One of the hardest parts about working within the health industry is that unlike most other industries, this one has very little room for any sort of “work-life balance.” Patients come first. Always. Period. This isn’t surprising; it is what people sign up for when they decide to go into health and medicine. But for some, the work-life balance isn’t optional. It’s mandatory.

For these people, it can often feel like they need to make a choice between helping people and helping themselves. If this feels familiar, please stop doing this. All this does is set you up to feel guilty for spending time with your family or seeing to your own health. Plus: when you neglect your own health, you make it harder for yourself to tend to the health of others.

What you need to do is find a way to work in the health field that doesn’t actively battle against your need for a solid work-life balance.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

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Choose the Right Specialty

When you were younger and you first start thinking about getting into the health field you probably focused on becoming a doctor or a nurse. These are noble professions to be sure, but they are not the only ways to work within the health field. There are quite a few different ways to work in medicine and health that also allow you to keep regular hours and to have a dependable schedule.

For example, an optometrist helps people see better but can keep whatever areas he or she likes. Physical therapists work very specific hours as well. Insurance companies also help people get the proper health care. There are so many options out there. Just because doctors and nurses get all of the credit doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilling career in medicine and health without getting your MD or RN.

Work in a Supportive Environment

One of the hardest things about working in a hospital or medical practice is just how competitive it can be. If you are a competitive person by nature, this might be an environment in which you thrive. If not, it’s better to look for a company that takes care to create a supportive and cooperative environment. One option, USHealth Group, advocates offering continuous training and field testing of techniques so that employees will always feel set up to succeed instead of being pitted against each other.

Companies that foster cooperative and supportive environments tend to have happier employees (as well as highly productive and successful employees).

It’s also worth noting that looking for a company that hires from within is a great way to ensure future growth within your field without having to take on the daunting task of job hunting.

Find an Employer For Whom Work-Life Balance is Also Important

Private practices are great for this. A private medical office is going to be far more supportive when you need to take time to care for sick kids or when you actually want to use the vacation time you’ve accrued. A private practice is also usually more flexible–at least on the administrative side–in terms of working from home and telecommuting some of the time.

One of the best ways to figure out whether or not a company will be conducive to your personal work-life balance requirements is to find out what current and previous employees feel about their workplace environment. When you read the GlassDoor reviews of the aforementioned insurance provider USHealth Group, you will see that most consumers rate the company highly for its commitment to the work-life balance. Check out your potential employer there to see what grades it gets from its employee pool.

The point is that if you want to have a good work-life balance you need to focus just as much on finding the right “work” part of that equation. Yes, you want to get hired now, but don’t jump into a job that will require you to sacrifice your own life if that is something you aren’t prepared to do voluntarily.