The pandemic has changed so much about how we live, work and play. It has also changed our perception of the healthcare industry, which we’ve been admiring from our living rooms as we watch news clips of nurses and doctors fighting fearlessly to save lives. The impact of this has been profound, with more and more people considering a role in the healthcare industry. If you’re one of them, and you’ve already been working in a different career for some years, you may well wonder how you can apply for senior roles in the industry. This complete guide will show you how, offering a variety of options for ambitious people who are motivated to make a difference in the field of healthcare.
Variety of Roles
The first thing to say when considering roles in healthcare is that there are many different types of role available to ambitious workers. You could of course retrain to become a nurse or a doctor, and we’ll look at what that entails later in this guide. But you might instead find that the best route into the industry, especially if you’re coming from a background in business, is to search for office and administrative roles. We’ll get onto these later, too.
Seeing as you’re looking for a senior role, this guide won’t detail the many other important workers who keep the healthcare industry afloat. Among them are security guards, cleaners, porters, orderlies, chefs and canteen workers, and care workers. They’re all essential to the industry too. Let’s now take a look at the main roles that you might wish to apply for, starting with those that require you to take medical training.
Many people work to become a doctor as soon as they finish their schooling. They apply for a university course, do their years of study, get experience on the ward, and eventually get certified as a doctor who can work in any healthcare institution in the world. This process is a long one, which is exactly why people tend to take it early in their professional life. As such, becoming a doctor might not be at the top of your list of roles that you’d like to take in the healthcare sector. In case you’re motivated to become one, though, we’ll take a quick look at what it entails.
The two key considerations you should make about training to be a doctor are time and money. Becoming a certified doctor takes between 5 and 10 years of constant study. It’s grueling, which is why only those who are truly motived to become a doctor should consider it. Meanwhile, medical school can take a huge hit to your finances. It’s expensive to become a doctor, and you may well have to take out a large loan to cover these fees. Other than these two considerations, you’ll need to make sure you have the grades and the personal qualities to be accepted into medical school in the first place. Check eligibility requirements before you apply to these schools.
If you’re interested in working on the front line of hospitals and clinics but you don’t have the time, the money or the passion to become a doctor, a career as a nurse can be equally rewarding and is certainly equally important for the provision of good healthcare. Nurses tend to be trained over shorter timespans and, due to the shortage of nurses, often receive financial incentives to encourage workers to swap careers and try out a life as a nurse. Nurses often train later in life, so if you’re over a decade into your career you’ll not be out of place signing onto a nursing course at a local university or college.
If this is something that interests you, then there are some hoops you ought to jump through before you make your application. Like a doctor’s course, a nursing course also requires time and money, albeit less of it than the doctor’s course. Make sure you have ample of both before you apply. There are also entry requirements that you’ll need to meet, which you should research before applying. Finally, given that life as a nurse is challenging as well as rewarding, it’s always a good idea to speak with a current nurse to ask them about how they’re handling the job and what you should expect once you’ve graduated and you’re full-time on the wards.
Now we’ll move into the job roles that require less or no medical training, starting with managers. There’s an important aspect of the healthcare industry that people often overlook, and that’s the fact that the people on the front line, delivering services and ensuring people are well cared for, must be marshaled by managers who know how to handle people and where to place human resources to make them as effective as possible. Managerial personnel often arrive in the healthcare industry from other industries, having cut their teeth in the world of commerce and business before looking to make a difference to people’s lives in clinics and hospitals.
This is a job role that would suit anyone who already has considerable managerial experience under their belt. You’ll be able to move into this career (whether in HR departments or in back offices), if you have a track record of motivating workers and getting the best out of your teams. You should also consider this role if you’re less interested in directly serving patients and more interested in helping others serve them as effectively as possible. Search for job roles in this space to check where you’re eligible.
One of the great overlooked aspects of healthcare provision is that an army of administrators help keep the whole industry afloat. Without them, the whole system would simply fall apart, with too few professionals to help get everything in place and organized for doctors and nurses to work effectively. They might not capture the headlines or feature in the news clips, but administrators are well regarded within the industry, where they handle everything from worker pay slips to medicinal orders – and everything in between.
