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How to start a new career in healthcare

If you’re feeling frustrated in your current role and are considering a career change, you could do a lot worse than to look at healthcare. The sector is currently growing rapidly, and is desperately in need of qualified professionals. However, competition for the best jobs is still very fierce, and you’ll need to work hard and research thoroughly to get the kind of position you want.

A sector in crisis

The healthcare industry worldwide, and in the US in particular, is currently facing a generational crisis. The largest generation in history, the baby boomers, is retiring and reaching the age when its healthcare needs are going to increase dramatically. The US is looking at an aging population that is both living longer and facing greater health challenges than the generations that came before it.

More care needed

Two-thirds of over-65s suffer from chronic disease, and recent decades have seen an upsurge in conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, due to a mix of environmental factors and lifestyle choices. Older patients generally need two to three times more specialist care, and the number of over-65s is expected to increase by 48% between 2019 and 2032.

Skills shortage

It’s not just service users that are getting older. Healthcare professionals are also aging, and there isn’t enough young talent coming in to replace them. One-third of the nursing workforce is expected to retire in the next 10 to 15 years, but nursing schools are turning away qualified applicants due to a lack of facilities. All this adds up to a desperate skills shortage that is only going to get worse in the coming years.

Getting qualified

The first challenge that anyone thinking of going into healthcare faces is to get qualified. With medical schools massively oversubscribed, one solution is to take a nursing PhD online with Wilkes University. Because hospitals and clinics are badly in need of qualified healthcare personnel, another advantage of this is that it can be taken while you’re also working full-time, so you don’t need to leave your present position until you’re ready to do so.

Attractive offers

Medical institutions are now so urgently in need of qualified staff that they’re offering a wide range of attractive perks and incentives, including signing bonuses, generous benefits and insurance plans. Long hours and the risk of burnout are putting off many talented young people from entering the profession, and so employers realize that they have to be more than competitive with other sectors. Nursing and healthcare generally may be a vocation and its own reward for the right kind of person, but the material rewards need to be commensurate with the demands.

Landing a job

Do your research carefully. Find out which job roles there are the most demand for, what the average salary is, and the prospects for growth. Some of the most important positions include physician or physician’s assistant, registered nursing practitioner, and dentist.

Assess your current skills, qualifications and experience. How are they transferable to healthcare? What other qualifications and work experience will you need to get into the sector? Tailor your resumé to the healthcare industry, and seek out existing healthcare professionals for inside information on jobs and employers in your area.

Healthcare is a very rewarding profession and can also be well-paid. The demand is there and roles desperately need to be filled. With the right qualifications, you could find that you’re on your way to a bright new career.

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