Is now the right time to pursue a post-master’s degree in healthcare?

Living through a trio of lockdowns has done more than enough to convince some professionals that re-evaluating their career choices is the best way to move forward.

For many, this means pursuing a more meaningful role, one that offers them purpose, helps their fellow human beings or generally serves to make modern society a better place to be.

The search for a meaningful career is not particularly easy, nor is switching directions in the first place when considering the time that it takes to become comfortable in a new job, and not everyone has the financial backing to do so.

If this is starting to sound painfully familiar, and you, too, are on the hunt for a new beginning, returning to education could be a good move. Being the owner of a master’s degree can be somewhat distressing if you cannot seem to find the right job for you, but there is no need to panic, as you have already set yourself up for some superb opportunities, possibly without even knowing it yet.

If it was indeed the meaning and purpose you were after, the wonderful world of healthcare could be perfect for you. Whether you are already a healthcare professional looking to take your career in an exciting new direction, or this is the very first time considering it, here are some reasons why the ideal moment might be right now.

Roles to consider

Some of the highest paying roles in healthcare are accessed via a post-master’s degree, although in many instances, the money is a secondary bonus when compared to the critical and indispensable work that healthcare professionals carry out on an everyday basis.

Many of these roles are in high demand throughout the UK, so if you truly wanted to make a difference, a positive impact that took some pressure off healthcare professionals everywhere, education might be your way in. 

You may want to take a look at some incredibly interesting and fulfilling roles that a post-master’s degree might be able to net you, as this could sway your ultimate decision. For example, a family nurse practitioner can be an immensely rewarding role, and moreover, great institutions like Carson-Newman University offer affordable and top-quality FNP post-master’s programs on a completely online basis.

The role of an FNP might be ideal for anyone who wishes to offer support to families throughout their lives while working in a growing field and forming important, lifelong bonds with extraordinary individuals.

Alongside offering direct medical assistance to families who need it, the role of an FNP requires a great deal of person-centred skills to undertake, such as emotional intelligence, communication, compassion, and understanding, making it a brilliant mix of responsibilities that anyone who enjoys working closely with others will no doubt find fulfilling.

Accessibility

Remote working, learning, socialising, and just about everything has to buck its ideas up to cater for the mass transition to the digital world, which is great news for anyone hoping to pursue a degree.

Some of the best degrees from highly reputable universities are now completely online, including healthcare options. Not only are they completely online, but the quality of the courses themselves do not have to suffer in any way since they have striven to achieve the best possible standard in light of the circumstances.

For many, this is a much better option than ever physically going to university in the first place, especially for professionals who have already made the most of their partying days and are looking for a more mature approach to education.

This level of accessibility makes taking classes from anywhere an option, and in the majority of cases, in your own time.

Since remote working and learning looks set to stay for good, at least in some capacity, putting off your vision of further education may be counter-intuitive, as this could play a role in the future of learning regardless of the pandemic.

The search for meaningful work

Feeling as though you are stuck in a stagnant job with no prospects or room to grow and develop your professional and personal skills can be an awful experience.

This can lead to some nasty side effects if left to remain unchecked, such as mental health issues, including depression. In light of the pandemic, this might be a more prevalent issue than ever before, so proactively taking steps to avoid it is a must.

This situation is not always easy to predict, especially for the busiest workers amongst you, so preparing yourself through a return to education may be the best way to unlock new doors that you may not have seen before.

The search for meaningful work can take dedication, tenacity, and integrity, traits that healthcare professionals everywhere utilise as part of their daily routine.

Some of the most fulfilling elements of a healthcare career might include:

  • The Chance to Help Others – Now more than ever, taking an altruistic approach to life is an undertaking that many are considering, so what better place to start than in the world of healthcare?
  • Changing Lives for the Better – The opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life, to be part of a movement and a purpose that is greater than just work and money, to give back to society and help provide the foundations of a nation can be a profoundly unique and fulfilling experience.
  • Developing the Healthcare System – For those of you who already work in healthcare and are looking to get to the next level, the chance to make significant changes and grow alongside the system itself might be the ideal journey to embark on with a post-master’s certificate. This might mean becoming a researcher, an advanced clinical practitioner, or a nurse educator, for example.

 Work and learn

There is no need to give up your current job to get your new qualification just yet; in fact, your current position will likely benefit from your new learning endeavour.

Thanks to online education, you can complete your course at a time that best suits you. This flexibility is perhaps one of the main reasons practicing professionals decide to turn to the digital world in the first place.

