How to Choose a Healthcare Career That Perfectly Fits You

1. ASK YOURSELF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

What do you really want to do? Where do you want to work? What skills do you have? Do you want to be hands-on, dealing directly with the patients? Or do you want to be in the support staff that helps doctors and nurses deal with them? How much would you like to earn as a starting salary? How much will you need to earn five years from now to accomplish your financial objectives? What kind of task will interest you to do it long enough for eight hours or more a day for the next 10 years of your life? Asking these questions will give you an idea of what type of job will best fit your skills, goals and interests.

Every duty and specialization in the healthcare industry demands a different set of skills and personality traits. Your goal is to find the right position that’s consistent with your interests, goals and personal preferences. Some healthcare jobs may seem more interesting for you but could be totally far off from your current training or even target income. As soon as you’re able to have a more detailed introspective look on yourself, it’s time for you to match your profile to the jobs available. Learning about the industry as a whole will show you what jobs are present and in demand these days.

2. GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

Having an overview of the industry will give you the big picture of what health careers are available and in-demand. Begin your research by getting to know the trends, events and key players in the industry. Your local newspaper’s business section and specialized publications like BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal will give you valuable information on the general situation of the companies and facilities in the sector. Industry websites such as FierceHealthcare.com, AdvanceWeb.com and the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN.com) provides up-to-date news and developments on specific healthcare industry segments and careers, as well as outlook and analysis on related matters. Some of this news and information updates involve specific healthcare careers and forecasts on their demand.

There are also content available online that’s solely focused on healthcare career development. Websites like MedHunter.com and About.com’s Health Career Site provides a suite of information, tools and even free electronic publications for job seekers.

These websites and resources should give you an idea of the current and future state of the industry. If, along the way, you want to narrow down your search to a specific company, location or issue related to the health career path you plan to take, company and government websites will be of great use for further research.

3.SEEK ADVICE FROM PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS AND INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
After you have asked yourself the right questions to know what job will fit you and have gained a general understanding of the healthcare sector, it’s time to seek qualified advice from experts and industry insiders. If you’re a student, inquire at your Career Services Office or any department that deals with student affairs. They would be the best source to help you with your search as they have in-depth profiles of jobs available and even connections with companies that have them. Giving you the information and assistance you need to find the best job based on your profile and education is the reason why they’re there.

If you have your own contacts, reach out to them, particularly those who hold jobs that you aspire to have someday.Ask them questions about their day-to-day duties, satisfaction level at work, challenges in their workplace and skill sets that they have used or acquired to be effective in what they do. Get information on growth opportunities in their field and specific advice on how to get and keep a job like theirs. If possible and when appropriate, politely ask if they have any failures or regrets and how you can avoid them as well as their current income and how they’re able to sustain themselves with their salary. This is all priceless information that no book, course or school can give you.Seize them!

4.DIVE INTO OPPORTUNITIES WITH A GAME PLAN

Now that you know what’s out there and have done your research as well as sought out first- hand advice on prospective jobs you want to have, it’s time to take action on the opportunities available. Making sure that you have your resume, license(s) and other preliminary requirements that a healthcare facility or company requires from applicants is your first priority before you start applying.

Take note of the tactics you will use, whether it’s phone, fax, email or the web.Most careers in the industry have healthcare staffing firms that help applicants get jobs. Apply to them as they have a vested interest in your success and will assist you professionally until you get to the facility or company that you want to work for. These firms have established relationships with facilities and healthcare companies and usually receive vacancy announcements from them earlier than everybody else. This would also be the time to once again get in touch with the professionals you’ve sought advice from about the job you want. Ask about any openings or at least request for their critique of any resume or material you may be using when applying.

Part of your strategy should be to utilize all channels possible to get your resume and name out there. Online tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and healthcare career-focused social networks like Medical Mingle can open doors for you. Have your letters ready and practice mock interviews with a friend or family. When you start reaching out to companies, take note of those you’ve applied to and follow-up if necessary. Exhaust all options that you have to get the job that you’ve worked so hard to be able to get.

When you find the right career path, you discover an important part of your life. Your search for a career will result to some long-term benefits when you do it diligently. Your job directly impacts your life since it’s what you will do for most of your waking hours. By putting the effort and time needed in preparing and executing a well-planned job search, you increase the possibility of finding that healthcare career that will perfectly fit you. Good luck!

