Navigating a Career Transition in Healthcare

Navigating a career transition

Most of us will go through a career transition at some point, especially as healthcare professionals where there are so many varying opportunities and paths to take. But no matter where you are in your career, making a big career decision — changing roles and possibly organizations, locations, etc. — can be tough. 

To get insight into how to successfully navigate a career transition in healthcare, we spoke with Dr. Mikkael Sekeres, Chief of the Division of Hematology at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. 

Dr. Sekeres went through his own professional transition not too long ago. After setting a career goal for himself, Dr. Sekeres identified an ideal job in an ideal location and, following his own advice, ran toward the opportunity. You can read more about his experience and his 10 steps for a happy position transition in our other post.  

Here’s what Dr. Sekeres had to say about what to consider, and what to avoid, when making a professional transition. 

In your experience, what are the benefits of making a career transition?

Mikkael Sekeres

A career transition encourages you to leave the comfort zone of your current position and allows you to explore what you truly love about your work, and what you’d like to change. 

In medicine, because of the diversity of opportunities (in basic/translational/clinical research; in academics vs. private practice vs. a blend vs. industry; in education or administration; seeing patients as a generalist or as a specialist or even not at all), you are in an extremely privileged position of defining precisely the type of job you would like to have. You can hit the “pause” button on your career, look for that ideal blend of responsibilities that brings you joy, and then hit “play” again. You can even hit that “play” button in a part of the world that is in a much more pleasant environment, and recapture that excitement you felt leaving training for that first job in a new city!

What is one thing someone should be sure to do when pursuing a career transition?

Always interview a potential new employer more than that employer is interviewing you. One of the perks of making a transition from one job to another is the knowledge you bring in assessing the components of a new job based on your experience at the old one. And these can be basic aspects of a work environment! 

For example, if at your old job you worked in a cubicle without a view, you’ll know to ask if you’ll have an office with a window. Perhaps at your old job you saw patients without any nurse supports and spent long evenings entering patient orders and double-checking appointments. At the new one, you’ll know to ask about more support.

What is one thing to avoid when pursuing a career transition?

Never run from a bad environment. Always run towards a fabulous opportunity. Look for energy and excitement, growth and potential, and people who value your particular skillset when interviewing. If you find yourself rehashing why you need to leave a job, during your interview for a new job, you should hit that pause button again and recalibrate your motivations.

Are there any resources you’d recommend people utilize when planning a career transition?

Turn to friends who can be supportive and find someone you trust at the institution you are considering joining who can provide you with honest insight into the position. I also turned to friends and colleagues who had made recent transitions for advice on what questions to ask.

Published January 23, 2023

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