As healthcare professionals, sacrifice is deemed an expectation. But to what extent? How much can we brush off before we lose grip of our sanity and ultimately, our health? Are you so drenched in misery that thoughts of upcoming Mondays are giving you nightmares?
Fortunately, working in one of the fastest growing industries in the US presents itself with limitless opportunities for professional growth and occupational liberty. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical laboratory technologists is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026. For registered nurses, the growth is projected at 15 percent under similar terms. With the rising demand for skilled healthcare professionals in the fields of Clinical Laboratory Science and Nursing Care, you are presented with an opportunity to pursue your passion while keeping that drive to find the career you’ve always hoped for, the team that pushes you towards organizational growth, and the fulfillment of your ultimate desire of finding that dream job.
Unsure whether it’s time to jump ship and keep your sanity, or to stay with your current team and retain your seniority? Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to find out whether or not the time has come to move on and pursue greater heights in your professional journey.
Am I treated fairly at my workplace?
Workplace discrimination is a key issue in healthcare that is highly unethical, and in some degree illegal. However, it is a workplace reality that is vaguely discernible, arduously evidential and immensely counterproductive. US laws aim to protect employees against all forms of workplace discrimination, including but not limited to sex, race, religion, and political views. In 2017, over 84,000 discrimination charges were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and a significant portion of it happened in healthcare facilities. Do you feel that you are being treated unfairly in your workplace? Talk to your supervisors and discuss the issue. Otherwise, it might be time to move on and find a new job.
Does my job feel like a waste of time?
Health care professionals are some of the most dedicated people in the world. Each shift jump starts with a cup of coffee, an inspirational self-affirmation pep talk, a copious sense of purpose and a whole lot of patience. What does it take to snatch that dedication and sense of purpose away? An occupational cancer eating away at the very reason that put you in health care in the first place.
Losing that initial drive and succumbing into a state when doing your job feels like an utter waste of your time is most likely an intermingling of certain factors, both personal and workplace induced. Do you feel so under appreciated that it becomes a moot point to go the extra mile? Maybe you belong in a work environment where mediocrity is celebrated as long as you know the right people. Work should be revitalizing and invigorating. Each day an opportunity to surpass previous expectations and achieve greater heights. If your flame has long been spent, would you waste more of your time at your current workplace?
How does your workplace make you feel?
Working in healthcare is an emotional roller coaster with an infinite alternations of ups and downs in an unpredictable wonderland of surprises. We all have good and bad days, with moments of bliss and occasional disappointments.
But how does your workplace make you feel? What emotion best describes your overall experience with your team? Do you feel happy and somewhat excited to work your next schedule? Or do you feel dragged and unenthusiastic that working feels like a chore that you just to put up with? A significant portion of our waking lives is spent at work. If there is nothing uplifting about coming to work, why would you even bother? Maybe it is time to consider a job change.
Is my job affecting my overall health?
From the diverse negative effects stress has on your body to capitulating bodily injuries consequential to meeting physical demands of your job description, employees in the world of healthcare not only pour out their time and effort into their jobs, but also undergo a tremendous deal of physical and emotional distress with potential life-long ramifications.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as quoted on the CDC website, overexertion injury rate for hospital workers is twice the national average for all industries, three times for nursing home workers, and five times for ambulance workers. These are injuries consistent with manual patient handling even with proper ergonomics and assistive lifting equipments. Another interesting site quoting BLS information states that “Nurses experience more than 35,000 back and musculoskeletal injuries on the job that are significant enough to prevent them from working each year.”
With steadily increasing demand of registered nurses in varied aspects of health care, it remains a choice to embrace options with reduced risks of back injuries and subsequent conditions further leading to permanent physical disabilities. Others put up with stress from workplace negativity, peer discrimination and apparent mismanagement for so long that they forget there are better options out there to explore. Is your job causing a decline in your health? It might be time to consider grass that seems greener on the other side of the fence.
Do you find yourself working in a toxic workplace?
A toxic workplace is defined as a work environment plagued with significant drama and overall negativity that can disrupt your work performance and possibly leak into your personal life. Metaphorically speaking, it can kill your motivation, drain your energy and suck the life out of you until you feel like a living corpse showing up at work, paycheck your sole motivation, absent any form of self gratification and personal pride in the profession.
It’s more than just a coworker you can’t get along, or an unresolved dispute with upper management. If you’re in one, your gut will tell you that something is wrong. Once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to start strategizing how to maintain your sanity each day, or maybe start to consider finding a new job.
Am I given fair compensation for my skills and work experience?
Healthcare is ubiquitously one of the fastest growing industry in the United States bringing about fierce competition between healthcare organizations nationwide. Companies offering generous starting wages, signing bonuses and relocation allowances, all in an effort to fill open positions and meet the ever rising demand for qualified healthcare professionals.
Good news is that if you are unsatisfied with your current job’s salary and benefits, chances are you’ll find a job that pays higher and provides better compensation. Unfortunately there’s no way of knowing what it’s like on the other side. Will you take the bait?
Do you feel stuck in your workplace?
Feeling stuck at work is such a broad topic that for the most part, a change of job simply isn’t the solution. Most often, it is an individualized perception and a truly subjective observation of one’s work environment.
However, if you are an individual who feels like there’s so much more you can offer but your workplace is unchallenging, you hold ambitions to reach new heights. Yet positions are limited and seniority plays a big role in promotions. If you feel unhappy, unstimulated and unmotivated with your job, maybe a change of pace and environment is just what you need to find the professional growth you desire.
Do you feel underappreciated in your workplace?
When all the hard work you’ve done goes unnoticed, your opinions ignored and your voice unheard, then your work can quickly become less fulfilling and your motivation spiraling down the drain.
Human beings are hard wired to appreciate being appreciated, and to crave recognition for their hard work at varying degrees. If you do not feel like you matter at all in your workplace, it might be time to start your search for a new job.
Before you consider your prospect for a job change, it is imperative to realize that the likelihood of finding the perfect job is slim to none. On the other hand, it is also crucial to recognize that a job is not your personal prison where you spend hours on end absent enthusiasm or motivation, shackled in the abyss of your individualized damnation.
The stratum of healthcare has continued to expand with demands for qualified healthcare professionals perpetually rising in an effort to sustain the swelling healthcare needs of the aging population here in the United States. With it, an influx of opportunities for those who seek professional growth or find escapement from an otherwise toxic workplace.
by Ian Glenn Tiu