How to Build a Meaningful Medical Career and Avoid Burnout

How to Build a Meaningful Medical Career and Avoid Burnout

There’s not much downtime when you’re trying to build a meaningful medical career. Between education, work, practicums, and your own personal life, you might feel like there are not enough hours in a day. 

If you feel like you’re running 25/8 with little to no downtime, how can you call your medical career choice meaningful?

So many people give up on their medical ventures because of stress. More research is showing that doctors and healthcare workers believe a good patient/doctor relationship is the most substantial determination for a meaningful medical career.

Everyone wants to do something meaningful and have a career full of purpose. Unfortunately, there’s no ultimate guide article on how to build a meaningful career. Wait, that’s precisely what this is.

Some opt for a career in the medical industry because it looks good on paper, or it sounds nice at a dinner party with friends. However, most people strive to build a meaningful medical career.

Following a few simple theories regarding the word meaningful, you too can do the same.

Please read below to breakdown the categories of meaningful and what they mean to you. We will also cover a few actionable tips you can implement immediately. 

Ask Yourself: What Does Meaningful Mean to Me?

To build a meaningful medical career, you must first recognize what meaningful means to you. 

It’s not just titled status, pay increase, or large salaries that make a job meaningful.

Asking yourself the following questions will help you decide whether you’re going to be okay working at the practice of your choice, or if you are genuinely happy to be at your job.

Is this challenging for me? Do my co-workers have respect for me? Do I align with the work I am doing? Am I growing mentally/ spiritually? 

Ultimate Alignment

You want to work with a company that promotes the same values and cultural outlook that you share. Unlike a mission, alignment is whether or not you feel a sense of belonging.

What priorities do your colleagues have? Do they meet for lunch? Do they treat each other with respect? 

The answers to these questions can help guide your next career-based decision. 

Becoming a Master

Mastery brings meaning to your medical career because they are the strengths you want to enhance. 

Just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean you always enjoy it. The secret here is to use the skills that you possess to find more meaning in your medical career. 

If you love helping others, nursing might be your calling. If you are highly organized and love rearranging files, a medical assistant might be the right employment choice for you.

Leave a Legacy

This category of meaning focuses on what you physically want to get out of what you do. Your achievements, or any evidence of what you have done throughout your career. What do you want to achieve? 

Do you want to physically help patients by being an ICU nurse, or would you instead do something on a global level and help pass new medical policies like the Affordable Care Act?

Free Bird

Understanding what kind of lifestyle you want and whether or not your job fits in that picture is essential for finding meaning. 

Freedom and flexibility can come in many forms, like benefits and salaries. You want a big paycheck, so you can take a month off and tour Asia? Excellent, find employment that will give you that freedom.

Make Time for Yourself

Everybody needs time to decompress. Whether it’s taking time off from work or school, spending time alone or with the company of your loved ones is essential. Take a moment to unplug and go camping if that’s your thing. 

There’s nothing wrong with turning your phone on silent and binge-watching a show on your favorite streaming service (I like Disney+ personally). Rewarding yourself for completing important projects (like folding the laundry) is a great way to balance out the scale.

You never have to go through tough situations alone. If you are stuck at a job you don’t like, or you’re swamped between school, a practicum, and your job, it’s okay to reach out and ask for advice. 

Thanks to the interweb, there are endless resources available to help you build a meaningful medical career without burning out.

Final Thoughts

With some time, patience, and planning, you can build a meaningful medical career without burning out. One of the most important things to take away from this article: crackdown on your finances.

Seriously, most people will stay at a medical job they dislike because of money. If you actually set yourself up with a small financial cushion, you’ll mentally feel better about taking the next step towards your meaningful career.

You’re never stuck, okay? It doesn’t matter if you are waist-deep into your medical career. If you want to pivot, you can. 

Speak to people already doing the job you aspire to do. If you listen with a critical ear (and not just hear what you want), you can gain insight and form an actionable plan. 

Life is too short to ponder what if. Get out there and create that perfect medical job!

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About the author

Heather Burton

Heather lives with her husband and two children in beautiful British Columbia. Her passion has always been to enhance the lives of others by helping them reach their own personal goals and accomplishments. Content management is her specialty, and writing is what she does best. Her love for helping others lead her to the cannabis scene where she saw an immense gap between patients and medicine that can help them.

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