Many people feel they want a career in healthcare; it’s a way to help others and gain a career that has great longevity and offers good job satisfaction. However, although there are many benefits to working in healthcare, it’s not for everyone. The good news is that even if you have begun your career, the experience, and skills (not to mention the qualifications) you have gained should help you in a wide range of other careers.
It is your ‘soft skills’ that can make a huge difference in any career you decide on, whether that’s healthcare or something entirely different. The soft skills you have will be what many employers are looking for; after all, they can train you to do the work needed, but if you already have soft skills, you’ll bring a lot more to the job than just technical ones. In addition, soft skills are much more difficult to learn, so if you don’t need to be trained in them, employers will see that as a bonus.
Having these soft skills in place will also be helpful if you decide to forge your own path and start your own business. Having these skills means you already have an advantage over a lot of your competition, and you can get started right away without having to learn many of the basics of what makes a business a successful one that people want to buy from. Read on to find out what these soft skills are so you can determine just how to present yourself in an interview, whether it’s for a job in healthcare or, if you prefer, something else entirely.
When you work in healthcare, whether you’re a nurse, a doctor, a physiotherapist, a counselor, or any of the other numerous positions that and variations that healthcare workers can take, having empathy for and with your patients is crucial. They will be with you because they are hurt and in pain. They will be scared in many cases. They will need someone they can trust and rely on to keep them up to date on their treatment and to calm them when need be.
If you are able to empathize with your patients and understand what they are going through, you will be better able to help them, no matter what your healthcare job or position might be. This is not an easy thing to do, especially since you will be meeting people from lots of different backgrounds, cultures, countries, and those who are suffering from injuries and illnesses that you will, hopefully, never have to experience. However, if you can empathize, it will make a huge difference to their experience, emotional and mental well-being, and even their recovery times.
Taking this ability to empathize into other areas will benefit you and those around you greatly. For example, you will be able to negotiate better in business, and your customer service skills in all sectors will be second to none. These are certainly things that an employer would be happy to have if they hired you, and this is why going from healthcare to almost any other sector is possible even without experience; the soft skills such as empathy are what will make you attractive to employers.
In a healthcare setting, communication is one of the most important soft skills there is. As a nurse, for example, you will need to communicate properly with your colleagues, including doctors, other nurses, orderlies, technicians, and managers. Not only that, but you will also need to be able to communicate with patients (using empathy, as mentioned above) and with their friends and family. These two types of communication are going to be very different from one another, and the ability to do both – and to switch between them as you need to – is crucial.
Remember that you’re not just giving information for the patient and others while they are with you in whatever healthcare setting you happen to be working in; you’re often going to be giving them the information they need for a healthy, productive, happy life going forward. This means that your instructions regarding medication, exercise, diet, and much more have to be succinct and easy to understand. If not, mistakes can occur that could make the patient even more unwell, or at the very least not make them as healthy as they could be. Therefore, clean communication in a healthcare environment is clearly important.
When it comes to other employment sectors, communication holds a crucial place in those systems too. Communication is at the heart of any workplace, and it’s a skill that will be well regarded by employers. If you can demonstrate good communication skills, they will be sure that you will ask the right questions, give good answers, and that you have leadership potential – that’s something many managers are going to be excited to see.
It would be virtually impossible for any healthcare worker to work entirely alone, no matter what position they hold or what their specialty might be. We don’t mean the patients – that goes without saying. Instead, we’re talking about colleagues and team members. Think of any aspect of healthcare, and you’ll see that teamwork is a crucial element, and without it, patients would suffer, and work would just not get done.
Often a patient needs to be seen by a vast range of different experts, particularly if they have come to the clinic or hospital with the condition that isn’t immediately obvious. When there are lots of different options, lots of different experts are going to be required. Only by working together can a true diagnosis be made. If everyone was fighting among themselves, not only would the patient suffer because their condition wouldn’t be diagnosed quickly, but important messages about what is and isn’t wrong wouldn’t be relayed, potentially causing even more problems.
On a purely practical level, teamwork makes a huge difference. A nurse who needs to bathe or move a patient, for example, will need help from others. If an emergency came up, the team would work together, each understanding exactly their part and ensuring that it’s done well to save a life.