These are diverse roles across different departments, and that makes them excellent for those who’ve spent a little time in their career developing administrative skills. If you have specific skills that could be brought to bear in a certain area, you’ll be more likely to secure senior administration roles that’ll challenge you to solve more complex problems. If you’re lacking some training in medical data analysis and other tasks at the intersection of business and medicine, you can always study a degree to cover the gaps. The online Executive Master’s of Health Administration is exactly what you’ll be looking for, covering everything you’ll need to assume a senior role in a healthcare institution near you.
If you’re a worker who’s currently in the logistics industry, you could make a huge difference to the healthcare industry by applying your skills there. We were first introduced to just how fragile medical supply chains can be when the pandemic interrupted global trade. The truth is that it’s always been a last-minute and fragile system, and one that logistics managers carefully organize to keep working despite myriad challenges. If you’re looking to get your teeth into one of the meatiest logistics issues of our time, you should certainly consider this move into the healthcare field, where your work will help get treatments to patients faster and with a higher degree of reliability.
To assume a role in healthcare logistics will be simple for those who are already experts in logistics. You’ll likely find that you’re highly eligible to these roles, though it’s always worth checking job eligibility requirements in order to learn whether there’s some extra skill that you should bring to your application via a short online course. If you’ve never working in logistics before but you love the idea of solving complex supply chain problems, this is also a job you should consider. It can help to get work experience before applying to a healthcare role, or to study courses in logistics either online or at university or college.
Every organization in the world needs to manage its money. From a sole trader who works freelance up to the largest medical institutions on the planet, finances will dictate your freedom to invest, to change, and to improve circumstances for those that you serve. As such, the role of financial head in a medical institution is one of the most vital. Hospitals and healthcare centers are constantly on the lookout for shrewd, experienced financial experts with a penchant for budgeting and saving firms money. If you have a track record of reducing overheads and making money go further in the world of business, you’ll be highly desirable to the world of healthcare.
You needn’t have been a previous CFO to apply for senior roles in the finance department of healthcare businesses, though. Any experience with accounting, budgeting, financing and economics can sit you in good stead to start out in a relatively senior role, especially if you’ve spent some of your career handling money and helping more senior professionals work out complex budgets and financial plans. Remember that healthcare isn’t necessarily set up to make a profit: it’s there to drive excellent patient care while extracting value for every dollar spent. That’s the equation you’ll want to balance and improve as you work in the finance department of a large healthcare institution.
The above roles are those that you mouth find most compelling as someone who’s searching for a senior role in the healthcare industry. The other option, of course is to join via a more junior role and to work hard to earn promotions in extra-quick time. But other than that, there’s a little more advice that is worth imparting that’ll help your chances of being hired to the more senior echelons of the healthcare industry, and the first is to build up your general knowledge of medicine and healthcare. If you’re working in the industry you should know about the entire industry – even if you never need to leverage specific healthcare knowledge in your job role.
To learn more about medicine, it’s well worth buying some textbooks and non-fiction accounts of what it’s like to work on the frontline of a medical institution. These books are especially important for those who will never work on the frontline, as it’ll offer you empathy with the people whose lives you have some control over in the offices of hospitals. Meanwhile, you can pick up plenty of interesting information from seminars, workshops and conferences, which all ambitious senior workers should make the effort to regularly attend.
Finally, no senior worker can get very far without spending significant time networking. This is what ambitious workers go through to find people who can help them via advice or putting a word in for their promotion. You can network before you even assume a role in healthcare, by connecting with likeminded strangers on LinkedIn or Twitter. Once you’re in the industry, you can network internally by making the effort to get along with all of your colleagues. You can also network externally by attending events at which you’re sure there will be hundreds of decision makers from the world of medicine and healthcare.
Networking isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. Some find it exhausting and stressful, though others find it enlivening and fun. Whether or not you enjoy getting to know other people and finding professionals who can help you in your career, this is certainly something that you should consider doing if you’re motivated not only to enter the healthcare space, but also to succeed in it. Start your networking right away in order to give yourself the best chance of winning over people and making waves in a field you’d like to achieve great things within.
This article is all about achieving your dream of becoming a senior worker in the healthcare industry, including tips for a number of roles and advice on how you can secure them.
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