Alongside the convenience factor, the chance to learn as you work can allow you to apply your new knowledge directly, in a practical and immediate sense, a luxury that many students no doubt wish they could have experienced before sticking out the entirety of their course.

At a time when job markets seem fairly uncertain, taking advantage of every digital opportunity that arises is probably a good way to prepare yourself for the future while keeping your current job safe.

Supporting the future of healthcare

For healthcare to flourish and continue to do so well into the future, a new generation of professionals needs to be inspired to take up careers.

Not only does this new generation need to be inspired, but in order to make sure that they are able to do the best job possible, they need to have the right level of training, direction, support, and education.

The number of yearly nursing applications rose to 48,830 in 2021, which is, of course, fantastic for the UK’s aims to reduce the nursing shortage, but this figure may also suggest that work needs to be done if these hopeful healthcare professionals are to be sufficiently trained and integrated into an effective system in the future.

If you do decide to go for a post-master’s degree in healthcare, this responsibility could fall upon your shoulders. Depending on the nature of your existing master’s degree, you might already possess the traits and skills needed to find a fulfilling career in securing and supporting the future of healthcare.

The chance to become a leader

Even if you feel you are a natural-born leader and have the awareness, drive, ambition, decision-making ability, and strength to work under high-pressure environments, unfortunately, and somewhat frustratingly, this is not always enough.

A post-master’s qualification could be all that stands between you and the next stage of your career, one in which you are a leader that thrives on responsibility, communication, and the ability to offer tangible results in a vital field of work.

Leaders are, in fact, made by their environment, their training, experiences, and education, so it is never too late to start preparing yourself to make the leap. Striving to keep learning throughout life is often merely just a part of what makes someone a well-rounded, diverse, and sought-after professional, so returning to university, even in a virtual capacity, should always be worth your consideration.

The role of a leader in the world of healthcare is extremely varied, full of opportunities to progress, and crucial to the integrity of the system as a whole. In a time of uncertain futures, healthcare leaders are irreplaceable and highly respected. You will no doubt learn this throughout your time spent on the post-master’s certificate, along with a wealth of other important lessons, such as:

  • Autonomy and Decision-Making – Although working in healthcare means working as a team, making potentially life-saving decision as an individual in the heat of the moment is fairly commonplace. If you are already a healthcare professional, you will likely be all-too-aware of this. Learning to improve upon this decision-making ability is a lifelong journey in healthcare, one that you will be able to expand upon in great detail while studying a post-master’s degree.
  • Making Sure the Highest Standard of Care is Being Delivered – Everyone deserves to be treated equally, and in their time of need, they should all receive the highest possible standard of treatment available. As a leader, it will be your job to make sure that this happens.
  • Support Your Fellow Staff Members Soft skills such as communication, organization, empathy, and adaptability are crucial in healthcare, so learning how to utilise them to support your fellow staff members can make everyone’s lives much easier throughout the day.

A great career switch

To some, switching careers can seem like an impossible feat, particularly if they possess a degree in a totally unrelated field to medicine or healthcare in general.

This is fact, not the case, as many degrees, especially science-based ones, will be more than enough to at least get the ball rolling.

Switching careers to healthcare in the final hours of a pandemic may seem counter-intuitive, but it may be the best way to get yourself into a perfect position for a bright future, thus giving yourself what is essentially a head start.

This could be particularly relevant for in-demand industries such as healthcare. Think of all of the other people who might be waiting until the pandemic is long gone to make their switch. It could be worth skipping the theoretical queue and pursuing an online degree sooner rather than later for this very reason.

If you happen to have a master’s degree in a subject that seems totally unrelated, there are still plenty of chances for you to start your journey in healthcare. Feeling as though you are disconnected from your undergraduate degree is totally normal and even quite common, so switching disciplines should not need to worry you.

It is never too late to start learning, so there is no need to worry about getting too old; the world of healthcare will always be here, hopefully.

For the sake of the patient

When news headlines stupefy and dismay with messages that scrutinize the healthcare industry, it can be easy to forget about the factor that matters most, the plight of the individual patient, their families, and their need for treatment and support.

Pursuing a post-master’s degree in healthcare can help you work on exactly this factor, the chance to offer better care to those who need it most. Whether this is through working as a clinical nurse practitioner, an FNP, a nurse educator, a hospital administrator, a nurse anaesthetist, or any role that you might imagine, at the heart of the job are the patients and your fellow staff members.

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