Recent Grads: Finding Your Niche in Healthcare

Healthcare Grads

Graduating college and entering the workforce can be a scary prospect. There are many questions new grads often ask themselves as they get ready to search for their first job.  "Where am I going to work?" "Will there be any jobs?" or "How do I know I'll like what I'm doing?"

The good news is recent grads looking to enter the healthcare field will find that plenty of opportunity awaits.   U.S. News and World Report reported earlier this year 7 out of the top 10 jobs for 2015 will be in healthcare.

There are many different reasons people get into the healthcare field, and everyone has his or her unique journey in how ultimately arriving at a dream career.

"Originally, I had a calling, my godmother was a nurse," says Steven Esteves, a registered nurse in Middletown, Conn. "Then it was to help people. At the same time, I lost another job, so it was the security of it. There were several things that led to [becoming a nurse]."

That calling led him to his first nursing job about 16 years ago. Today Esteves still loves his work. 

"I've been doing home care now for 9 years and [before that was working] in a hospital for 8 years," says Esteves, who is currently employed by Interim Healthcare and works as a home healthcare case manager.

Registered nurses are high in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2012 and 2022 it is expected more than 525,000 jobs for RNs will be added. Other types of skills sorely needed in the healthcare industry are support positions. By 2022, BLS projects there will be a 28.1 percent increase in these jobs.  BLS also reported home health aides are another “major driver" in healthcare. This niche is projected to rise a whopping 48.5 percent.

Along with plenty of opportunities for new grads in healthcare, the need for so many positions also means levels of flexibility. One benefit to working in this field is the ability to make changes within your career.  If something isn't working, you can easily shift paths.

"There are so many things people can do, and that's what the advantage is," says Esteves, noting he previously experienced some burnout when working in the hospital setting. He adds, "It just turned out home care was my next niche."

Esteves expresses an interest in transitioning to assisted living as a potential future career move.

"Just find your own niche," recommends Esteves. "I'm speaking as a nurse, but even as a physical therapist or anything else, there are a million different niches out there. If you don't like where you are, move along [and] find something you like."

What does Esteves find most rewarding about his career?

"Helping people," he says. "I always tell everybody I don't work a day, I love my job. I wake up in the morning, and I don't mind going to work."

If you want to get into a growing career field that is not only gratifying, but offers the ability to explore similar jobs along the way, healthcare is ideal. Not only are numerous jobs available, solid career prospects are expected to continue for some time. Once established, this could mean opportunity for future advancement too.

Leigh Goessl is a freelance writer who covers topics about business, technology, careers, education and travel. Reach her @LeighGoessl

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