I wrote this for my younger sister who is entering the field of speech therapy. However, this applies to anyone working in healthcare. Enjoy!
You’re Not Alone
Treating your first patient as a healthcare professional could feel a bit intimidating. You might feel like a fish out of water since you no longer have your clinical instructor to back your every decision.
Sometimes, you have to “Fake it until you make it”, but it is hard to do if you don’t know your stuff. So, know the basics and you have the rest of your career to learn the rest. Have confidence and patience. Never be afraid of admitting when you do not know the answer, just find the answer or someone else who knows it.
There will always be shadows of doubt while practicing and you may even question your career path itself. For now, just know that you are not alone and that it is normal.
Find a Mentor
The key to early success and career fulfillment is to find yourself a mentor to help guide you along the way. The start of my career was made unnecessarily difficult by my “mentor”.
Remember mentors are supposed to build you up, not beat you while you’re down. It is in your best interest to tell your employer or mentor when something is not working and needs to change. If it doesn’t, you have the power to change employers whenever you want.
Just know the best time to quit is when you have already secured another position.
Create a Balanced List of Goals
It is good to develop career goals, but don’t neglect the importance of physical, spiritual, intellectual, and financial goals. My mistake of being TOO career focused and not speaking up led me to career related identity lost.
Establish and re-establish your daily routine to align with your ongoing goals.
Ultimately, your routine should facilitate a better work-life balance to minimize burnout, and it should lead to a more fulfilling lifestyle
With all that said, welcome to the realm of healthcare professionals. You are now working towards being an expert in your field. Patients, families, and physicians will be looking to you for your recommendations based on your clinical expertise. It will be challenging at first, but you have worked hard to be in such a position, so take pride in it!
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