Deciding on your medical speciality: Tips for finding your niche
October 24, 2017
As a healthcare professional you may want to pursue a medical speciality to refine your niche.
Moving into more specialised healthcare services can be a great way to play to your healthcare strengths and pursue a passion for what really interests you in the field.
So, how do you find your niche? Here are some tips.
Follow your curiosity
Ask yourself: What are you particularly interested in within the medical field?
Whether it’s pharmacy, dentistry, radiology or general practice, there are so many specialised fields in the healthcare industry that can benefit from your passion and interest.
Also, think about the aspects of your healthcare training that you really enjoyed. Was there a particular medical round that sparked your curiosity? This can provide clues to your niche.
Refine your skill set
There are plenty of courses you can do to refine your healthcare skills.
Become an expert in your medical niche by completing some further education, or perhaps you could take on some intern or locum work?
Refining your skills or becoming an expert in one aspect can help you find your niche.
Another option may be to diversify your skill set within the healthcare sector to carve a niche.
Increasingly, healthcare professionals are looking to expand their knowledge base with courses such business, project management, leadership, health economics, digital media and marketing proving to be popular choices.
Not only does studying completely new areas give healthcare professionals the opportunity to expand on their existing expertise, they’re able to become specialists within a new field because they can offer a unique mix of healthcare knowledge alongside their new skill set.
For example, a qualified and experienced pharmacist may decide to do further study in digital media and advertising with the intention to move into a marketing role within the pharmaceutical industry. Their foundation and expertise in pharmacy will be highly regarded in the marketing role as they can offer a breadth understanding of drug types, guidelines and regulations, in addition to their new media skills.
Equally, a nurse with extensive hospital experience may be looking to move into a more senior role on the business side of running a healthcare service. Undertaking a Master of Business Administration (MBA) would be highly advantageous if vying for a role like Director of Business or Director of Nursing. The speciality requires a foundation in a healthcare practice as well as business skills such as finance, governance and operations.
What training is involved to specialise?
Do some research on your proposed healthcare speciality. What training or further study is required to move into this area?
Whether it’s a short course or more hands-on training, find out exactly what you need to do to call yourself an ‘expert’ in your ideal area.
Find a mentor
People who reach the top of their field often cite finding a mentor as key to their success.
Look for a mentor in a speciality you’re interested in and approach them for formal or informal guidance.
It could be a healthcare trainer or specialist you met during a medical rotation, or someone connected to someone else you may know in the field.
Once you start looking at particular aspects of healthcare, you will see potential mentors in your field.
Whether you already work closely or catch up with them over a coffee occasionally, a mentor can provide helpful honesty and insight into your healthcare niche.
Consider the lifestyle and boundaries
When you find a mentor, make sure you ask about the lifestyle and boundaries of their healthcare speciality.
Will it bring you the career progression you seek? Does the job align with your ethics and boundaries? Does the job provide work/life balance, if that’s what you want?
Do as much research into real-life specialists in your proposed healthcare sector and see if it aligns with your personal and professional goals.
Do you have any tips for deciding on a medical speciality? How did you find your niche? Share your story in the comments section below.