TOP 5 Tips for Academic Success: How to Make the Most of Your Education for a Career in Healthcare

Careers in Healthcare are BOOMING right now. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). If you want to pursue a career in healthcare, you need an in-depth education.

Education is one of the most important, and necessary steps to the start a career in healthcare. In the healthcare industry your body of knowledge and clinical expertise is your skill set. It is the marketable asset that will use to land that dream position you desire. Unfortunately, sometimes I see healthcare students who do not know how to maximize their training for the most benefit.

I have spent several years in education. Throughout that time I have noticed that there are 5 consistent habits and/or traits that successful students demonstrate. The students who embrace these practices are more likely to succeed in their career path than others that do not. If you implement these practices in your education it will be richer, more dynamic, and much more valuable.

Here are the TOP 5 traits of successful healthcare students that separate them from the crowd:

1. They engage with their teachers- The instructors are there for a reason, use them! Ask questions when you do not understand something. By having your question answered immediately you are helping to develop a better understanding of that theory or concept. In addition, when the teacher asks a question of the class, answer it. Be involved with your instructor’s discussion. Open discussion, if guided by the instructor, can be a valuable method of learning. However, be careful not to monopolize a discussion, instead seek to add to it.

2. They collaborate with others- Teachers are not your only ally in your education. Your peers in class and other professionals in the field can also complement your training. Many of the successful students whom I see form study groups. These groups create a synergy of learning. They use each other’s strengths to help one another. Students strong in one area can help those that are weak. Furthermore, another aspect of the group is accountability. While making a commitment to study to yourself can be easily dismissed, making a commitment to a group of peers carries a sense of duty and is not so easy to break. Aside from your peers, do not hesitate to utilize those already in the field. Not only are they a plethora of knowledge they can also become an integral part of your network.

3. They study for the present but look to the future- While studying for your career in healthcare you will feel the need to focus on the present (the next practicum, the next exam, etc.). However, do not become shortsighted to your goals. Those students who are focused on their end game will not let any small setbacks deter them from moving forward. By knowing what you want down the road, you are more focused on what you need to do to get there. In effect, by knowing what is ahead of you, allows you to better prioritize the present.

4. Know your resources- Many schools offer numerous tools that students can utilize to help them succeed in their course of study. Several have libraries, workshops, tutoring, and coaching readily available for students. For example, our school offers Skills Boot Camps in which students can come in and work on their patient care skills after class in a casual environment. In addition, there is a workshop where they can come in and work on getting vital signs from patients with one of our Nurses, almost one on one. Numerous schools in today’s world have online resources of which the students can use to augment their classroom time and better understand the material. This can range from books online, to practice tests to even games. Discover the resources that your school has and USE THEM!

5. Show up!- This is the most important, if you do not show up you will not succeed, PERIOD. Be there every day ready to learn. Any time you miss out on a class you miss out on the knowledge. Finding yourself falling behind in class is never a good way to find success. Besides physically being there make sure that you are mentally there as well! Show up well rested and prepared so that you are in the optimal mindset to absorb that day’s material.

So there you have it, the top 5 tips for a successful start to your career in healthcare. These tips by and large, are the pillars of successful students. Use these pillars to build a great foundation, and you will find success. Good Luck!