Did you know healthcare is one of the fastest growing job sectors? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in healthcare will grow 19% between 2014 to 2024. This is a much higher rate of growth than that of most other professions, so if you are considering healthcare as a career opportunity, you are certainly not alone.
Jobs in healthcare hold a number of benefits. For example, you are always in demand. In addition, under the wide umbrella that is a career in healthcare, there are a number of choices to select from. Once integrated into the job experience, healthcare becomes an exciting experience full of new and constantly changing events at every corner. Some or all of these factors of a career may sound intriguing, but how do you know if healthcare is really the right fit for you? Four professionals in various fields of the healthcare industry discuss how they knew that healthcare wasn’t just a career choice, but their calling.
Q: How did you find your calling?
A: I am a neurosurgeon in Scottsdale, Arizona. I come from a long line of Engineers but I wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember. I wanted to be a Cardiologist because I was fascinated by the heart. I spent countless hours in Physiology courses spending time learning about the heart at the cost of ignoring other organ systems at times. During clinicals in my third year of medical school, I was actually exposed to Cardiology and it was like nothing I had imagined: I did not like it. As I searched for alternative specialties, I [found that I] enjoyed working with my hands; so, I naturally gravitated towards surgical subspecialties. The day I realized that I wanted to be a Neurosurgeon was when I observed a brain tumor and a lumbar disk herniation removed by the same surgeon. Seeing a pulsating brain was nothing short of exhilarating and the ability to remove that tumor and have no residual deficits are what stuck with me that day. The breadth of macro and microsurgery are what attracted me to Neurosurgery and continue to excite me everyday. Neurosurgery is a passion and I am glad I stumbled upon it.
I believe my attraction to Cardiology was due to the innate intricacy and anatomy of the heart. The complexity of the Cardiovascular system was also quite fascinating. However, during my clinical experience, that patient population did not benefit from the procedure immediately and I found that somewhat disheartening. The most disappointing issue for me was the delay in improvement and the long road to recovery lasting several weeks to months and the overall benefit from the procedure being unpredictable. However, in Neurosurgery, a patient may wake up pain free from removal of herniated disk fragment or a gross total resection of a brain tumor like a meningioma which may essentially cure the patient. The immediacy of improvement was nothing short of thrilling. That was likely the biggest factor that guided me into Neurosurgery and away from Cardiology or Cardiothoracic surgery.
Q: What advice would you give to those interested in exploring a career in healthcare?
A: Explore your interests and keep an open mind about sub specialties. Enjoy every rotation and seek out new opportunities that allow you to have a fulfilling career. The most important thing to remember is that your lifetime is a lot longer than a few extra or difficult years of training doing something you truly enjoy and foresee yourself doing for the foreseeable future.
Calling: Life Midwife
Q: How did your calling find you?
A: The moment I knew what I wanted to do was just after my girlfriend had given birth to her daughter and the midwife, [impressed with the way I assisted in the process], turned to me and asked for my business card. Providing support, encouragement and guidance for my friend came completely natural and easy for me. Time stopped and I was immersed in the experience.
By the way, I had never assisted anyone in birth, and had only had my first son at this point. It was a honor to be asked by my friend to accompany her, as well as have the midwife assume I had prior experience and had established a business.
Now, after many years in various roles of support and guidance for women, I call myself a Life Midwife. In addition to supporting women emotionally, I offer coaching in the area of health and wellness for women of all ages and all transitions in life.
Q: What advice would you give to those uncertain about their careers as it pertains to care?
A: Consider your life experience with healthcare providers – who made an impression on you? What type of care or service did they provide? Could you see yourself in that role, office or field? Ask yourself who you want to be surrounded by each day, your ideal client, ideal co-workers and environment. What is your motivation for interest in the healthcare field? Be clear about your expectations and potential to realize your goals.
Dr. Cedric Rutland
Calling: Pulmonary/Critical Care Physician
Q: When did you know you wanted to have a career in healthcare?
A: I was in the fifth grade when Sister Anne asked us to write down two short term goals and two long term goals. My short term goals were easy, “get straight A’s and score 20 points in my next basketball game”. My long term goals were “get a scholarship to North Carolina or Georgetown and then go to the NBA or go to medical school and become a doctor”. She made us take the paper home and I slapped it on my grandparents refrigerator. And there it stayed from the age of 10 until I was 24 and accepted into medical school. I never really “knew” I wanted to get into the profession at the age of ten. I was always curious about why my grandmother was blind and why my grandfather always had inhalers. I knew they went to doctors and they seemed to know a lot. Thats where the initial thought started. But it wasn’t until I wrote it down that it was a real thought.
At first, I wanted to be a surgeon because they “cut people open” but then I began to understand during my third year of medical school that I wanted to be the guy who knew almost anything. That is pulmonary critical care.
Q: What advice would you give to students and prospective students entering the career?
A: The best advice I can give is to make certain you want to be in healthcare. You need to have ownership [over] the patients. You are called upon to fix what may be broken. You are required to communicate with not only patients, but families. You must have a good bedside manner because, when patients are dying, as they typically are in the ICU, you have to articulate your suggestions to [the] family. Being an ICU physician at least, you think you can save the world, but most times the skill is knowing when there’s not much else to do and being able to have that discussion with the family to get them to understand ‘why’. If you demonstrate ownership, empathy, compassion and diligence, you can be very good.
Q: When did you realize a career in healthcare was right for you?
A: I was injured when I was about 10-years old and ended up in the hospital for a few days. The nurses took excellent care of me and after spending time with them, I realized I was a caregiver just like them. Originally, I thought about becoming a doctor but decided nursing was more interesting. When I was 14, I went to a very small hospital in my area. They had never had volunteers before, but they let me volunteer. When I was 15, the director of nursing called my mother and said, “If you get Sally a social security number, we will pay her.” All of this was my introduction to nursing.
Today, the nursing industry has various specializations and there are more opportunities than when I started my career. You can even use your nursing degree as an entrepreneur and create a business. The increase in technology has also expanded nursing services. And due to the increase in chronic diseases, nursing has expanded out into the community and schools.
Q: What advice would you give to those trying to find their way in nursing?
A: Find the kind of nursing you really enjoy and don’t hesitate to continue to look until you find the right fit. Be open to trying new areas of nursing and be active in your professional organizations. This will help keep you current and allow you to be an agent of change.
Pursue a hobby that is not in the health field and find continuing education classes and/or self-development classes that interest you. This will keep your mind active.
Are You Pursuing an Education in Healthcare?
Everyone comes across their life’s calling in different ways, but learning from established and successful healthcare professionals may help give guidance to those interested in the career. Finding a mentor in healthcare or even asking questions to trusted professionals may help lead you in the right direction.
Apply for CIA Medical’s Scholarship Today
For those interested in pursuing an education in a field of healthcare, a number of organizations offer scholarships to help support such education. If you or someone you know is interested in a scholarship for healthcare work, check out CIA Medical’s scholarship opportunity here.