According to estimations by the World Health Organization (WHO), the global deficit of health workers will be more than 10 million by 2030. Low- and lower-middle-income countries will be the most hit by this projected shortfall, but this doesn’t exclude developed countries from the predicament. If you’re currently pursuing a medical course or you’re new to the medical profession, you can bet on future job security and career progression opportunities. But just as in any other career, taking the next step up the medical career ladder isn’t as straightforward as many of us would like it to be. That’s why you need these 3 top strategies for successful career progression for medical professionals:
Master the art of networking
Climbing any career ladder takes more than just academic qualifications- who you know and who knows you matter a lot in many professions. This explains why nurse practitioners, physicians, etc. must strive to build and nurture their professional networks at every stage of their careers.
Professional networks put prominent people in your corner who can open doors for your career progression. This is how you can grow a rich medical professional network:
- As much as possible, attend get-togethers and events organized for/by medical experts, whether formal/informal or face-to-face/virtual. These events could be class reunions, seminars, conferences, workshops, volunteer community outreach events, career fairs, award ceremonies, product launch ceremonies, etc. In case influential people in your field are in attendance, ask for their contact details and make sure to stay in touch. If no influential people show up, there’s still a lot to learn from your peers that can expand your professional perspective. It’s a win-win scenario either way.
- Join professional organizations and societies, both in your specialty and medicine in general, and be an active participant. You will not only keep current on trends in your line of work but will also get noticed and respected by your seniors. This can earn you quality endorsements when growth opportunities come around.
- Pick up as much locum tenens work as you can, especially on holidays and weekends. While you’re at it, deliberately explore different locations just to access more communities, expand your knowledge & exposure, and meet as many new colleagues as possible.
- Optimize your social media (Sermo, LinkedIn, Doximity, etc.) profiles by keeping them updated and professionally looking. Ensure that your professional and career information is accurate and up-to-date and that your profile photo is current and high-quality. Also, optimize your social pages with keywords relevant to your specialty to enhance your visibility to potential future employers.
Leverage mentorship opportunities
A mentor comes in handy at every stage of your career journey. He/she will help you manage your expectations to avoid frustrations, manage your excitement to avoid costly mistakes, and offer invaluable career insights for your smooth assimilation into the profession. To make the most of mentorship opportunities:
- Know yourself as a person and understand the help you need as a budding professional. Some people need mentors with whom they can brainstorm ideas. Others want a parent figure in the workplace who offers advice and keeps them grounded. Some want mentors who are available to them around the clock. Others want mentors who pop into their professional life now and then, without being too available. What kind of a mentor do you need?
- Have multiple mentors if possible. Create a unique blend of personalities, specialties, and age brackets. A diverse group of mentors widens your perspective and shields you from the limiting biases and personal beliefs of one mentor.
- Ensure that your mentors are people you can relate with on a personal level- people with whom you share both professional and personal interests. Someone who’s your personal friend is easier to relate with professionally because they understand your pains, worries, history, and ambitions.
- Offer yourself as a mentor to younger/newer practitioners; invite them to reach out to you for help whenever they need it. Share your contacts with them and never ignore their email or text messages. Earning the respect of low-ranking professionals in your field will help you establish yourself as a leader, and soon you will start getting the attention and recognition of people in high places.
- Don’t limit your mentors to just medical professionals. Allow yourself to be mentored by the people whose experience and knowledge you admire, even if they’re not physicians.
Seize all professional development opportunities
Health professionals get certified upon passing the PANCE® exam. If you’re preparing for this exam, these PANCE resources will help you pass with flying colors. But beyond PANCE, you need to pursue other professional development courses in order to build competence and confidence in your area of specialty. Take advantage of the following professional development opportunities:
- Online and face-to-face workshops.
- Webinars where you can access interactive question-and-answer sessions, updated professional insights, and peer-facilitated discussions.
- Masterclasses that are facilitated by high-ranking professionals in your specialty.
Whichever career progression strategies you choose, you are guaranteed far-reaching and long-lasting benefits. It is up to you to work hard and seize opportunities. Stay involved, allow yourself to be mentored, and offer yourself to mentor others.