It’s easy to see why an employer in a field outside of healthcare would be interested in someone who had this particular skill and who had used it to help many patients in the past. Combined with a doctorate from Marymount University, having skills in teamwork is an excellent reason to hire someone who has come from the healthcare industry and now wants to do something different.
Work ethic refers to a set of ideals that are founded on hard work. Professionalism, punctuality, and your general attitude and conduct are all aspects of your work ethic. When you work in healthcare, it’s highly likely that you will have a good work ethic. After all, people are relying on you in a literal life or death situation in some cases, and if you are late, if you have a ‘don’t care attitude’ or you leave at exactly the end of your shift even if there is still some work – potentially important work – to do, then you could be putting people at risk. At the very least, you’ll be ensuring your colleagues are working harder than they need to at an already hard job.
Although it might be the reason that you have decided to leave the healthcare industry to do something else, the fact is that people get sick and are hurt at any time of the day and night, and something that means you’ll need to work harder or longer than you anticipated. Having the right attitude and doing what’s required of you shows an excellent work ethic.
If you decide to find a different career because the idea of working set hours, for example, suits you, then this work ethic can still come with you. It’s true you’ll usually be able to leave your non-healthcare job at exactly the time you’re meant to, but that doesn’t mean soft skills such as punctuality and being professional can be forgotten. If a potential employer sees that you have worked in healthcare, they may well assume – and often be right to assume – that you have an excellent work ethic.
Of course, it’s important to understand that just because you do have a good work ethic and because your manager knows that, you can still say no when you need to. If you’re asked to work longer when you can’t or asked to do something you’re not comfortable with, you can and should step away. Don’t allow a good work ethic to allow others to bully you into doing more than your fair share.
Healthcare is, undoubtedly, one of the most stressful industries to work in. You hold people’s lives and futures in your hands every day, and one mistake could change everything for the worse, with no chance to make things right again. Although this is exciting and satisfying, it’s also stressful, and it’s why many healthcare workers run the risk of burning out if they are not able to manage their stress in the right way.
The most successful people working in any form of healthcare are those who understand how to manage their stress well and ensure that they do all they can to destress whenever possible. However, not only is it good for workers to know about stress reduction methods, it’s also good for managers to teach their workers stress reduction methods, and again, the best managers will do exactly that.
Perhaps this is why employers are so keen to hire ex-healthcare workers. They know what a fast-paced, stressful, difficult job any kind of medicine is, and they’ll know that by hiring a healthcare worker to be on their team, they will be hiring someone who is able to take stress well and even able to teach the rest of the workers how to manage when they are stressed.
If you can find an industry that is less stressful than medicine and put your stress management soft skills to good use, you’ll do very well indeed.
A positive attitude goes a long when in all careers. Studies have shown that feeling positive and being positive will result in greater happiness and job satisfaction because you will always be in a good frame of mind, and you will always see the good in things. Conversely, a negative attitude will have the opposite effect; when you feel negative about things, you’ll only see the bad points, and that will make you feel even more negative, and so on.
When you are able to have a positive attitude working in healthcare, this will be good for the patients and the staff around you, as well as being good for you in terms of how much you are willing to do for your career – those with a good attitude will often go above and beyond when it comes to their jobs. In healthcare, this extra effort can make a huge difference.
A positive attitude isn’t just something that is necessary for working in healthcare; however, and if you’re ready to leave this industry, your positive attitude – even if you haven’t enjoyed the work you were doing – will be extremely beneficial to you and anyone who hires you. Try to show that you are positive about your work in your resume and through any interviews, and this will make an excellent impression.
As we’ve mentioned above, it’s rare for a healthcare professional to be able to work to set hours, knowing exactly what they will be doing every day. They need to be highly flexible, able to manage with new instructions at a moment’s notice, and able to deal with changes quickly and efficiently. Whether it’s taking on a shift for a colleague due to an emergency or moving to a different department to help out when they are short-staffed, when you work in healthcare, this is the kind of thing that happens often, and flexibility is key to not getting stressed or annoyed at the changes.
Last minute changes happen in all kinds of industries, and no matter what job you decide to do after leaving medicine, you’ll find the flexibility is going to help you hugely. In fact, because you’re so used to having to adapt to changes, you’ll be able to help others too. You’ll be more organized, more amenable, and more positive as a result. These are all things that a potential future employer is going to be impressed by. Moreover, stay connected with some health category blogs to have more ideas.