Guide for Healthcare Students to Effectively Manage Studies and Work

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Managing studies with work is no easy feat to accomplish, especially in today’s fast-paced and demanding era. Though it’s ideal to obtain some work exposure alongside studying, it’s normal to feel exhausted and overworked. And if you’re a healthcare student, this becomes a daily challenge with mounting tasks and responsibilities.

Healthcare is a dynamic and ever-evolving field, with millions of students pursuing it every year. It offers multiple lucrative disciplines to specialize in alongside subfields and emerging domains. If you’re interested in a hands-on career dealing with patients, you can train as a doctor or a nurse practitioner. But if you’re more inclined towards the administrative side of healthcare, you can study public health management.

If you’re currently striving to become a doctor, nurse, or any other healthcare professional, a job alongside studying will boost your career prospects. That being said, you might find it taxing to manage regular classes with a full-time job. But don’t fret; here’s a guide that might help you through your turmoil.

1.       Find a Job Related to Your Field

As a student, you might be inclined to work “just any job” for mere financial support. Although it’s necessary to work on your career profile, it doesn’t have to be any job. Try to find a job, part-time or full-time, in your area of specialty.

For instance, if you’re studying health systems engineering, you need a job in hospitals or healthcare systems where you can design and improve healthcare facilities. If you’re training to be a doctor, search for a position in a clinic where you can regularly observe qualified doctors interact with their patients. Similarly, if you’re studying medical laboratory technology, work in a medical lab so you can learn to handle lab equipment better.

2.       Be Organized

This tip is probably the oldest leaf in the book of management. Organize your work schedule with your study schedule to ensure the completion of your tasks on time. For this purpose, make a planner and stick to it religiously.

The planner should include timeframes for your academic assignments/tasks, work responsibilities, and personal activities. Write down everything in your planner and stick to it, but ensure they’re all realistically attainable. Also, try to align your work commitments with academic responsibilities to make the most of them. More importantly, avoid last-minute submissions of your assigned tasks as it’ll add to your anxiety.

3.       Plan Ahead

Usually, a timetable is issued at the start of your semester, including important dates like exams, assignments, and viva. Write them down in your planner and prioritize each according to urgency and importance. This step helps with managing the shift rotation at work. Avoid taking on major work tasks when you anticipate a heavy-work load at school. Similarly, save your paid leaves for exams and other academic events like seminars and workshops.

Planning doesn’t always mean that you have everything figured out. Sometimes, unexpected circumstances render all your plans useless. So, to tackle such unpredictable situations, it’s best to improvise. Make room for small adjustments instead of drafting a tight schedule.

4.       Don’t Overwork Yourself

Burnout is common among students, and the rate is even higher for med students. Given the natural human tendency, you sometimes overestimate yourself and bite more than you can chew. The thought of earning additional bucks can compel you to take on extra shifts at work. However, unfortunately, this can lead to exhaustion and anxiety. Overworking can compromise the quality of your work on both ends. Ultimately, your performance at work and school can take a nosedive.

To prevent this from happening, know how much workload can you manage at a given time. Understand that you cannot do everything on your own. While multitasking seems enticing, it can drain your energy. Learn to work in teams and divide tasks among the members, whether at work or school. Moreover, give yourself enough time to focus on the task at hand, academic or work-related.

5.       Make Time for Rest Days

As a student, you’ll face peer pressure in outperforming your fellow students or employees. However, you keep on functioning well until you don’t. You may think you can work consecutive days without getting exhausted. This belief is shattered when one day you can’t go on anymore or start battling burnout.

Take rest days. Allocate one day a week dedicated to rest, where you can sleep in and replenish your energy. Binge-watch your favorite TV series or hang out with friends/family. You can even use this time to engage in a hobby. Rest days are not wasted days. You can utilize them to recharge and prepare for the busy days ahead.

6.       Study Smart

Although you may think that you don’t get enough time to study while working full-time, it’s not always true. Sure, you get only a few hours to complete assignments when working 7-8 hours a day. But that doesn’t mean you quit either one. Instead, this calls for developing a workable strategy to keep up with your studies.

As they say, Study Smart, Not Hard. For this, you need to have a solid study plan that includes innovative ways to keep up with your classes. You might come across times where you have absolutely no margin to study an extra night for that one tricky subject. All med students can relate to this situation, given how extensive and challenging their coursework is. Nonetheless, you can follow these steps to study smart:

  • Keep up: Whether you have half an hour or one hour free every day, revise your lessons. Go through the lecture notes once a day, as it helps retain major concepts efficiently.
  • Link Information: Usually, the courses you study in college are interlinked. You can link the concepts of one course with another for better understanding.
  • Test yourself: This is the most traditional form of self-study. Test your memory. Challenge your knowledge constantly.

7.       Keep Your Supervisors in the Loop

Most importantly, let your teachers know that you work a full-time job. They cannot share your workload, but they might understand your position and maybe give you useful bits of advice.

Similarly, let your supervisor at work know that you are a student. Keeping them in the loop may work in your favor when the shifts are changed. Your supervisor may relax your work responsibilities during particularly hard days at college.

8.       Take Care of Your Mental Health

Constantly managing your studies with work can take a massive toll on your mental health. However, this doesn’t mean you are not cut out for it. It simply means that you are experiencing burnout and are exhausted. So, take some days off to unwind and refreshen. If that doesn’t help, seek mental health counseling. Limiting work responsibilities and lowering course load can also help tackle burnout.

Summing-up

Making a planner and following a guide is not enough, especially for med students. Maintaining a balance requires a huge amount of discipline. Many students struggle to find balance while constantly trying to keep up with their tasks. Consistency is key! Some days you may feel like dozing an extra hour in the morning or putting off important tasks; refrain from doing so. Follow the effective guide shared above, and you’ll be well on your way.

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