easier to reach your career goals and objectives, and you find the journey to career advancement much smoother. To remain focused, try and prioritize tasks, and prioritize time. When you can prioritize and order what needs doing first, you can then take control of your time and your energy. Getting into a routine and even maintaining a daily or weekly routine will help you remain focused.

Invest in Your Education

Advancing and continuing your education can help you unlock (and realize) your full potential. When it comes to investing in your education, you have to look at where you are at in this moment of time and where you would like to be to perhaps aid progression. For instance, if you already hold a degree or a bachelor’s but feel that it is not relevant or beneficial to your healthcare career, then you may find it useful to look at accelerated programs. The University of Indianapolis online ABSN program can help prepare and qualify you as a nurse. When it comes to investing in your education, you have to look at a short-term plan and a long-term plan as well. For example, what short courses can you enroll in that will help your professional and personal development. Also, what longer-term programs could you enroll on to aid your career progression and advancement? What do you need out of your education, and what path is right for you?

Utilize a Mentor

Advancing your career by yourself and pushing yourself to achieve more can be testing – especially if you do not know which route to take. Utilizing a mentor could work well for you and for your career. A mentor can guide you through your period of education, and they could give you advice and assistance in the first few months of a new role or position. The value that you can get from a mentor can be immense. They can help build your knowledge, awareness, and confidence. When it comes to finding a mentor for yourself and for your future, you need to reach out to those candidates with suitable experience. For instance, if you are advancing your nursing career, you may find it highly beneficial to liaise with a nurse whose current (or previous) role was in leadership. When you utilize a mentor, you get to ask questions and ascertain what may be right for you and your future career.

Look After Yourself and Your Wellbeing

To advance your career in a sustainable and effective manner, you have to remember to look after yourself and your wellbeing. If you are pushing yourself too hard and for too long, you will encounter difficulties. Perhaps with your working relationships or with the relationship you hold with yourself. To look after yourself and your wellbeing, you need to ensure that you have a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Eating well, drinking well, and getting enough sleep and rest will have a big impact on how you feel about your career and how you approach future prospects and growth. Knowing when to seek support and guidance is important in personal growth and in career development too. If you are trying to do too much, it will show in the results that you produce.

Update Your Resume

Your resume needs to look great, and it needs to sound great – if you are to get the opportunities that you want. Investing your time and energy in updating your resume for healthcare career advancement is important. If your resume does not sell your experience or your knowledge, then you will struggle to move on up the career ladder. A poorly written or constructed resume can also dent your confidence too, and leave you feeling inadequate. When you are updating your resume, it is important to have highly relevant information. For example, your high school grade may be useful, but are they still relevant – especially if you graduated over 15 years ago? Getting other people to read through your resume and also taking a critical approach to design and content will help you produce the best result. Learning to be critical of your work will help you grow and develop.

Upgrade Your Skillset

One area you must focus on is your skillset. When you advance your healthcare career, you have to ensure that you have the right skill set for the role. If you have areas that are weak or poor, then this will show. You could well find that weak skills can hold you back. So, start the process of self-evaluation, and see what your skillset currently says about you. For example, does it say that you are excellent at teamwork but poor at delegation? Or does it say that you are great at listening and communication but not soo good at receiving criticism? When you know what areas require work and improvement, you can then start upgrading the skills that you hold. Your skillset will be put to use every day in a new role, so ensure that it is as strong as it can be.

Make Networking a Priority

Even though there may be times when you do not feel like socializing and networking -you should always try and make an effort, especially when it comes to professional networking. Joining online and offline groups, reaching out to others, and expanding your contacts list could help you get the position that you want. Or, it could help you land more experience and awareness. When it comes to making networking a priority, you need to think about what you want to get out of each event you attend. To get results, your efforts must be focused, and they must be targeted. For example, you could set yourself a target of reaching out to 5 new contacts for each event you attend. Utilizing contacts that you make through networking can help you reach new career milestones.

Focus on Professional Development

You already know that your education is important and that it can play a pivotal role in your career advancement. However, did you realize just how important professional development is too? Being prepared to go on professional development courses and investing your time and energy into staying up to date with rules, legislation, and developments within the healthcare industry is crucial. When you focus on professional development, you uphold standards and values. When you are committed to professional development (at all levels), you then ensure that you provide the highest levels of care at all times. Professional development opportunities are all around you within the healthcare industry and sector, and you may find it beneficial to join trade bodies or organizations (related to your field) to help you see and take advantage of the best opportunities around.


By Maggie Hammond

Bio: Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.


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