Going to college or university with the goal of eventually working within the healthcare field has long been a dream for many people determined to receive higher education.
Pursuing a career in healthcare is often regarded as one of the more prestigious and well-paying career paths that a student can embark on.
However, while it’s true that entering the healthcare industry can provide a long and stable career, there are many downsides to healthcare jobs that should be considered before making the decision to spend the amount of time and money required to obtain a relevant degree.
There are plenty of reasons that motivate people to get into the healthcare profession. One of the more attractive benefits of working within the healthcare field is that the salary is quite good, often reaching six figures straight out of college.
Working as a healthcare provider also offers up the ability to find work nearly anywhere in the world, meaning that if someone does get the appropriate degree that they aren’t constrained when it comes to choosing where they would like to live — though you have be aware of the requirements and license in other countries.
But opportunities like Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders can offer many opportunities in practicing abroad.
Another solid benefit of seeking higher education that can result in a career in healthcare is that demand is already high and continuing to grow.
While there are already plenty of opportunities present in the healthcare field, recent trends like increased tech investment and changes to the Affordable Care Act have escalated the need for qualified healthcare professionals in the United States.
This need for trained medical professionals will only grow in the coming years as it is predicted that by 2030 the U.S. will be facing a shortage of 42,000 to 121,000 physicians.
Aside from the inherent job security that comes with working in healthcare, the generally high pay, and the freedom to work just about anywhere in the world, healthcare professions also offer more intrinsic benefits.
Doctors and nurses have been shown to have high levels of personal satisfaction with their jobs, not only because the salary allows them to pursue their passions outside of work, but also because the work that they do provides a tangible and immediate benefit to the world at large. Above all else, those working in the healthcare field can go home at the end of the day knowing that they made a positive impact on people’s lives.
While there are many benefits to a career in healthcare, there are also several prominent downsides that should be taken into consideration. Though medical work can be incredibly gratifying, it can also be very dirty work that requires a serious time commitment.
Many medical professionals will find themselves working intense shifts that might start well before dawn or go late into the night. Doctors and nurses on call might miss important life moments like holidays or time with their families in order to keep others safe and healthy.
Additionally, the amount of time and money it takes to earn a medical degree alone can turn many away from careers in healthcare.
Obtaining a medical degree can take 12 years or more when factoring in all of the schooling and time spent in residency required.
Going to school for a medical degree can also cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, even when attending the most affordable medical schools.
Cost, schooling, and time commitment are all serious downsides, but those looking to enter the healthcare field also have to contend with the inherent stress that comes with the job.
When someone has the pressure of another person’s life weighing on them it can lead to serious levels of stress. The emotional and mental toll that working in healthcare can exact can lead to higher divorce rates, increased risk of depression and a host of other medical issues ranging from heart disease to anxiety and sleep problems.
Is It Worth It?
When deciding on whether or not to try and enter the healthcare field professionally, weighing the positives and negatives carefully is essential. Students should think about whether the cost and time associated with obtaining a medical degree as well as the eventual stress and work involved are worth the relatively high pay and freedom that a career in the medical field provides. It is also worth taking into consideration the wide variety of healthcare professions that aren’t specifically tied to becoming a doctor.
There are plenty of healthcare and healthcare-adjacent jobs available that some may find more appealing due to the use of different skill sets or different requirements. Obtaining a health law and policy degree can allow people to work closely with the healthcare industry through jobs as paralegals, nurse attorneys, healthcare mediators, or public health program managers. There are also jobs directly within the healthcare field that like phlebotomists which only require a certification that takes far less time and money to complete than a medical degree.
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Ultimately the decision of whether or not a job in the healthcare field is worth it comes down to the individual. People should ask themselves what their motivation for entering the healthcare field is, and if their goals and aspirations could be achieved outside of the healthcare industry. Does the healthcare field naturally align with the skills that they have, and is the potential negative impact that a job in healthcare may have on their personal life in the long-term worth it?
Like any field, healthcare has its own set of pros and cons. For the most part, pursuing a career in the world of healthcare is a big commitment of both time and money, and knowing for sure what a career in healthcare entails is essential to making an informed decision.
Image Credit: pros cons healthcare career by Pixabay
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