Feeling Stuck in Your Healthcare Career?


Published: 17 February 2021

If you feel like you’re stuck in your career and don’t know what to do or where to go next, you’re not alone.

Anyone can find themselves in that position, whether seasoned healthcare professional or not. While it may be uncomfortable, you don’t need to hang out there indefinitely. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do in order to get unstuck so that you can move onward and upward sooner rather than later.

Acknowledging Your Stuckness

At this point in your career, you may not even realise that you’re stuck. Perhaps you sense a creeping malaise or unhappiness with your work. Maybe you’re feeling passionless and you’ve hit a wall of compassion fatigue or lack feeling and camaraderie for your colleagues. What may have once been a decent job might now seem like an endless slog of drudgery.

We all get stuck for different reasons. Maybe we chose a specialty that just doesn’t interest us anymore, or perhaps we work with a patient population that doesn’t inspire us. Sometimes a change of leadership at your work leads to a less positive workplace culture, causing you to feel less supported and burned out. Or, it could be that you’re just plain tired.

Other possible reasons for feeling stuck include lack of opportunity for advancement, getting turned down for jobs you apply for, or even a change in your personal life that has got you in a downward emotional spiral (e.g. divorce or the death of a loved one).

No matter the reason, the first thing you need to do is realise you’re stuck, admit it and take inspired action.

stuck healthcare career

Actions Speak Louder

When you need to take action in the interest of your professional happiness and success, there’s no time like the present. Did any of the aforementioned scenarios speak to your situation? Is there something going on that needs your attention? Here are some ways to get things moving:

  • Engage the services of a career coach or counsellor
  • If personal issues are the most urgent, consider psychotherapy or mental health counselling
  • Engage with inspiring career-related content (e.g. podcasts, webinars, blogs, journals, articles, social media)
  • If there’s an area of healthcare that’s of interest but you don’t know where or how to begin, find someone in that specialty and ask for an informational interview so that you can pick their brain and get some advice
  • If you know what you want and it requires advancing your education, meet with someone at your chosen university and plot a course of study
  • If your workplace is negative or unwelcoming, put your energy into finding another position, even if it’s something that serves as a bridge until the right role comes along
  • If you’re trying to enter the job market, update your resume and make sure you have a basic cover letter ready to be tweaked for each position
  • Update your LinkedIn profile (or create an engaging profile if you don’t yet have one) and use it to network with other healthcare professionals doing amazing work around the world
  • Assess your own strengths and areas that need improvement
  • Find a mentor to help guide you.

Getting Unstuck

Getting unstuck isn’t always simple or straightforward, but it’s always worthwhile. Being unhappy at work is a miserable existence, and that misery can bleed into your personal life.

Taking inspired action is always better than feeling glued to your seat with indecision, and there are plenty of people out there who would help if you only asked.

Give yourself the gift of instigating positive change, and your life and career will be all the better for it.