CHARMAINE TEODORO is the Senior Vice Preside

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Healthcare Information Technology Can Save YOUR Life and YOUR Money

Healthcare Information Technology (IT) has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last decade and today, it can easily save your life or the life of your loved one if you or your family member has to be hospitalized for any reason. Not only can healthcare IT save your life but your money, too.

The wrong medication can easily kill you. You might know you are allergic to a medication and have input that on your patient information forms. There might be a known medication interaction between two medications provided. Unless these facts are compared and taken into account, it is very easy for the wrong medication to be provided in a healthcare setting.

Doctors and nurses are only human. They work long hours; often working double shifts during crises. They get tired; their eyes become weary and they are frequently rushing from patient to patient. Even when well-rested and refreshed, mistakes can be made because these professionals are simply human and no human is perfect. Even with the best training, it is possible to misread a doctor’s instructions, medication allergy information, or the name or dosage of a drug on the often small-print labels. The potential for error is enormous, at best, when human eyes and hands are the only method for dispensing medication to patients in hospitals or other healthcare settings.

One well-known example which received a lot of press was the incident with Dennis and Kimberly Quaid’s twin babies. These tiny infants were given a dosage of Heparin which was 1,000 times the dosage ordered, and while they recovered, death was a clear possibility. There were not the only patients overdosed with this medication. They were just the famous ones that received press.

The solution to this life-threatening problem is added safety measures but no patient wants to pay the added cost of having multiple sets of human eyes check every single instruction and medication. Plus, even with two or three sets of eyes, the possibility of error remains.

So, how are you, as a patient, to be assured you are getting the correct medications while paying the least amount of money? The answer will sound simple but the actual implementation is quite complex. For this reason, let’s look at the simple, easy-to-understand reason why healthcare IT helps assure your health and save pocketbook, too.

Computers do not get tired; they do not become distracted by the phone call from the children’s school or other personal problems. They are, today, perfectly capable of reading medication labels accurately every single time by use of barcodes. Once told of an allergy or possible medication contraindication, the computer never, ever forgets or fails to compare the medication about to be provided to you, the patient, with these facts. And, this process is accomplished within nanoseconds rather than valuable minutes of a human’s time.

Once medication is dispensed by the healthcare IT medication control solution, the computer bills your insurance carrier or adds the medication to your self-pay account. Instead of having many pieces of paper and many hands processing this information, it is handled efficiently and instantly. The right patient is billed for the right medication in the correct amount. The errors historically made of healthcare bills are reduced to virtually zero.

At the same time, the inventory of the medication is reduced by the amount which has been dispensed and, when the inventory becomes sufficiently reduced, a flag is raised and an order generated so that an order is generated for the supplier to deliver more. This way, human error does not result in shortages of critical medications.

The many legally required reports regarding dispensing of medications — especially controlled substances which help you deal with post-surgical or post-injury pain and suffering — are generated. These reports once required hours or days to produce.

It remains true that your healthcare professionals must input your patient information into the healthcare IT system correctly in order for these safeguard to work properly, but the time consumed by this process is only minutes compared to the hours eaten away in past decades by paper-trails and hand-dispensing of medication.

Healthcare IT systems are now being deployed into physicians’ and other healthcare professionals’ offices because they work just as well when prescribing medication to be dispensed at your local pharmacy as when dispensing medication in a hospital.

While these healthcare IT solutions require a substantial initial investment to put into place, the long-term savings to patients is enormous. More importantly, the peace of mind you gain when hospitalized or being treated by a healthcare professional is vast. Just consider what is your life worth when a single medication error could kill you!

Muhammad Siddiqui is a focused Healthcare IT Architect and Project Manager with over 12 years experience in healthcare interface solutions and clinical applications. With a proven track record delivering HL7, X12, HIS, LIS, PIS client/service and distributed system architectures, as well as cross-vendor systems utilizing Cerner, Mediware WoRx, Eclipsys, GE Centricity, Epic, Allscript, Meditech, CPSI and SunQuest in some of the top U.S. hospitals, he continually stays on the cutting edge of healthcare IT developments. He also holds an MBA in Business as well as many computer hardware and software certifications.

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