Personally, I believe nothing can fully prepare an individual for the fast-paced demands of the hospital, the potential heartbreak, the pressure to perform well, and even the rewarding moments. A healthcare setting is unlike any other, and one can ever know what to fully expect until they are place in the middle of it all.
First, I believe your time in school is a critical period to learn and ask all important questions. Professors are there to guide you and teach you the ropes of the healthcare field, and that is a crucial for gaining all the necessary tools for success. Time spent during clinicals, or rotations is an important time to observe and take note on direct healthcare experience. Learning through observation is an ideal way to grasp meaningful knowledge on patient care, because even during clinicals or rotations the unknown is bound to happen, and it can all be used as a learning advantage. The time spent in a healthcare degree program is the best time to ask questions and learn all the necessary components of being a successful healthcare professional. It is not a time to be afraid of what you do not know, because you are still learning.
Still, school cannot prepare an individual physically or mentally for the demands of the hospital. I believe it is most important for healthcare professionals to find a hobby, so they can escape and decompress from their time spent in a healthcare setting. There are many options that an individual can utilize as their own personal hobby such as yoga, running, volunteering, reading, and more. Personally, I enjoy riding my horse and working out at the gym. During this time, I can escape any stress I may face from school or the outside world and focus on taking care of myself. My hobbies also allow me to grow stronger and be healthier, so that I can feel better mentally and physically. Though, the list of potential hobbies is not limited, it is simply to the individual to decide what they enjoy doing most.
I also believe it is important for healthcare professionals to find someone they can trust to talk about what they may be dealing with at work or in life. A trusted co-worker is someone to consider, as they know and understand what you are going through at work and may be able to lend you some supporting words or advice. People that do not work in a healthcare setting may never fully understand how stressful this work setting can be, so a co-worker may be a great option for sharing your struggles with. Another option could be a licensed therapist, as it is their responsibility to listen and help you through whatever you may be dealing with. Through my time in my undergraduate studies, I have found that many of my friends have enjoyed speaking to therapist and it has been quite helpful for them. Personally, along with many other college-aged students, have struggled with COVID-19, the stress of figuring out post-college life, financials, applying to graduate schools, and the pressure of succeeding in class. The past few years have been overwhelming, but I have found a few trusted individuals that will listen to my difficulties which has helped me a deal with many of my concerns. Allowing myself to be honest and open with another individual has lifted such a huge weight off my shoulder, especially hearing that I am not alone in my worries. I am thankful that these individuals have been a useful resource in my life, but I am also greatly appreciative that resources such as therapy has become more widely accepted and accessible, because I think anyone can benefit from these licensed professionals.
I believe it is most important for individuals in the healthcare field to remember that they do not have to be perfect, we are all learning along the way, and it only time and experience will provide us with the proper knowledge of being a successful healthcare professional. Though, even after many years of experience, professionals still do not have all the answers, and they may still have to seek other resources to find the best answer. If you are entering a healthcare degree program it is important to remember that it is all a learning process. During your time in the program ask all the questions, observe, take detailed notes, and do not be afraid of not knowing everything. Upon starting your time in the healthcare field as a professional, remember to take time for yourself. Find hobbies you enjoy and love, so that you can spend time on bettering your mental and physical health. It is also important to utilize other individuals to speak about your time at work, whether it is a licensed professional or a friendly co-worker. Finally, be kind to yourself and remember you are entering such a crucial and difficult career.