If there’s anything we can add to the old truism that “the only things certain in life are death and taxes,” it’s that people will also never stop falling sick or getting injured. For that reason, a career in healthcare can be a great thing for a student’s job security, and offers constant reassurance that they’ll always have a way of helping others heal. But there are some things you should know in order to give your son or daughter the support and guidance they’ll need if they’re set on a career in the medical field.
Carefully consider several of the most important things you should keep in mind before helping a student decide on medical school after he or she graduates from high school. Remember, your guidance is key, but ultimately it is the future student’s decision, so you’ll want to attend to their questions and concerns with encouragement and thoughtfulness.
1. The Type of Healthcare They’re Interested In
When you hear the term “healthcare” your mind probably jumps to a picture of a doctor in a white coat or a nurse wearing scrubs, but there are various kinds of ways of providing healthcare, and to many different domains of wellness as well. There’s the administrative end of healthcare, healthcare that provides for specialized needs such as Nutritionists and Pediatricians, homeopathic healthcare that requires its own sets of rules and conventions, mental health, and so much more. An internship at a medical facility, advice from a career counsellor or a pre-health major combined with other health majors can help open up those doors without committing to one specialty or career path straight away.
Make sure to talk to your high school graduate about all the different ways they can make a difference in the medical field. Students can become discouraged if they find themselves going down a different path than the one they initially desired, but emphasize that there are many ways to make a difference in helping people with injury and disease. The number of options for healthcare careers can sometimes be overwhelming, but they also present a world of exciting opportunities that any ambitious student can easily adapt to and succeed in.
2. The Increased Risk of Healthcare Jobs
As a society, we’ve discussed the Coronavirus pandemic and how to talk to your children about it at length, and those conversations are even more important to have if your child is considering a career in the medical field. It’s not to say that there is now, suddenly, a much higher risk of contracting a virus (of any kind) than there was before, but the pandemic has highlighted how easy it is for diseases and bad bacteria to be transferred in medical institutions. The necessity of medical professionals in this day and age is only matched by the high number of new challenges that those same young people entering the field are sure to face.
That said, you shouldn’t necessarily discourage a student from pursuing a medical career because of this because risks like these can be mitigated.The need for RNs and travel nurses is skyrocketing, and a prospective medical student could be in a position to do a lot of good for a lot of people. Be honest with them about the challenges medical professionals are currently facing, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a strong case study, but don’t let them think those challenges won’t be worth it if they can end up saving lives while facing them.
Close-up of face with medical mask (close-face-medical-mask)
3. Dealing with Care
Experience is one of the greatest teachers, so it is super important to get work experience at a handful of healthcare facilities to determine whether the student and the potential career path in healthcare are a good fit. A vast majority of patients are going to require long-term care in order to resume their lives as normally as possible and this can be demanding.
If your child is excited about pursuing a career in healthcare, make sure to let them know that much of the time the most useful skill they can develop is patience. Patients who have long- term disabilities might not always be the most pleasant to deal with (which is understandable because they’re frustrated about their condition), and they need to keep in mind that there’s no magical fix for much of the suffering that these people endure. Learning positive, grounding practices such as meditation can do a world of good in making sure your child doesn’t become burnt out on the more difficult cases they may face.
4. Managing All the Options
The things we’ve discussed here are just a few of the considerations a person needs to take onboard before considering a career in healthcare. When you factor in things like grade qualifications for schools, regions that have more of one kind of physician than another, and other factors that may contribute to your child’s overall career path, the journey ahead can look pretty overwhelming. Although it’s natural to feel the pressure to make heavy choices right out of high school, there is no need to commit to a career in healthcare (which is a long one!) from the get-go. It’s a good idea to instead complete pre-med coursework so that they are ready to apply later on if they aren’t committed to med school while in college.
Let your child know that it’s okay to take things in small steps and that they don’t have to have all their hopes and dreams plotted out as soon as they grab their diploma. Figuring out your path in the world of medicine one day at a time, one goal at a time, is as valid as leaping into your desired area with both feet forward. Above all, let the student know that however they decide to go about their path in the medical world that they will be supported by their family.
Is there anything we missed about things you should tell your kids before sending them to medical school? Sound off in the comments below and let us and other collegiate parents know what’s on your mind!