14 Pros and Cons of Working in the Medical Field

Medical Field

Earning potential, career advancement opportunities, job security, and, most importantly, helping others, are some of the many reasons an individual would enter the medical field.

As one of the largest employment sectors on earth, the healthcare field offers endless career paths ranging from medical billing to plastic surgery.

However, like with any job, numerous pros and cons must be considered before starting your career.

To learn more about the medical field and whether you should take this path, keep reading!

Pros of Working in the Medical Field

There are many advantages to working in the medical field, below are a few of the best that could persuade you to start a career in healthcare:

1. Career Advancement Opportunities

Medical professionals can earn additional credentials and licensing, which can advance their careers and your salary.

There are usually state requirements for continuing education, so earning licensure or credentials is a wonderful way to beef up your resume, increase your salary, and fulfill your yearly educational requirement.

2. Flexibility

If you work for a large medical practice or corporation, there is often flexibility with transferring to other locations.

Also, if you earn a nationally recognized certification or license, you are not limited to a specific town, city, or region, and can go anywhere.

This presents an elevated level of career flexibility to those looking to move to other areas, even across the country.

3. Great Job Outlook

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are expected to increase by 15% between 2019 and 2029.

Demand is always high and job opportunities will continue to grow in the future.

Since humans always get sick or injured, there will always be a need for medical professionals, especially with the continued population increase.

If you are searching for a specific opportunity within a category, then the medical field may be an excellent place to launch your career.

4. Exciting Career

For those looking for a career that is dynamic and exciting, a medical field is a great option.

With numerous patients coming into the location daily, all with different ailments and the need for various treatments, there is never a dull and boring day.

Many careers are monotonous and mundane, with employees doing the same job endlessly.

In addition to the clock ticking at a snail’s pace, this time of work can lead to a different type of burnout.

However, almost every role in the medical industry will ensure you’re never bored at work! 

5. High Earning Potential

Other than having a meaningful career, one of the best reasons to enter the medical field is the high earning potential, especially if you plan to become a doctor.

Since medical employees are always in such high demand, offices, practices, and hospitals have higher pay incentives with excellent benefits.

Also, within medical specialties, salaries are higher because more training is required.

6. Meaningful Career

Unfortunately, many individuals in the workplace do not lead meaningful careers.

In the healthcare industry, anyone involved in helping others get better and improves their life.

Even what seems like the most insignificant healthcare roles are cogs in the wheel that make the industry tick and help patients with their ailments.

At the end of every day, healthcare workers should take solace in the fact that they treated or helped another human with their problems.

Most workers cannot say they gain this sense of job satisfaction.

7. Travel Opportunities

The healthcare field can be a great option for those who love to travel.

Programs like Doctors Without Borders allow medical professionals to travel to third-world countries and administer a variety of treatments that can help save the lives of locals who may not have access to modern medicine.

Even within the United States, areas that are hit by natural disasters or disease outbreaks need medical professionals from across the country to help with the treatment efforts.

These options can also be incredibly rewarding!

Cons of Working in the Medical Field

Not so fast!

While these incredible benefits of working in healthcare seem appealing, it is important to also understand the disadvantages:

1. Deal with Patient Mortality 

While there is a major feeling of accomplishment from helping patients with their ailments or health goals, there is also the situation of dealing with terminally ill patients or those with a poor prognosis.

Patient mortality occurs and is expected in healthcare facilities, but it does not make it easier to manage.

Those who decide to work in emergency rooms oncology offices, or geriatrics are likely to experience patient mortality frequently.

This is a major consideration when deciding whether to enter the healthcare field.

In some instances, you may develop a relationship with the patient, which makes it even more difficult when they pass away.

Searching for coping mechanisms after patient loss while remaining professional is difficult as your emotions may overwhelm you.

2. Disease Exposure

Healthcare employees at all levels are put at risk of contracting viruses and diseases daily.

With so many patients coming and going, some of whom are sick, you are consistently surrounded by germs.

While you are required to take the necessary precautions, it is impossible to completely sterilize you and your area to ensure no germs attack.

This means you could become sick regularly, which adds to the stress levels of the industry.

3. Extensive Education

Depending on the role you take in the medical community, there could be extensive educational requirements.

Even a student interested in medical billing and code needs to take a 6-12 month training program to ensure patients are properly billed and their medical issues are coded accordingly.

Doctors have the most schooling with four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, an internship, and residency.

The amount of required education drives potential future employees away from any position in the field.

Furthermore, the longer you attend school, the more money you will owe at the end.

Even with a high salary, it can still be incredibly expensive and difficult to manage.

4. Heavy Workload

Patients constantly enter healthcare facilities to speak to a doctor and be treated.

Whether you are par to a home health agency, long-term care facility, or urgent care facility, the need for additional medical workers is increasing.

There are often days when the workload is so overwhelming because of seeing numerous patients in one shift, that it feels unmanageable.

For instance, one nurse may see and diagnose six patients simultaneously to address their requests, treatments, and medications.

5. High Stress

Healthcare professionals are subject to high workplace stress levels due to the responsibility and accountability carried to each patient.

Management, patient workload, and emergencies add endless stress to the workday.

However, this may not always be the case since the medical industry has such a variety of career options that vary in environment, workload, and responsibility.

All employees have a responsibility to each patient that walks through the door.

Mistakes could result in devasting consequences.

6. Varying Schedule

While one of the main advantages of entering healthcare is flexibility, schedules can vary based on the medical career.

For instance, nurses are usually scheduled to work 10-12 hour shifts four days per week but have the other three days off unbothered.

Some healthcare workers have traditional banker hours, but this depends on the facility, staffing needs, and business hours.

If you have specific family or lifestyle obligations, you could be able to request a specific schedule, but this might not always be an option.

Hospitals and emergency rooms operate 24-7-365, so entry-level employees are often stuck working overnight shifts.

Depending on your role, some careers require on-call shifts, which means you could be called in the middle of the night to come in and treat patients.

7. Work Some Holidays

In addition to a varying schedule and high workload, you may have to work holidays.

Illness and injury can occur at any moment, so medical facilities must be available around the clock and need employees to work those hours.

That means you could be stuck working some or all holidays when you first enter the field.

If you enjoy working the traditional 9-5 job with weekends off, you may wish to reconsider a medical career, unless you are in an administrative role, leading to a more flexible schedule.

Pros and Cons of Working in the Medical Field – Summary Table

Pros of Working in the Medical FieldCons of Working in the Medical Field
1. Career Advancement Opportunities1. Deal with Patient Mortality 
2. Flexibility2. Disease Exposure
3. Great Job Outlook3. Extensive Education
4. Exciting Career4. Heavy Workload
5. High Earning Potential5. High Stress
6. Meaningful Career6. Varying Schedule
7. Travel Opportunities7. Work Some Holidays

Should You Work in the Medical Field?

Now that you have the tools to decide on whether you should enter the medical field, it is important to think long and hard about the pros and cons of entering this industry type.

Do you have the patience to sit through years of education and continued education once you start working?

Are you mentally strong enough to deal with mortality, stress, and anxiety?

Are you more of a 9-to-5 jobseeker?

The choice of whether to enter the medical field is a difficult one that only you can make.

Countless factors must be considered before starting the process.

By thinking about these pros and cons, you will be more informed to deciding on your future!

Jamie Willis