Out of all the jobs that I’ve had in my life, I’ve learned the most about life from working in healthcare.
Looking back at my past jobs, I’ve pretty much done it all — hostess, barista, retail, life guarding, telemarketing, sales, a smoothie shop, haunted house, and probably so many more random ones.
To preface, I work at a specialized hospital as casual admin which means that I work in various areas of the hospital.
On some days I’m having face to face interactions with patients and their families and then others I’m assisting behind the scenes with emails and answering phones.
As much as I enjoy my distance, there’s a lot to be learned from other people.
There’s a quote that goes, “a smart person learns from their mistakes and a wise person learns from the mistakes of others” and it’s definitely one that I try to live by.
What I’ve Learned Working in a Hospital:
Life gets really lonely
A lot of us have probably heard that as humans we come into the world alone and we leave alone and it seems true.
It feels like when you’re younger, you’re pretty much friends everyone. Then as you get older, your circle gets smaller and smaller.
The crazy part about life is that we don’t get to see the good or bad repercussions of our choices until later in life — often until it’s too late.
It’s heartbreaking to witness people being sick or receiving end of life care that have no family or friends to visit them.
I can take a guess that people have strained relationships, family members and friends that have already passed, loved ones who live far away, or decided not to have kids but either way it’s one of those moments where you reflect on your life and start to think about the future outcomes of the decisions you are making now.
Men need women more than women need men
Before anyone gets offended, men and women need each other but there are a lot of men who would be dysfunctional if they didn’t have their female partners.
My savings would be looking real nice if I got a dollar every time a patients female partner supervised their phone call and chimed in to correct all the misinformation that their husbands spoke.
It would be little things like phone numbers, locations, dates, the spelling of things, etc. and sometimes it gets to the point where they end up just taking over the phone call.
There’s even been a few times where I’ve called people to notify them about their appointments and they’ve just told me to call their wife.
No one is exempt
Looking back at the mindset I had when I was younger, it’s true that you really do think you’re invincible when you’re younger.
Since I’ve gotten older and now work at a hospital, I’ve learned a lot more about how life works.
For starters, I lost my brother to cancer when he was 12. I’ve had a mom tell me about how her 20 year old child is having to get one of their lower gastrointestinal organs removed and have had someone in their mid 40’s on the phone in tears telling me how they don’t deserve to get stage 3 liver cancer because they’ve been vegan and haven’t eaten processed meats for over 20 years, exercises daily, doesn’t drink and has never smoked.
It really makes you wonder just how in control of our lives we are, but all you can really do is be grateful for the days you’ve been given and the people in your life.
Always do your own research
As sad as it sounds, not all doctors are going to have your best interest in mind. We’ve all heard those awful stories of malpractice and people who aren’t even qualified doing medical procedures so it’s imperative to do your own research.
Just because someone has PhD doesn’t mean that they know it all or are always up to date with new information.
In addition, it’s not uncommon for practitioners work with pharmaceutical brands and push those prescriptions onto their patients instead of recommending other medications first.
Never be afraid to speak up about your health and bring someone close with you to your appointments as moral support.
Getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion is important
This is definitely so important, especially when it comes to serious diagnoses. In this money hungry world, some people will tell you anything just to get a couple hundred dollars out of you.
You also can’t forget that not all doctors go to the same medical school so their experience, knowledge, and practices can vary so much.
Back in college, I had a constant sore neck that wouldn’t go away so after a week or so I went to a doctor and he suggested that I get an MRI which easily could have been $4,000 in America.
I was pretty hesitant because it was the first thing he suggested which was kind of extreme based on what I told him and the questions he asked.
I definitely didn’t end up getting the MRI and went to see a chiropractor instead who did some adjusting and the problem went away.
Think twice about who you marry and have kids with
When people fall in love and get married, I can imagine that it feels like rainbows and butterflies forever, but I’ve heard from too many adults that that’s definitely not the case at all.
It’s really crazy and sad how quickly people can switch up when push comes to shove.
Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for people to leave their sick partners. I’ve also heard about patients whose ex-partners keep them from seeing their kids.
Obviously I don’t know what happens behind closed doors in other people’s relationships but it makes you think twice about just how well you know the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with.
You should know your family medical history
Genetics is a crazy thing and can really change the trajectory of your life if you don’t take it seriously.
One of the things that really opened my eyes was reading about a family who has a history of cancer that goes down multiple generations because they have a mutation on a gene that prevents the growth of tumors.
Even though you don’t have control of your genetics, you can still choose how you respond to it by taking preventative measures.
Prevention is better than treatment
Once you become an independent adult, it can be easy to forget to go get check ups when your parents aren’t booking the appointments and fronting the bill for you.
But as you get older, it’s even more important to get frequent check ups because your hormone levels start dropping and your cells aren’t repairing as quickly as they used to.
Whatever is applicable to you, make sure to get your timely appropriate pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, etc.
Don’t take anything personally
I’ve always known this but working at a hospital has really emphasized it to me.
Once I called someone to simply tell them about their appointment and they completely unleashed all their anger out on me.
It turns out that the person had recently gotten ran over, is unable to drive, had a bad divorce and just moved over 3 hours away via public transport from the hospital.
Sometimes we get so in our heads about our own lives that we forget that other people are going through things too. If someone ever yells at you for no reason, just let it go over your head because at the end of the day it most likely has nothing to do with you.
Do everything you want to do while you still can
We’ve all heard the older generation talk about how they wish they did this or wish they did that.
In life, there are a lot of opportunities that come up and sometimes they only come around once, so it’s important to make some decisions with the present in mind.
Things are constantly changing and once they do, nothing is ever the same.
There’s been so many times that I’ve heard people break down on the phone because their life just completely flipped upside down and as a witness, it’s such a wake up call to not live in fear and do what makes you happy right now.
As cliche as it sounds, every day truly is a gift and there’s so much to learn about the world, ourselves, and other people.
With everything going on in the world right now, I hope that everyone can work on themselves spiritually and come out of this epidemic a better person.
I started with a quote so I’ll leave with another, “when we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
What’s a life lesson you’ve learned recently? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create, and grow!