When you chose a healthcare profession, did you imagine you’d ever be searching for a job during a pandemic?
What about the new graduate nurses? Did you ever think you’d launch your career during the largest public health crisis of the 21st century?
Searching for a job in healthcare – no matter your specific role – can be stressful under the best of circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic adds a new layer of apprehension to the process. A jobseeker’s key question may have turned from “can I find a job I love?” to “can I find a job I love while still remaining safe and well?”
No doubt many healthcare jobseekers relish the opportunity to charge into the battle of COVID-19, viewing the situation as the chance of a lifetime to play a courageous role in vanquishing this historic threat. That’s an admirable attitude that can be a guide for your fellow team members.
Other people may feel anxious or fearful about working on the frontlines of this crisis. They may be concerned not only for their own health and safety but for that of the family members they return home to each day. Nobody wants to endanger their loved ones by potentially carrying a dangerous virus into their home. These feelings are normal, too.
No matter where your emotions fall along the spectrum – or if your emotions rise and fall from moment to moment – know that your feelings are normal. And you are not alone in them.
Many healthcare workers struggle right now to navigate the complex emotions and ethics of serving during this pandemic. From new grads to seasoned veterans, each person must grapple with seesawing emotions, even as they find their way through this crisis.
And find your way you will. The process may feel bumpy, but you will find your way through it.
In the interim, how should healthcare jobseekers proceed?
Turning to practical matters can provide great comfort during times of stress. If you’re looking for a healthcare job right now, you might find comfort by focusing on:
- Identifying where you’d like to work, geographically – a coronavirus “hotspot” or someplace less affected by the outbreak
- Assessing your risk tolerance: would you prefer a role in direct patient care, or would you feel more comfortable right now in a support role?
- Expanding the field of potential job opportunities by investigating jobs that may reside adjacent to your current role, such as an Operating Room nurse looking into ICU nursing
Regardless of whether you plunge into patient care or take a job that does not put you in direct contact with patients, you play a vital role right now in combating the effects of this crisis. Whatever choice you make, you should know that your contribution is valuable – and valued. By co-workers, by patients, by family members, by the public.
This pandemic may serve as a crucible that molds your practice as you find your way through the crisis. Because we will move forward. No matter what emotions any of us may be feeling for the duration, we can assure ourselves this pandemic eventually will pass. And when it has passed, may you find a moment to take a deep breath and reflect on how this experience transformed you as a professional and as a person.
At the same time, remember to reflect on how you transformed – are transforming – the lives of others. Every healthcare worker is a hero right now. Wear the honor proudly.
About the Author
Elizabeth Hanes, RN is ‘the nurse who knows' content. She is a freelance writer who combines her knowledge of nursing with over 20 years in journalism. Her unique background brings credibility and authenticity to her writing.