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The Growth in Healthcare Jobs: Be Careful What You Wish For

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Healthcare jobs represent a growth area for job seekers. It seems to be common knowledge that as the population ages and more people get,morecoverage under Obamacare, healthcare jobs will continue their current growth.

However, be careful what you wish for. I've worked with major healthcare systems for many years, and many physicians, nurses, lab techs, radiology techs, and others in healthcare jobs are not exactly satisfied.

First, the pressure in healthcare is immense. The complexities of balancing productivity, quality of care, and service excellence in an extremely difficult budget situation means that people in just about every healthcare job feel constant stress.

Second, you have to always be paranoid about lawsuits, and that leads to defensive patient care tactics and over-documentation.

Third, technology changes rapidly, and it is hard to keep up.

Fourth, many people in healthcare jobs aren't always well-trained as managers and communicators, and this can make your job miserable. Verbal abuse is alive and well in the surgical suites and many patient care units.

Fifth, things come and go in cycles. Only a decade or two ago, there was a huge surplus of nurses, and layoffs were common. Now we are in a nursing shortage. If you get into a healthcare job expecting permanent employment, you may be sorely disappointed a few years from now.

Sixth, healthcare is not as glamorous as they make it look on television shows like ER. There is tons of paperwork, downtime, routine tasks, and fairly disgusting things that you have to do.

Seventh, with the shortage in staff, many healthcare systems are hiring less qualified workers who sometimes need remedial help with English, writing, and technology. This adds more pressure on staff members to support these people and help them stay afloat -- and budgets aren't being adjusted to account for the skill gap by hiring more people.

Here is my suggestion, which a physician gave me as advice way back when I was in college thinking about becoming a doctor. He told me, "The only reason to get into a healthcare job is if you have a passion to heal others. If you have that passion, the stress and tedium will not be a big deal. If you don't have that passion to heal, you will be miserable!"

Good advice. Lesson for all: Don't get into a growth industry just because it is growing!


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