By: Emma McDermott
On January 28th, the UPEI Pre-Med Society hosted the second annual Health Career Conference. This year they expanded the event from a single evening to a day-long conference filled with panel discussions including a wide variety healthcare professionals. The day even had a guest presentation about global health and a presentation from the PEI methadone clinic.
The event showcased information about a wide variety of different fields for those interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, and panelists shared some expert advice with the audience. Just in case you missed it, here’s a list of some of the top advice provided by professionals throughout the day:
- Know your Priorities
When asked how they manage to find the balance between life and work, one of the physicians compared it to juggling. Some of the balls are going to be made of glass and some will be made of rubber. If you drop a rubber ball, it’s okay, it will bounce back up, but the glass ones won’t. Know which ones are made of glass and make them your top priority.
- Get Outside of your Comfort Zone
Multiple professionals throughout the day encouraged the attendees to break out of their comfort zones. Whether you’re trying to pick a clinical placement or find a new organization to volunteer with, try something new. Even if you don’t have any previous experience, you’ll get exposure. If you try the things that you think you won’t like, they may surprise you.
- Buy the Textbooks
The audience definitely had a little laugh when one of the allied health professionals gave this piece of advice. Her reasoning? Textbooks are going to be an excellent resource to lean on later in your career. Someday you are going to graduate, and you won’t have a professor to email your questions to anymore, but maybe you’ll still have your book to refer to!
- Communication is Key
If you begin a career in healthcare, it won’t be long before you are working with others. Health care professionals are constantly collaborating with other professionals to share their expertise and ensure their patients get the top quality of care. This is why the ability to communicate, both verbally and in writing, is so critically important. If you are a nursing student, you will be happy to know that all of the nurses present at the conference agreed that those communication labs are going to pay off in the long run!
- Always Learn Something New
Each day on the job will present new learning experiences – be sure to take advantage of them! Whether you are learning from your supervisor, your fellow colleagues, or your patients, go in with an open mind and be ready to learn.
- Don’t do it for the $$
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medicine, there is more to consider that just the prestige or salary. You need to have a passion for helping people. There are many other career paths with shorter hours, and less stress that also pay well, so make sure you are pursuing medicine for the right reasons.
- Be aware of Mental Health
When asked what they thought the biggest challenge facing health care on PEI was, many of the panelists mentioned the lack of funding or education surrounding mental health services. Want to get a step ahead? Check out a few of the UPEI Mental Health week events coming up in the first week of March!
- Sometime you just won’t know, so ask!
Stay humble! You are never going to be able to know everything, no matter how many years of experience you have. Sometimes patients are going to ask some questions that may catch you off guard. If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. Just know where you can find it.
The closing remarks of the conference held one of the most important pieces of advice: “The path isn’t always going to go the way you want it, but don’t be discouraged.” After hearing from so many different successful health care professionals, each with their own unique path to finding the job that they love, this was definitely the biggest take home message of the conference.