While healthcare is one of the most recession-resistant industries in which to work, it is not completely recession-proof. As the recession deepens and high unemployment remains a reality, even healthcare professionals may need to consider making some adjustments to help maintain stability, security and financial viability during a recession or downturn in the economy.
Depending on the type of role you have, the degree to which you need to adapt your career, and the methods you may use to adjust may vary. Below are some ideas for various healthcare careers – you may notice a common theme among them all: flexibility.
If you are already an employed physician, particularly one who is employed by a government institution such as a public health organization or university, you probably are already in as recession-proof a job as you would be able to find. Therefore, you may just want to stay put and ride out the recession, even if you’re feeling restless.
Adapting Your Nursing Career in a Recession
For nurses, most of whom are employed by a hospital, doctors’ office, or other company, the strategies for survival in a recession include a variety of tactics. Furthering your education is always a great way to increase your employment options. If you have an associate’s degree, you may want to start working on your bachelor’s degree, or if you have a BSN you may even want to start working towards an MSN.
Hospital jobs have been hardest hit by the recession, so hospital nurses may need to look to academic or government roles, or jobs in medical offices, nursing homes, or home health care which are all growing.
Additionally, demand for travel nurses has slowed in some areas, so if you are accustomed to working as a travel nurse, you may need to look for something more permanent.
Finally, if you’re having trouble finding a nursing job, it may be due to the area in which you’re located—if you’re in a metro area that is saturated with nurses or one where there have been hospital closings, the market may be flooded with candidates. Therefore, you may need to consider relocating to an area where there is more of a demand, if that is realistic for you.
Lastly, another way to open up your options is to consider new specialty areas within the nursing field. Advanced practice and mid-level nurses will be in demand in primary care and surgical specialties, for example. If you’ve always worked in dermatology but can’t find a dermatology position, for example, you may have to consider a different specialty, since dermatology is one of the most competitive due to the pay and schedule.
Adapting Physician Careers for a Recession
As a physician, the type of role you have will dictate how you adapt your career. If you are in private practice, there are several things you may want to try:
- Decrease overhead – private practice physicians may need to look for ways to cut back on expenses, whether it be cutting back on staff hours, cutting back on supplies or looking for new vendors who may be able to offer discounts.
- New procedures – perhaps there is a new procedure or service that you could learn, and obtaining the additional certification could help increase your reimbursements and revenue.
- Increase patients – try marketing your practice among the employed population to grow your paying patient base.
If none of the above is feasible for you, if you’re already capped out on patients or if there are no more patients in your area, you may have to consider a more drastic change. Relocating to an area where there is less competition for patients may help, as long as there are enough patients to build a profitable practice. Additionally, you could get acquired by a local hospital or look for an employment opportunity with a hospital in your area.
Adjusting Your Allied Health Career or Other Health Career
For all other health professionals, there are a few common tactics that may help you advance your career, or find a new job if you’ve been downsized:
- Relocation – expand your options by looking outside of your immediate area if you’re having trouble finding a job in a more saturated market.
- New skills and certifications – if there is a new imaging machine or new piece of equipment you’ve not been trained to use, or new procedure you could learn, now is a great time to attend the training needed. The more skills and certifications you have, the more marketable you are and the less likely you are to be let go.
- Moonlight – if your employer allows it, do some moonlighting in an area that doesn’t directly compete. Some ideas are consulting, writing, training, shift work, or other related jobs you could do where you utilize your existing skills. By taking on a second job, you are protecting yourself should anything happen to your primary/full-time job. In the event of a lay-off or downsizing, you would then have another gig as a safety net, which could even then become your new primary earning opportunity.
About the author: Alissa Zucker is a copywriter, working for the essay writing service. She is interested in reading classic and psychological books which give her inspiration to write her own articles and short stories.