The very first step to kick off your medical career is to get educated! This doesn’t mean that you have to know exactly what you’re doing yet – you just need to start. Most medical professions are buildable, meaning that you start with a base education, and if you want to a higher position, you can go back to school and add on to your education if you decide to. Just start with a general idea (such as a medical technician, nurse, physician, etc.) and you can figure out the rest as you go!
2. Choose the Best Field for You
As you work your way through your education, you’ll start to learn which parts of medicine you enjoy… and which you don’t. For example, you might love fast-paced, high-intensity work, meaning you’d probably do well in an ICU or Emergency Medicine. Or you might have an interest in a specific body system, such as Neurology or Orthopedics. Or even a specific age group, such as Pediatrics or Geriatrics. Feel it out and figure out what you like!
3. Build Your Experience
Once you’re educated and you’ve chosen your field, you need to get some experience! You probably won’t find your dream job right out of school – so focus on getting some experience that you can add to your resume, and eventually you’ll find the job of your dreams – and you’ll be qualified and ready for it!
When most people think of networking, they think of people in finance or business. But networking is important in all careers! Make sure you get to know people at work, attend networking events, and use sites like LinkedIn to make connections. Those connections may be the key to scoring your dream job in the future! If you need some more information on why networking is important and how to do it successfully, you can find that here.
5. Don’t Get Stagnant
It’s easy to get comfortable in a position you enjoy – there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you want your career to be as successful as possible, you need to keep moving. The best way to get promotions or pay raises is to move between companies every few years. You can also add onto your certifications (such as getting an extra certification to become a Nurse Anesthetist) or even going back to school (such as getting a Master’s to become a Nurse Practitioner after working as a nurse - you can find out if this is the right path for you here.)
6. Keep Informed
The medical field is always changing – so make sure you’re keeping up to date on the latest medical findings by reading medical journals, and don’t get stuck on what you learned in medical school – it may not be accurate forever!
7. Find Your Passion
Passion will be what keeps you going in your career. If you realize down the road that you might not be as interested in your specialty as you once were, or you’d rather work with Pediatric patients rather than adults, then make the change! The worst thing you can do for yourself is continue down a path you aren’t passionate about – it’s a one-way ticket to burnout.
8. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Lastly, it’s extremely important that you take care of yourself when working in the medical field (which has one of the highest rates of employee burnout, by the way)! Take time off, prioritize family time and self-care, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You can find more ways to prevent burnout and take care of yourself here.