Does Healthcare Hold the Cure for Career Confusion?

C.M. Jones

Career uncertainty, succinctly described as not knowing the field in which you wish to work or the role you wish to play within that field, is a common quagmire among wavering Americans. Our rapidly changing economy and our freedom to pursue the passions of our choosing can introduce immense confusion as we seek to pinpoint our ideal professional paths. Even so, the healthcare industry offers some compelling perks that endorse themselves even to the most dubious job seeker. Whether you’re a nascent college student or a seasoned workforce soldier, following are five reasons to embrace employment in healthcare.

Demand: That healthcare will exist as long as our species thrives goes without saying. Unfortunately, illness is a staple of being alive, and the call for both treatment and preventive care is certain to persist. In addition, jobs in healthcare are expected to grow by 18 percent (2.4 million jobs) by 2026, mainly in response to an aging labor force. By 2029, more than 18 percent of the U.S. population is projected to be over 65. That milestone will affect various industries, but healthcare organizations will augment their employee pools substantially. Unless robots become far more advanced than anticipated, the need for physicians, nurses, researchers, administrators, and so on will soar. And because healthcare, unlike many technological fields, is focused on people, people will fill the jobs that make up the industry. Healthcare is a sphere wherein the proliferation of software and gadgetry won’t efface the import of human involvement, at least not foreseeably. Despite healthcare’s emerging incorporation of artificial intelligence in its daily operations, the probability that automated speech recognition and visual perception will replace the expertise of well-trained nurses or administrative executives is paltry at best. Of course, predicting the impact of burgeoning technologies is as precarious as placing faith in long-range weather forecasts. Thirty years ago, who thought cell phones would become compact oxygen tanks that do most of their users’ thinking?

Compensation: Though money isn’t the lone factor that makes a job attractive, ample compensation goes a long way toward charming the vacillating candidate. As a rule, healthcare jobs pay well. The median average healthcare wage as of May 2017 was $64,770. Compare that sum to the meager generalized median wage of $37,690, and most readers will take eager notice of healthcare opportunities. Finding a form of employment you find intrinsically rewarding is of the essence, but when you combine personal satisfaction with the potential for top-notch earnings, you might be one step closer to career paradise -- or at least to a better-stocked checking account while viewing photographs of paradise in travel brochures. Variety: Healthcare supplies a unique assortment of intriguing occupations. Hospitals, physician-practice management companies, clinics, insurance agencies, pharmacies, and boutique urgent care centers all boast everything from food service and housekeeping to accounting, IT, and, of course, medical (clinical) roles such as physicians, advanced practice providers, technicians, and nurses. Regardless of your interests and expertise, you can likely find application for it in healthcare. Furthermore, should a delicacy in the employee cafeteria make you ill, a physician might be a convenient table away.

Stability: Though the U.S. healthcare system is in perennial flux (as well as never-ending political turmoil), it offers a largely stable employment haven. To allude to a previous point about the vital nature of human input, most positions in healthcare require human intellect, skill, and interaction, and few can be outsourced domestically or relocated abroad. Thus, reliability and competence will go a long way toward securing your success in healthcare. Unknowns will always be present, but healthcare is a field that shows no signs of launching mass layoffs or sinking into the globalized abyss.

Purpose: Let’s be candid about a regrettable aspect of our economy: Many of our goods and services serve frivolous purposes. No, I’m not advancing the virtues of communism I’m merely highlighting that the fulfillment of genuine need isn’t the primary aim of many professions. To an extent, the same charge can be brought against healthcare (plastic surgery isn’t always a life-or-death equation), but by and large, the improvement and preservation of health, both physical and psychological, is a worthy mission you can take pride in. Revealing that you work in healthcare will rarely elicit a chorus of sneers and protests, though no means of livelihood is immune to disapproval. Overall, your efforts in healthcare should give you a career-long sense of contribution, even if you find yourself conversing with someone who has a phobia of blood and bandages or hates the show “New Amsterdam.”

In a world that boasts -- both to its welfare and detriment -- a surplus of enterprises to be explored and sampled, zeroing in on a solid target can be a daunting prospect. What glitters often rusts, and rust can be a nuisance to conquer. Though an occupation (a way to pass your time) is easy enough to find, a vocation (a calling that delivers both purpose and reward) is a greater challenge to uncover. Perhaps healthcare is the realm in which you’ll seize upon your calling.