Life is the most unpredictable journey that a person can ever take. More than one person has found themselves walking a particular path only to find themselves waylaid by circumstance and thrust in another direction. One minute you are studying an online MBA degree and the next you are off studying nursing or some other medical vocation.
The question then becomes, what skills can you bring from your previous experience to your current one? When a career path changes, how can you make the best of a tumultuous situation? More specifically, in this situation, what skills can you turn over from your business degree to the world of healthcare?
The Common Denominator
To best determine how your business skills and experience might assist you in your new healthcare career, an initial shift in perspective might be necessary. It can be easy to get bogged down in the specifics of what exactly your new career entails. After all, there are so many different kinds of healthcare. There is counseling, general practice, nursing, dentistry, and medical research. They all require a very different area of expertise from that of a business mogul. However, there is one aspect of the job they all share – soft skills.
Instead of focusing on the expertise or the hard skills that you need to acquire, why not focus on the soft skills that your business education has granted you already? Soft skills can be summed up as character traits. The interpersonal skills that allow you to negotiate deals, sell products, to relate to customers and colleagues – these skills are all immensely useful as a medical professional. Let us examine these skills a little more specifically to see what business can teach us about a profession in healthcare.
Talking Things Out
Regardless of whether your business is B2B or B2C, it is likely that you are dealing in one thing more than anything you might buy or sell – communication. And just like business is all about connecting with people to create a financial or trade arrangement, healthcare is all about connecting with people to better their quality of life.
To that end, the communication skills you learn and refine in business studies will help you in recognising how to handle certain clients. Although healthcare is a profession aimed at helping people, you are still dealing with people. Unfortunately, we are not always receptive to the best advice. You will come up against people who think that they know better than you, or that you are trying to scam them somehow. Other people might not be able to fully understand what you are telling them, what their care entails, or why. All of this involves various approaches and styles of communication to handle. After all, you can not talk to a child the same way you would an adult, and what do you do if a patient or client starts going into a panic? How do you inform someone of their condition and how best to care for it? What do you do if they are unreceptive to that advice?
Knowing how to communicate is essential to being a good healthcare worker, and thankfully this is a skill that business studies can develop
Dealing With Choices
Any enterprise should run like a well-oiled machine. It is important to be able to take in all the facts, analyse the temperament and mentality of the patient, and devise an appropriate method of helping them with their conditions and ailments.
This means that not only do you need to have a working knowledge of the variety of conditions you are qualified to treat, but also what treatments will work for your patient’s specific needs. Using mental health as an example, some people with depression experience intense side effects with certain medications. Yet other people on the same medications will not experience such debilitating side effects.
Now obviously, whether or not you are prescribing medication will depend on the type of profession you undertake in the healthcare field. However, regardless of whether you are a doctor or a physiotherapist, you are going to be making decisions that are in line with your client’s medical status, your client’s unique mental and physical health, your training and capability, and your legal scope as a practitioner. Business training will only help in making these decisions.
Always Moving Forward
A business that does not innovate or keep abreast of new advances in technology relevant to its field or profession is a business that is doomed to stagnate and fall into obscurity. While this can be devastating for a business, for healthcare professionals falling behind on the latest research, technology, and methodology is not only stagnation, it is neglect.
When you are in the health and medicine sector, ensuring that you are up to speed with the latest information is tantamount to how well you are able to care for your clients. It may be hard to believe but medical science was not always where it is today. Imagine if we never left that time. Imagine if doctors and surgeons still did not wash their hands. Imagine if we never moved past electroshock therapy for mental illnesses. Imagine if we did not have vaccines.
Keeping up to date on your information is not just a skill that healthcare workers have, it is fundamentally necessary to their job, and failing to keep up with it is potentially dangerous to the people they work with. As a business student, you should be used to finding reliable sources of study and information, and be used to keeping up with them. Especially where the quality of life of your clients is concerned.
Update The Policies and Practices Of Your Workplace
Contrary to the latter point, sadly there are still some medical professionals out there that are stuck in the dark ages and refuse to move on. If you are part of a healthcare team, your business skills will come in handy in bringing these establishments to the 21st century. As an entrepreneurial student, you have skills in policy-making, researching current laws, and making sure that businesses rise to that standard. Not only that, but your negotiation skills will aid you in convincing whoever needs convincing that policy and practice needs to be updated.
You can, in a very real and tangible way, change your workplace for the better.
Starting Again Does Not Mean Starting From The Start
So here we are. You have several years of business training under your belt and now you are looking at a healthcare career. While it can be daunting to change careers, especially after years of study, it is important to remember that there is no such thing as irrelevant information. Those educated in business can bring a very unique set of skills to the healthcare profession, unique and utterly necessary. So while it can be scary to start again, remember, the skills you have will not go to waste, are vital to the profession, and give you a head start.