It’s surprising how few job seekers today have a career strategy, one that will get them from a series of jobs to a meaningful career. If you went to college, the path to your degree was pretty much mapped out. You took this course after that and this lab after that lab. Then, the semester before you graduated, you did a “grad check” to determine if you had all the coursework completed. It was a process, a paradigm, and it got you from point A to point B in the shortest time. Yet when it comes to careers, people will bounce around, from job to job with very little thought to long-term planning. The acquisition of jobs is usually guided by salary, location and perks. If you’re floundering from job to job, a bit of career planning might help you. Some suggestions:
Be Aware of Credentials You’ll Need
Assuming you have a degree in your field, make sure you have the right credentials that your career calls for. A career in nursing, for example, calls for a variety of different credentials. There are over 200 nursing specialties and subspecialties. The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exists in two forms: one for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) and one for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN). The American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers a wide range of certifications in many specialty areas, including pediatrics, psychiatric care and diabetes management. The National League for Nursing offers certification for nurse educators. Additional education may be required for some certifications.
Be Aware of Career Peaks and Valleys
Consider where your career path is leading you. Nursing, in general, may be in demand, but this can fluctuate depending on the economy and other factors. For example, the need for home health aides is expected to see substantial growth through 2018 as more boomers need care. Physician Assistants will see substantial growth as Obamacare spreads healthcare too thin for existing physicians. Consider too, the impact of outsourcing as more healthcare organizations outsource the handling and processing of medical records, billing and other fact-based chores. So it would be wise to choose a career path that segues away from jobs that can be handled off-site via computer. In Understanding Healthcare Economics: Managing Your Career in an Evolving Healthcare System Jeanne Wendel PHD, William O'Donohue PHD and Teresa D. Serratt PHD RN underscore the importance of government legislation in impacting certain segments of the healthcare economy.
Be Aware of Forks in the Road
Many workers get so wrapped in their daily and weekly schedules of work and deadlines that they can’t see the career forks looming in the distance. Their careers simply plod along and they miss key opportunities to advance or segue into career paths they really should be pursuing. It’s important to periodically step back and see the forest for the trees. Attend seminars and conferences in your field. Talk to healthcare professionals who are one, two to even three rungs above you. Ask how they got there, the mistakes they made and what they would have done differently. Check out Mentors Make Sense -- Health Callings.
Long-term career planning takes real work. But if you want to succeed, you’ll be aware of what it takes to achieve your goals.
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