Getting Ahead in Your Healthcare Career

Working in the healthcare field can be a tremendously rewarding experiences. You get to experience the joy of making a difference in the lives of your patients on a daily basis.

6 min read

Getting Ahead in Your Healthcare Career

You may find that your current certain career in healthcare is not quite what you imagined when you initially set upon that path. Perhaps you are ready for something more challenging. Maybe the opportunities for growth are limited. Whatever your reason, you will find there are many ways of getting ahead in your career while staying in the field you love. For instance, using your current job as a basis, you can start getting ahead in your healthcare career by extending it into nursing.

Registered nurses have myriad versatile duties and plenty of different job options. No matter what your current healthcare job is, odds are many of your duties will translate directly into your nursing career. If you currently work in one of the healthcare careers below, you can easily transition to a rewarding career as a nurse.

Why You Should Change Healthcare Careers?

Those considering nursing will find that their options are much more expansive than in many other medical careers. Whether you prefer working in a medical office, at a school, for a business, in the military, at a lab, or in an administrative role, you will find that registered nurses can find work wherever their passions lie.

Starting your nursing career with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is already a huge advantage. Nurses who start their careers with an associate’s degree may have to return to school to earn their BSN in order to qualify for managerial, leadership, and specialty positions. But once you earn your bachelor’s degree, you’ll find yourself able to work in many different specialties, as well as continue on to earn your master’s or doctorate degrees.

If you already work in the medical field, you have one important advantage. Your time at your job has allowed you to start networking in the field well before you are in nursing school. Networking is an important step towards finding a job post-graduation, so it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your colleagues while you are pursuing your Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants typically work in medical offices or clinics. Although demand is relatively high for medical assistants, career growth is limited and you may find the work repetitive.

Medical assistants work under the supervision of a nurse or physician, completing administrative and clinical tasks. Duties include answering the phone, recording patient history, scheduling appointments, assisting during patient examinations, drawing blood, and performing basic lab tests.

Why would a Medical Assistant Make a Good Nurse?

Medical assistants are already comfortable working closely with patients. As a nurse, you will be able to take an even more active role in patient care. You will monitor your patient’s care, administer medication, and act as one of the primary caregivers of your patients. You can also work with a variety of patients in settings such as the ER, ICU, private homes, and many more. If you prefer seeing similar patients on a day-to-day basis like you experienced as a medical assistant, you may prefer to work in an OB-GYN or other specialty physician’s office.

Nurses are also tasked with keeping strict records on patient care. Your administrative duties as a medical assistant will translate well to this aspect of nursing.

Home Health Aide

Home health aides are typically not required to undergo any formal education programs, but instead go through a training program. Home health aides work with a wide variety of patients to help with daily tasks and may provide medications. Unlike certified nurse assistants, home health aides work with patients in their own homes. If you work as a home health aide, you probably chose that career based on your passion to help people recover from major life events or help make their daily lives easier.

Why would a Home Health Aide Make a Good Nurse?

Home health aides are often required to build strong relationships with both patients and their families. They may frequently find themselves working with a large range of patients, including those recovering from an illness or injury, those with chronic disabilities such as Alzheimer’s, and those recovering from surgery.. Working with such a variety of patients as a home health aide will prepare you for the patients you will work with as a nurse. One big difference as an RN is that you will be taking care of your patient during an illness or injury, as opposed to helping with post-illness tasks and recovery. However, your ability to connect with and care for your patients will be beneficial to your nursing career.

Certified Nurse Assistant

If you work as a certified nurse assistant, or CNA, you are already familiar with the duties required of a registered nurse. You probably work in a hospital or similar clinical setting. Certified nurse assistants work with patients and help with day-to-day tasks, such as eating and bathing, as well as record vital signs under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. Certified nurse assistants may be able to take on some additional medical tasks, such as giving medication, if the state you work in allows it.

Why would a Certified Nurse Assistant Make a Good Nurse?

CNAs work in medical settings and handle many of the minute details necessary for quality patient care. By extending your healthcare career into nursing, you’ll be able to take a larger role in your patient’s care. You already understand the ins and outs of working in the settings where nurses work, so your adjustment to the workplace will be minimal.

Certified nurse assistants will also work similar shifts as those of a registered nurse. However, CNAs may also find themselves working double shifts and more days per week to supplement their incomes. Nurses have a lot more flexibility in their schedules. You can find yourself working Monday-through-Friday during business hours, or you could be working three 12-hour shifts each week.

How do I Get Ahead in my Healthcare Career?

Once you research a career in nursing, you can pursue an education through different paths. As already mentioned, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing provides you with the best opportunities for growth as a registered nurse. While you can earn an associate’s degree with a major in nursing and take the NCLEX-RN, a bachelor’s degree will allow you to take on additional responsibilities and will provide you with a well-rounded education. You may be eligible to enroll in an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and earn your BSN in 16 months or less.

After you’ve decided to pursue your nursing degree, you will have to get some letters of recommendation and perhaps write an essay when you apply to the program. Your bosses and coworkers will be able to provide great letters of recommendation for you.

Before you begin your nursing courses, you may have to take some prerequisites and meet other necessary requirements. An admissions advisor will be able to help you develop a timeline so you can get an idea of when you can begin your nursing education. Once you complete your pre-licensure program, you can then take the NCLEX-RN and start your nursing career.

Want to learn more about available nursing programs? Visit our “Find a Nursing School” page.