The Biggest Risks of Starting a Career in Healthcare

Photo of a team of healthcare professionals.

You’ve done the research, and your mind is made up: a career in healthcare is the perfect decision for you. This industry offers all the daily challenge and sense of reward you need in order to stay motivated and engaged. It also offers the right amount of prestige, adequate compensation and a schedule that suits your lifestyle. But before you commit yourself to this path, make sure you understand some of the risks that lie ahead. Don’t be caught off guard by any of these five possibilities.

1. Healthcare careers often involve a significant upfront investment.

Some careers in healthcare require only a few years of training via an associate’s degree or certification program. But others demand a bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s program or admission to medical school, followed licensing exams and a four year residency, which can add up to 12 years or more before students can become full time practitioners earning professional salaries. Countless medical and nursing students change their minds at some point along this path and pursue other career options instead…but their debts still need to be paid off. Consider this before make your decision.

2. Healthcare isn’t for every personality.

Healthcare careers can be emotionally taxing and physically exhausting, which can lead some full time employees to develop second thoughts a few years into their new careers. If you have what it takes to avoid burnout and stay on your feet for 12 hour shifts — or longer — this career may not take a damaging toll on you. But if not, take a closer look. Another industry might be a better match for your personality and working style.

3. Healthcare careers are not always perfectly stable.

Despite what some rumors suggest, not all healthcare careers are recession-proof, and not all employers are immune from budget problems and restructuring needs. Healthcare demand also fluctuates with geographic area, so depending on where you live, you may need to move across state lines to meet the needs of your potential employer. Healthcare workers need to go where the jobs are, just like everyone else.

4. A mistake in the healthcare field can have strong repercussions.

Doctors, nurses, EMTs, hospital administrators, surgeons, physician’s assistants and medical billing staff sometimes make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes now and then, and rarely do these mistakes come from genuine acts of malice or ignorance. But in the healthcare field, small errors can sometimes carry enormous consequences. Practitioners can protect themselves with insurance, but insurance only covers legal and financial expenses…it doesn’t cover mental, physical and emotional costs.

5. Healthcare careers can actually expose employees to health threats.

Exposure to environments with high concentrations of drug resistant bacteria, contaminated human tissue and other health threats can lead to an increased risk of infection and illness. While this threat is controlled as well as possible in most health clinics, it still exists. No work environment is totally risk free, but your chances of contamination and infection are lower in a high rise office cubicle than they are in a busy hospital.

Time to Act on a Career in Healthcare

If you read through all the risks above and none of them scared you away, then healthcare is definitely the path for you. Start putting your long term plans into action with a visit to LiveCareer. We can help you find the salary information and job leads you need, and we can also help you get your foot in the door with resume building tools, search tips and practice interview sessions.

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