Sharon Ufberg, DC offers advice for assisting the next generation in finding meaningful careers in healthcare.

by Sharon Ufberg, DC

As the mother of three college students, the question, “What is the best career choice within healthcare for the future?” comes up often for discussion. How do we as interested and protective parents guide our children to choose a fulfilling profession in this complicated healthcare arena? Do we warn them of the complexities of choosing an alternative or complementary practice in a western world still heavily dominated by a traditional medical model of medicine? Or do we create a future vision where a truly integrated approach to healthcare will flourish and our special practices will be honored and held at an equal place amongst a variety of healing practitioners?

As a second generation chiropractor, I saw my father politic, strategize and mobilize his professional peers to fight for and gain acceptance within a much less accepting society of the 1960’s and 70’s. As a result, I enjoyed a chiropractic career with many more benefits and far fewer challenges than my father’s generation of practitioners faced. I had the advantage of a better educational system and much less public criticism for my professional career decision.

But how do I view the possible same career choice for my son or daughters? Now with so many other healthcare practice options available within an integrative model of healing, I am reluctant to put my particular choice of professions above others on the list. The future of preventative medicine and illness management and treatment appears so radically different than thirty years ago and these critical differences will have a significant impact on one’s individual practice. I believe the door is wide open for a paradigm shift in the way healthcare practitioners engage with their patients that is just beginning to appear in a few select integrated environments.

So how do we assist the next generation to find the right fit for them in this vast array of practitioner choices? An interesting way for one to gain insight into a specific field is to contact the student association leaders active in that profession. These graduate students can provide a lot of information from a peer perspective and convey an enthusiasm for their profession that is truly contagious! Another productive way to hear about many professional healthcare options is to attend workshops and conferences. To hear the leading thinkers within the professional community discuss topics of interest provides a wealth of experiences consolidated into a few days. The Integrative Healthcare Symposium 2009 is an excellent example as a resource for this type of exploration and discovery.

What we all want is for our children to choose fulfilling, interesting and meaningful careers. How we assist them in making that decision is about sharing our life experiences and then giving them the tools to make the best decision for themselves.

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