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Seven Reasons to be Thankful for Your Healthcare Career This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving feast with family
choreograph/123RF

As we approach the holidays, they may be a bit different this year, but it’s a good time to reflect on the people in our lives and what we are thankful for.

The year 2020 may be remembered for a few things, and the biggest is likely the COVID-19 pandemic. It brought the spotlight on the job healthcare workers do every day.

It is a nice time to let a healthcare worker know you appreciate what they do. If you work in the medical field yourself, take stock this holiday season. Take a minute and think about the many reasons to be thankful for your healthcare career, including those below.

 

Job security

Computers and technology may replace many jobs in the future, but it can never completely take the place of the human interaction between healthcare providers and their patients. For example, the nuances of assessing lung sounds cannot be made into a computerized algorithm. A robot cannot hold the hand of a patient in hospice. Although the medical field will continue to evolve and change, we will always need healthcare workers.

 

Coworkers

If you work in healthcare, you know the comradery you have with your coworkers. When you share intense experiences at work, it builds a bond. For example, no one fully understands what it is like to be in a code blue other than another healthcare worker. Also, having coworkers that “get” your sense of humor is something to be grateful for.

 

Career options

The medical field is full of different options. Whether you are a nurse, physical therapist, or ultrasound tech, there are different settings and paths you can take. Your career development and growth are usually only limited by your own desire.

For example, if you become tired of an acute care setting, there may be opportunities in rehab or home health. Some healthcare fields may have jobs in medical sales or education.

Flexibility is something else we should not take for granted. Having flexibility in your career allows for a good life/work balance. You may have the option to work full-time, part-time, or per diem. You may also have the choice to work as a healthcare traveler. Heading to a new city every few months may be a great adventure for some.

 

Your family and friends

We all know life can change in an instant; if you work in the medical field, you see it up close. While we don’t live in fear of losing someone, we know how fragile life is. It’s common to take the people you love for granted. Many of us do so. Having frequent reminders of how life can change in a heartbeat makes you appreciate the people in your life.

There are also times when we see patients that don’t have anyone to visit them or are alone at the end of their lives. It makes you even more thankful for the people in your life and provides you with perspective on what really matters.

 

Unexpected days off

We probably all look forward to our scheduled days off and vacation times. Depending on your healthcare job, you may get an unexpected day off if the hospital census is low.

Some types of healthcare facilities base their staffing level on the hospital or facility’s patient census. If the census is low, staff may get called off. Many facilities allow staff to use paid time off (PTO) for an unexpected call-off.  Whether it is midweek or the weekend, it can be nice to get an unexpected break.

 

Your patients

We do our best to help our patients, but sometimes the patients help us in ways we didn’t know we needed. Sure, not all patients are easy. We encounter rude people and sometimes worse. However, there are also those patients we never forget – the ones that reminded us of why we do what we do. We get to witness the love between family members, the devolution of a good friend, and the compassion of a neighbor. It is also sometimes the heartfelt conversations with our patients that provide our greatest lessons, and for that, we are thankful.

 

You get to make a difference

One of the things many healthcare workers can be grateful for is the opportunity to make a positive difference in someone’s life, sometimes in their most difficult times.

Every day at work is not a party, but healthcare workers know that every day the work they do matters in big and small ways. It may involve working with your team to save someone’s life. In other cases, it’s promoting positive changes in your patients’ lives or making them comfortable. It might sound cliché, but it is rewarding to know you are making a difference.

 

We all get busy and sometimes rush through our days. We move through our tasks and may lose sight of what we have right in front of us. Whether you will be spending the holidays with your family or working, take a minute and count your blessings and remember all you have to be thankful for!

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About MaryAnn DePietro

MaryAnn DePietro has been a health and medical writer for over a decade. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and health websites. MaryAnn holds a degree in rehabilitation and also in respiratory therapy. In addition to writing, she works as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in northern California.