Eva Wislow is a career coach and entrepreneur from Pittsburgh. She helps people discover their true calling.
It’s hard to describe a career in healthcare sciences with a single definition. That’s because there are multiple career paths to follow in this industry. You can do everything from acupuncture to measuring organ function to investigating genetics.
When we think of a healthcare scientist, we imagine a laboratory-based function related to discovering new scientific treatments. However, your career may also involve direct work with patients. You may also be focused on engineering medical equipment. Holistic nutrition is also part of healthcare sciences.
As a student, are you sure you completely understand this path? In this article, I'll list five main things you should know if you decide to pursue a career in the healthcare sciences.
5 Things You Might Not Know About Being a Healthcare Scientist
- It Requires Both Specific and General Education
- The Training Involves Practical Experience
- No Matter Where You Start, You'll Need Extra Training
- It Won't Be Easy to Achieve Work-Life Balance
- You'll Need a Clear Career Plan
1. It Requires Both Specific and General Education
If you decide to become a biomedical engineer, you’ll need a degree in biomedical engineering. It’s easy to figure out that part. However, what most students don’t know is that the preparation for a career in healthcare involves general education, too.
You will have to develop a broad spectrum of skills, including communication, writing, problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.
Rudolph Ortiz, a Career Advisor at CareersBooster, explains that this is an aspect most students are not prepared for: “The students preparing for careers in healthcare sciences don’t see the point in developing writing skills. They get why they need to work on their communication and problem-solving skills, but some parts of the educational process seem completely pointless. There’s a big point. General education makes you a complete, well-informed person who’s ready to pursue a career.”
2. The Training Involves Practical Experience
Healthcare science training is more patient-focused than ever. Instead of studying theory, the students are required to demonstrate practical skills at every stage of the training. No matter what program you join, you’ll start receiving practical workplace experience from the very beginning.
You’ll still be engaged in academic learning, but the hands-on work will give it a new dimension—this is a good thing. Apprenticeships are also important. Your program may make internships a requirement. If an apprenticeship is not necessary for graduation, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it. This will be like a real job that comes with practical training. It prepares you for a real, full-time job after graduation.
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3. No Matter Where You Start, You’ll Need Extra Training
All aspects of the healthcare industry are constantly evolving. You may be in counseling therapies, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, wellness promotion, physiology, or even administration. No matter what career path you choose, you’ll never stop learning.
Most organizations invest in the development of their workforce. They provide additional training that keeps the skills of their employees updated. If you run your own business in healthcare, however, you’ll have to take care of that part on your own.
When you start this career journey, remember to stay informed about the innovations in the industry. Find out what the most important conferences in your field are and attend them. Without active learning, there’s no success as a healthcare practitioner.
4. It Won’t Be Easy to Achieve Work-Life Balance
No matter how hard you try to keep the boundary between work and life clear, it won’t be possible. If you’re in direct contact with patients, you’ll have to show empathy. It won’t be an act. You will feel closer to them, and you’ll keep thinking about them after working hours are over.
It’s not good to be married to your work. You’ll have to find a way to keep your private life private. You can’t bring the burdened feeling home; it will affect your partner and everyone around you.
5. You’ll Need a Clear Career Plan
What career do you plan to pursue? What’s the ideal position you envision? Do you want your own practice? Do you want to work in a big laboratory? Whatever the case is, you’ll have to set up goals and develop a plan that will get you there.
Career planning is not easy. First, you need to research the industry you’re focused on. Find out what entry positions you can compete for. How much do they pay? How much will you be able to save? When will you be able to pursue additional training? When will you move towards a higher position? All these moments are important to predict.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Eva Wislow