29 March 2016 | Grads Corner | Guest Author
If you’re a recent graduate attempting to make a name for yourself in the medical industry, then it can be difficult to know how exactly to stand out amongst your peers. Assuming you all have the same base level training, career progression mainly comes down to how pragmatic you are with your work. Whether you’re an aspiring doctor, nurse or pharmacist, it’s important you seize every opportunity to improve your understanding of healthcare, in order to give yourself an edge over those competing for similar jobs. Nowadays, career progression comes down to more than just good academic results and you need to show that you are willing to undertake tasks that others aren’t so keen to do. It’s also worth investigating ways you can learn new skills that allow you to compete with more advanced members of medical staff. However you decide to proceed, it’s simply not enough to rest on your laurels and rely solely on your med school grades.
Look For Further Training In Your Chosen Niche
The learning process shouldn’t end at the beginning of your career. Throughout your time as a medical professional there will plenty of chances to expand your knowledge of medicine and, ultimately, advance into a more specialist role. For example, if you’ve recently qualified as a doctor then your training shouldn’t finish with your PhD. As well as foundation training as a junior doctor, those in the field can also complete 3-7 years of specialist training, which enables them to work as independent practitioners. Whilst this might seem like a monumental task to undertake, specialist training takes place on the job and the sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the rewards. The same goes for those accepting nursing jobs. Training is available to those looking to increase their options, allowing graduate nurses to become advanced practitioners. There is even the option of enrolling on a Masters course for those who want to specialise in a specific area of nursing.
Find A Doctor Or Nurse To Mentor You
Finding a mentor in any industry isn’t always an easy process and you need to ensure you are approaching the right person for the job.
Ideally, the doctor or nurse you approach should be a specialist in your field of interest. Whilst all medical advice is valuable, you need to be focusing on gaining a broader understanding of the area you want to break into. Most doctors will be flattered that you have chosen to contact them, but it’s still important that they can get something out of the relationship too. It can be all too tempting to target the most respected doctor in your field, but if they have very little time to spare and you can’t convince them that it’s worth investing in you, then it might not be the ideal partnership. Instead, look to medical professionals who have taken a very similar path to you and are willing to guide you through the early stages. The British Medical Association (BMA) has more information on mentor schemes that could help you connect with experienced professionals.
Discover Ways To Gain More Exposure
The simple fact of the matter is that you need to be known to your seniors in order to be selected for progression. Whether this an internal promotion or an offer from another surgery or hospital, the right kind of exposure can help you get ahead. Many junior doctors and nurses don’t apply themselves beyond the specifications of their job, which doesn’t give them many opportunities to stand out from the crowd. You should never be afraid to offer your insight or advice to colleagues, as these qualities can set you aside from the rest of the group. When it comes to job applications, it’s also useful to know exactly where the top employers are looking. In recent years, many doctors and nurses have taken to jobsites such as LinkedIn to find jobs with better pay and better working conditions, in the hope that they will be headhunted by major healthcare providers. However, the medical job board is still the most popular form of recruitment in the healthcare sector and is used regularly by hiring managers. In either case, it’s important to have skills on your CV that show more than just your ability to obtain good grades and demonstrate that you are a confident and flexible employee.
Consider Taking On More Work
Current staffing issues have forced hospitals to offer unsociable overtime to their medical teams. But rather than seeing this as a setback, you should view the opportunity for surplus work as an advantage. Taking on extra responsibilities shows a desire to adapt and grow, making you a prime candidate when job vacancies crop up further down the line. If the work allows you to fill in for a more senior member of the team, then all the better. Always grab opportunities to learn new skills and roles when they arise, so you can add them to your CV. Just make sure that you are definitely up to the task!
Learn The Value Of Networking
Promotions are almost always made on the referral of another member of staff. This means that getting to know the rest of your team is a must, especially those higher up the chain that you might not interact with on a daily basis. Networking is a fundamental part of any profession. In healthcare it’s not only the key to healthy working relationships but also a springboard to progression. There are plenty of opportunities to network with likeminded professionals throughout the year, from small talk with fellow doctors and nurses to company events where you have the chance to chat with esteemed consultants in a less formal atmosphere. Every connection you make is a potential gateway to a new job, as you never know who these people are connected with themselves. Attend local conferences, interact with other medical staff on social media and begin cementing valuable relationships throughout the industry.
Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the medical jobsite, Jobs4Medical, helping medical staff find careers both in the UK and abroad.