People generally choose to work in healthcare because they have a passion for care and they enjoy a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same. However, did you know that there are plenty of opportunities for growing your healthcare career?

In fact, a significant proportion of healthcare professionals who went on to build careers as dental hygienists, licenced practical nurses or social workers began their journeys as healthcare assistants or home health aides.

If you are thinking about growing your healthcare career, here’s what you need to know.

Have an end goal in mind

Begin by researching positions internally and the wider health care industry and see what roles inspire you. Talk to your colleagues, and allied health professionals you come into contact with to find out what they had to do to get where they are today.

Assess where you are now, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there to build your own development plan. Use your current position as a platform to observe, learn and experiment. You may also want to begin to develop a specialism – by actively upskilling in a specific area, such as wound care, for example. Remember, it is OK to change direction, but having a target to move towards will set you on the right track.

Seek opportunities for progression

In all healthcare jobs, there are always opportunities for progression, you just need to know where to look. If you are already working towards your Care Certificate, focus on that first. If you have already achieved this milestone, investigate what other training opportunities are available, either in-house or externally.

In addition, learning to perform new duties within your position can also be helpful and this cross-training may eventually lead to taking on more responsibility as a lead care assistant, progressing to care manager. Working as an HCA also offers an ideal stepping stone for individuals who aspire to become a nurse or social workers. For those with the right attitude and motivation, care work opens the door to many exciting opportunities.

Growing your healthcare career by gaining varied experience

A career in the healthcare industry offers both great satisfaction and plenty of opportunities to gain varied experience. As a temporary care assistant, for example, you can work across diverse settings to sample specialisms you may want to progress with in the future, whether that be working with older people, addiction recovery, or children with additional needs.

By trying out roles in different settings, you will more easily be able to identify your passion and find your niche – then, the world is your oyster.

Work with employers which support your ambition

Finally, it pays dividends to work with employers – and partner with recruitment agencies – which support and encourage your ambitions. A great care provider will help to both identify and suggest training opportunities and enable you to work shifts around your studies. Ask your manager about different internal career options, whether locally, regionally, or nationally. If your company has multiple locations. It may also be worth arranging to shadow someone in a managerial role to get a sense of what a typical day is like or find a registered nurse who can act as a mentor. A supportive employer will help to facilitate this type of knowledge exchange for the benefit of everyone involved.

There is currently a shortage of healthcare professionals globally, with both the ONS in the UK and the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the US, highlighting a high proportion of unfilled vacancies across almost every level and specialism. What’s more, demand for skills in this area is only set to grow in the coming years. As such, it is a great time for growing your healthcare career.

Working as a healthcare assistant can be a springboard to a number of exciting career paths across the wider health and social care sector and there are many opportunities for career progression. Ambitious professionals can take advantage of training, learn transferrable skills, and rapidly advance their careers.

No matter what your time of life is if you have the passion and determination to climb the career ladder, now is the time to begin your journey.

For anyone working in healthcare today, who is hungry to build a long-term professional career, developing your skills through a variety of roles is key to not only identifying your ideal job but also gaining the experience you need to get there. Here at QS, we can support you in finding – and sticking to – a great career path.

Get in touch today.