The Importance of a 10-Year Plan for Professionals in Health Care

By The SHSMD Team posted 10-28-2022 11:19 AM


Having a 10-year plan for career growth is essential in almost every industry for professionals to intentionally thrive and maximize their impact and upward mobility. This is especially true in fields that are ever evolving and require strategic navigation like health care. 


While the downsides of having a 10-year plan are nearly nonexistent, the benefits are nearly endless! Here are some of the most appealing ones. 


Having a 10-year plan means that you’ll be operating in your career with intention and purpose. This is crucial to maximizing your overall work experience. Guided decision making will enable you to make sure that the career choices you make are actually in line with your passions, talents and lifestyle preferences. 


A good 10-year plan includes objective goals, strategies to accomplish them and celebratory milestones over the course of that decade. These should be based on a self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, industry research into what targets are reasonably attainable, feedback from current or previous leadership and perhaps even the personalized consultation of a professional career coach who is an expert in your field.  

According to The Economic Times, professionals have found that this prevents them from making decisions based on what may be momentarily convenient, but unconducive to their future desires. In the same article, they make a valid point: if you don’t have direction, it’s nearly impossible to arrive at your desired destination. 


Priorities are different for every individual. For Humanitarian Hannah, the ultimate end game for her 10-year plan might be holding a position that allows her to do what she loves and create as much progressive change in society from her work that she can. For Ambitious Alex, they may say that their goal would be to double or triple their current salary and move from associate to senior leadership. Freedom Frank might care less about the job description and financial gain, but he aspires to have complete flexibility and autonomy in his future role.  

No matter which profile you fit, having clearly defined priorities is a major plus! According to Berkeley Wellbeing Institute, having “values-based goals” that are specific to your needs, wants and work style results in a much higher levels of satisfaction.   


The process of creating a solid 10-year plan shouldn’t be a speedy task. While it doesn’t need to take a year, giving yourself a few weeks to go through these steps will give you the best results! 


This will largely influence the types of roles you pursue and the strategy you need to execute. For example, if your top 3 priorities are having a position in 10 years that pays 6 figures, minimal paperwork and work from home flexibility, it wouldn’t make sense to strive to become a healthcare provider because those roles would likely not meet all those ideals. However, you could have the same passion for impacting society’s physical and/or mental wellbeing but apply it to a different role such as a Community Health Directors/Officer!


It is crucial that you take the time to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can properly strategize your professional development. 

Indeed recommends doing a formal gap analysis to visually lay out your talents and areas for improvement comparatively against the ideal strengths and weaknesses of someone in that role. This can be done through a combination of self-assessment and soliciting honest feedback from current or previous supervisors.

In honing those skills, take advantage of the many free and/or reasonably priced educational opportunities available through SHSMD! Check out our Education Calendar to see upcoming webinars, events and other initiatives for professional development. 


It's imperative that you research the market for the position you are pursuing. There may be a large projected decline in opportunities for that field or the requirements for it may be greatly shifting. MIT Career & Professional Services recommends making a detailed comparison of risk versus reward for prospective positions, looking at barrier to entry and the investment financially, mentally and time-wise that it requires from you versus the probability of you obtaining the position and the likelihood that you will be successful and satisfied in the role.  

Get firsthand accounts of professionals who are in your desired role already! Tap into our network and take advantage of the near 4,000 health care strategy and market development professionals that are a part of SHSMD! Join/Visit the SHSMD community today. View our Career Center.


Lastly, you should consult with a professional career coach or advisor who specializes in your industry to formalize your 10-year plan. You’d be surprised what a 2-hour session could do for the next 10 years of your life! A career advisor can help verify and finalize your plan. They can help you set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound) goals and connect you with valuable opportunities to support your vision! Sign up for professional mentorship at SHSMD.


Berkeley Wellbeing Institute – My 10 Year Plan: How to Create a Good Plan for the Future 

The Economic Times – How to Set a 10-Year Challenge to Achieve Your Career Goals 

Indeed - 5 Steps to Create a Career Development Plan for Yourself 

MIT Career & Professional Services – Make a Career Plan