As a healthcare professional, your personality determines how you approach your career. Pharmacists, physicians, nurses, therapists and physician assistants must complete years of costly education and then obtain licensing through standardized examinations, hands-on training and usually even some type of validation of personal ethical standing. The reward for all of this is that members of these professions enjoy numerous job opportunities in a number of different types of settings. Healthcare careers offer choices of roles that each healthcare professional can take within the healthcare setting. Healthcare professionals are fortunate to have some control over many aspects of their career. You probably selected your healthcare job and the level of responsibility you want to have or the type of services you want to provide. Your professional personality determines which type of healthcare job within your profession is most suitable for you.
The following types of professional personalities are most characteristic of health care professionals. Which one are you?
The best — the expert, the authority, the gold standard. This is the person who everybody turns to when the going gets rough. This is the doctor who other doctors come to when they need clinical help. This is the nurse who can manage the most complicated patients in the hospital. This is the pharmacist who goes above and beyond, tackling the most complicated regimens with great care. If you are a perfectionist who loves getting better and better, this is where you fit. The praise and recognition are nice; what you really strive for is excellence just because it is your nature.
The leader — the boss, confident and in charge, never afraid to make the big decisions. This is the nurse who climbs the ladder to administrative success — and everyone already anticipated that she would. This is the pharmacist who runs the show and the doctor whose opinion counts so much that she is entrusted with system wide decisions that others only dream of. If you have a knack for the big picture, strong people skills, a talent for timely problem solving, and you are not easily intimidated by others, then you are likely a born leader who can get each member of the whole operation to work like a team.
The businessperson — the entrepreneur, the money guru, the marketing expert. Even when you are not seeing patients, you are still hard at work hiring people, investing in new equipment, searching for new sources of referrals and staying up to date on the economics of healthcare than anyone you know. If you are not afraid of financial risk, if you see every setback as an opportunity, and you look forward to changing gears and keeping up with innovative changes in health care, then you are probably more focused on the business side of medicine. Others will benefit because you create jobs and provide services at the same time.
The one everybody trusts — the neighborhood pharmacist, the genuine, honest and reliable therapist that everybody recommends to their best friend. This is the pharmacist who tells you just the right way to measure out that medication, the nurse who knows how to wrap that wound as gently as possible and the doctor who makes you want to keep your health plan — just so you won't lose him. If you are ethical, caring and you treat every patient like family, you are a health care provider who has inspired loyalty. Your patients check with you before they make big decisions because they know that you will always give them the answer that you feel is best for them.
The scientist — the brilliant researcher, the devoted intellectual. If you are curious, love learning and want to change the future of medicine, you are likely focused on clinical trials or bench research. You work hard to build a track record and ask the questions that everyone except for you think are unanswerable because your goal is to solve the unsolvable puzzles in medicine for the benefit of future generations.
The medical field is one that is not easy to enter, but is abundant in options. Your choices within your health care profession are based on your individual personality. Where do you see yourself? Are you going down the right path that suits your personality?
Heidi Moawad MD is author of Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine, an instructional book for health care professionals who are looking for career alternatives.