How To Advance Your Career as a Healthcare Professional

healthcare professional

Working in healthcare is not a job – it’s a vocation. It’s not just something you do to put the money on the table – it’s who you are. Due to its delicate nature, it’s not something that anyone can do. Those with the guts and nerves for this are, therefore, rewarded with both lucrative career opportunities and compensations in terms of respect that they enjoy in their community. Healthcare takes quite a bit, so, in order to make it worth your while, you need to ensure that you get back as much as possible. Here are eight tips to help advance your career as a healthcare professional.


Working in healthcare is a non-specific statement and in order to advance, you may need to specialize. After all, when hiring, various healthcare institutions will ask for industry-specific experience and relevant certificates. You just can’t cover it all. As a doctor, becoming a specialist will be incredibly expensive, as well as take years. Nonetheless, the same goes for nurses, dentists, etc. The key thing is that you pick the field that’s in-demand, that you’re passionate about, and that’s lucrative enough. This way, you’ll never lack the motivation to keep pushing forward.

2.Continue your education

Continuous education in healthcare is not just recommended, it’s mandatory for all those who have the intention of prolonging their license. However, in order to stay competitive and advance, you need to do more than a bare minimum of what’s expected of you. Always be on the lookout for new courses and be disciplined when it comes to reading new articles and guidelines published by the WHO. It might even be a good idea to set aside a budget for your continuous education. These courses are not that expensive but it quickly adds up.

3.Develop the right mindset

The next thing you need to understand is that in order to make it in healthcare you need to develop a specific mindset. On the one hand, you’re someone who’s there to help people. At the same time, you may have to get accustomed to some of the least pleasant states of the human condition. Watching people in pain is never easy but you need to remind yourself why you’re there. You also need to constantly remind yourself that you are, in fact, making a difference. As we’ve mentioned in the introduction, this is not jour job – it is your calling. You need to act like it.

4.Always look for more

It’s easy for one to become lulled into a false sense of comfort, however, this is what sidetracks us from our long-term objectives. You must always be on the lookout for new and better opportunities. This is not just reserved for permanent practice staff but locum doctors, as well. This is why finding the right locum recruitment agency, which can update you on all the latest offers is such an important move. Still, you can’t expect others to do this opportunity-hunting for you – you must always be on the lookout.

5.Learn how to work with others

Working with others in healthcare is a complex matter. On the one hand, you’re working with professionals, however, professionals usually come with a bit of an ego. You need to learn how to establish meaningful relationships with other professionals while maintaining the integrity of your own position. Also, you’ll be put in a lot of different positions, like being a leader or an instructor. This means that you need to learn how to adopt a new business model, adjust to these new circumstances and help others get on board. Overall, it’s a tough task to handle.

6.Find a mentor

Every time you join a new field or a new practice, chances are that there’s someone who can act as your mentor. Try to establish a mentor-protégé relationship with them and see what they have to offer. In order to become more effective at this, you might want to develop your interpersonal skills a bit. One of the great sources for this is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. At the same time, this shouldn’t be much of rocket science. Show some respect, be honest about your agenda, and learn how to actively listen. Learning doesn’t have to be an active process.

7.Focus on your goals

Now, this particular piece of advice is not necessarily healthcare-exclusive. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose track of the goals that we’re pursuing. In order to avoid this, it might be a good idea to remind yourself of what you want from time to time. Sure, saying that you want to advance puts you on the right track but you have to be more specific. Of course, getting a better salary in a different position may seem like an advancement but what if it’s a lateral move that takes you off the track from your primary objective. Leading a sort of a “career journal” might come in quite handy.

8.Establish a work-life balance

While this may sound trivial, in healthcare, establishing a good work-life balance might be one of the most difficult challenges yet. First of all, people in healthcare work odd hours. During extraordinary times like the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be forced to postpone your vacations and days off for quite a while. Then, there’s the emotional strain that comes from working in such a high-stress-inducing field. Most of the days, you won’t be able to leave the mental images behind when you go home. All of this might push your private life and relationships to their limits. 

In conclusion

In the end, while the above-listed eight tips were healthcare-specific, they apply to any other profession and line of work. After all, adopting the right mindset, keeping your personal life and your profession separate, and continuously improving are universal principles of career advancement. The same goes for keeping track of your goals, learning how to be a team player, and identifying those with a lot to teach. In other words, while the industry itself is specific, acting like a professional is a universal recipe for success.