Whether you are in nursing, therapy or support there are multiple career opportunities for you to explore in healthcare. Everyone has varying aspirations, so having multiple choices to consider means you can grow your career your way.

The key to charting a career is thinking about your options and deciding what type of role will allow you to use your skills in a way that is personally rewarding.

Which path is right for you?

Some people know they want to lead, while others want to be an expert in their field or try something new. There are four main strategies to consider as you grow your career. It can also make sense to build a development plan based on using multiple strategies, such as becoming an expert and then working toward advancement.

Develop in position

Want to become an expert in your position? If so, consider taking action such as furthering your education, joining or chairing a committee or becoming a preceptor or trainer.

Develop specialization

In the physical rehabilitation world, specialization is what sets our staff apart. You can dive into a specialty by exploring a CRRN® certification, wound care certification or even a neuro residency. Harnessing your talents can enable you to make unique contributions to your organization and in turn, propel your career.

Advancement

There are many ways to climb the ladder. Some vertical examples include a nurse manager becoming a CNO or a therapist becoming a therapy team leader or therapy manager. Advancement does not always mean becoming a supervisor, though. An RN can become a hospital educator, a nurse tech can become a case management assistant, and a nutrition services aide can become a cook.

Lateral

Learning to perform another role within your hospital can expand your skill set and keep the job interesting. An environmental services aide might consider becoming a nutrition services aide, for example. Additionally, cross-trained employees are true MVPs, helping the hospital cover vacations, leaves and vacancies. 

Cross training can also lead to lateral role transitions if there is a vacancy that interests you. When you apply internally and interview, you get the unique opportunity to share your experiences and talk about the skills you obtained through cross training.

What if you do not know which path is right for you?

How can you figure out your path if you have not yet come to a solid conclusion just yet? As you ponder your options, there are things you can do to gain insight that can lead you to the path that is right for you.

  • Research positons at your organization and see if anything sparks your interest.
  • Talk with coworkers in different departments and roles and ask them what they like and dislike about their current position.
  • Ask current experts what they did to grow their skills.
  • See what certifications you could obtain to specialize or gain expertise.
  • Look at future demand for various positions (spoiler: healthcare is expected to continue to grow for many years).
  • Ask your manager about different career options, whether locally, regionally or nationally if your company has multiple locations.
  • Arrange to shadow others in different positions to get a sense of what a typical day is like.
  • Get involved in teams and projects that involve different departments to give you more interdisciplinary exposure.
  • Think about your personality, and what type of work experiences have made you the happy or have been the most rewarding in the past. Think about what brought you satisfaction and how it made you feel.

While looking at different pay rates may influence your decision, following your heart and having a passion for what you do is what will keep you engaged and interested in your career for decades. Sacrificing your dream job for pay can result in burnout and dissatisfaction with your career. Since you will likely spend the majority of your week at work, doesn’t it make sense to be happy and do what you love?

Assess where you are now

It is important to understand how your current performance, competencies, and experiences align to your future career. To do that you need to consider what experience, education, and performance you have that would be beneficial to your career. You should also think about what you do well at work, and what you may be able to improve to position yourself well for future opportunities.

  • What education level and certification do you currently have?
  • How many relevant years of experience do you have?
  • What does your manager say about your current performance?
  • Are you reliable and come to work when scheduled and on time?
  • Do you have good relationships with your peers?
  • Do you embrace change or struggle with it?
  • Do you proactively communicate concerns, with an end-goal of finding a better way to care for patients?
  • Are you a positive influence on others?

Determine what you need to take the next step

Realistically assess where you are and where you want to be. This may mean going back to school, studying for a certification or changing some behaviors to align to your future career expectations. When you interview for your next role, your interviewer will want to hear about how you prepared for the role from both a technical and behavioral perspective and that you will work well with the team.

Make a plan 

Having a structured development plan will allow you to chart out what you want to do to close any identified gaps between where you are and where you want to go. A documented plan is the key to having clarity and direction.

Ideally, your organization should have a development tool that is flexible so you can build an effective career plan. A good plan allows you to identify your career path goals, your strengths, your development opportunities and specific action steps you can take to achieve your career goals. You should also be able to target specific completion dates and success measures to help you stay on track and celebrate your successes.

Your manager can suggest options for your plan and help you identify ways to gain new work experiences that align with your goals. Keep them actively engaged in your development through conversations and sharing drafts of your plan.

Research whether or not your organization has development tools, tuition reimbursement programs, internal courses, cross-training opportunities and other resources to support your growth. You can add take advantage of these resources as you create your plan.

Whatever you do, keep moving forward

Your career belongs to you. You make the choices, align resources you need and implement your plan. The success of your plan is dependent on the time and energy you are willing to put into your career growth.

Be curious about your career options and the possibilities of what lies before you. Embrace personal and career change, and be optimistic about what you can achieve. 

At Encompass Health, our employees are empowered to shape the future direction of their growth using our resources designed to help them identify career goals and make sustainable progress in the development of their performance, competencies, and experiences. This development allows employees to maximize their contribution in their current role or prepare for future roles.

We are national leader in integrated healthcare services, offering both facility-based and home-based patient care through its network of inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, home health agencies and hospice agencies. If you are interested in learning more about career opportunities at Encompass Health, please visit our website.   

We also invite you to stay in touch with us by joining our talent community so a member of our recruitment team can email you with more information.

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