Networking is an essential part of professional development for healthcare professionals, and it can open up a world of opportunities for those in the medical field. However, medical students often don't get the chance to develop the skills needed to establish contacts, as the emphasis on getting good results on standardized tests overshadows the importance of networking. To make the most of informal opportunities and advance your career, it is important to understand the structure and characteristics of professional networks and pay attention to their functioning. Here, we explore the key aspects of medical professional networking and how medical students can make the most of it.
Make the Most of Informal OpportunitiesHealthcare is one of the busiest professions, and healthcare professionals can often put networks and professional development on the back burner when they focus on providing excellent care for their patients.
Networking is an important factor in professional development and can lead to more opportunities to learn or advance your career (Denvir, 201). It's important that we, as healthcare professionals, dedicate time each day to networking and professional development.
Key Characteristics Needed to Establish ContactsNetworking is not a unique trait that we can demonstrate, but rather the strategic use of multiple skills and characteristics. Some of the key characteristics needed to establish contacts include ambition, perseverance, determination, reliability, and benevolence.
The Benefits of Professional Social NetworksA network of fellow peer-to-peer health managers is invaluable for professionals who occupy the top positions in the organization chart of a medical operation. West et al carried out significant research on the professional social networks of clinical directors of medicine and directors of nursing in hospitals in the United Kingdom.
The networks of nursing directors had a lower density (offering advantages in terms of access to information) than those of clinical directors of medicine, who used to be integrated into much more densely connected networks (cliques).
How Medical Students Can NetworkSo how exactly can medical students network? I think it starts with communicating and making others aware of their own goals and aspirations. Tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook allow us to stay connected and develop a professional brand that can help build a strong network. Reaching out to someone who's already in your professional network can be beneficial too.
Multi-Method ApproachesIf multi-method approaches are used and the advances of SNA58 are taken advantage of, other well-designed research should examine the relationships between professional network structures and health outcomes in a variety of different care settings, and how structural aspects of health professional networks can be harnessed to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.
Conclusion Networking is an essential part of professional development for healthcare professionals. To make the most out of informal opportunities and advance your career, it is important to understand the structure and characteristics of professional networks and pay attention to their functioning. Medical students should take advantage of tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to stay connected and develop a professional brand that can help build a strong network.