"Get paid to offer your opinion! Earn up to $300 per survey. New $20 joining bonus. MDForLives is seeking health care providers to complete paid medical surveys."

Job Promotions And Career Advancements In Healthcare: Pros & Cons

Published by

The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing fields, and it’s no surprise that many people are choosing to go into this field. With so much opportunity for advancement, who wouldn’t want a career in healthcare? But what exactly does it mean to advance your career in healthcare?

Healthcare professionals often find themselves wondering what steps to take to advance their careers and get promotions. Let’s look at the different types of job promotions and career advancements in healthcare and how you may reach your goals.

Table of Contents:

Types of Promotions

Job promotion intends the ascension of a healthcare professional to higher ranks. It involves increments in salary, position, benefits, responsibilities, and status. Promotions are given based on performance, experience, seniority, length of service, etc.

The healthcare industry is filled with many opportunities for career advancement. There are different types of promotions you can take based on your qualifications and experience in the field.

Vertical Promotion

A vertical promotion refers to the upward movement of healthcare professionals with a change in skills and experience. It involves a change in salary, responsibility, benefits, status, etc. For example, nurses get promoted to managerial positions, such as charge nurse, head nurse, supervisor, and senior nurse manager. It depends on the organizational needs and professional competencies.

A vertical promotion means you will only be taking on more responsibilities at the same level (moving up). These promotions come with a few salary or compensation packages changes, so healthcare professionals need to consider what they want before choosing this option.


  • Subject matter expertise continues to deepen and grow over time
  • Gain experience in the same field
  • Clearer job options to progress within the same field
  • Familiarity and comfortableness with the roles, people within the group, and organization
  • Increased paychecks moving up the ladder


  • Functioning with a limited perspective
  • Similar responsibilities
  • Cannot learn new things, routine tasks year after year
  • Limited career advancement opportunities, especially in smaller companies
  • The job ladder concept is moving over to the lattice approach

Horizontal Promotion

Horizontal promotion means moving laterally in the same category or designation with increased remuneration, responsibilities, and benefits. Horizontal career advancements allow healthcare professionals to explore new opportunities and gain a deeper experience in the core job functions.

For example, medical assistants can expand their roles, such as monitoring the flow of patients, taking on advanced tasks with medical records, and completing more complex follow-ups via telephone or telemedicine. It would give a better insight into which career path they would like to advance.


  • No ceiling; depends mainly on professional goals and aspirations
  • Explore new opportunities and upgrade skills
  • Constant self-education
  • Transfer of knowledge and experience
  • More freedom of action
  • Assumes a smaller area of responsibility


  • Growth in authority, but not receive promotion
  • Limited career achievements
  • Remuneration might be the same or even smaller
  • Take time to adjust to a new environment
  • The new job may not be fulfilling

Diagonal Promotion

Diagonal promotion is moving along the vertical and horizontal lattice simultaneously. It allows healthcare professionals to explore and advance in their careers by moving across the organization. Taking various roles, new responsibilities, or tasks outside of what was expected can offer competency development.

For example, some experienced surgeons also take up administrative roles at hospitals, providing day-to-day leadership and management. Some surgeons also take up teaching to train new surgeons and become department heads.


  • Help medical professionals find more joy than being stuck doing similar things daily or feeling like there are no opportunities within the same profession because there is no room for advancement.
  • It opens the door to discovering new areas of interest that may not be related to healthcare or medicine but still aligns with what they are already passionate about and know how to do well.
  • Help medical professionals find more meaning in their work because it offers a chance at taking on meaningful projects and tasks that might otherwise seem outside of someone’s skill set or area of expertise.


  • There could be some negatives attached if a person wants to return to the same profession as before. It could include an inability to get hired by certain hospitals and clinics due to a lack of experience or credentials in the particular area.
  • It can raise questions about how well someone can focus on their work, given that diagonal career growth often means taking on more than one task at a time, which could lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and overworked instead of finding joy in what they do day after day.
  • Requires additional training to become qualified

Career Advancements

In the past decade, the career path has changed from a traditional ladder to a career lattice where career advancement can be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. It allows a kind of flexibility where healthcare professionals could consider a cross-departmental move without financial perks.

The career lattice also allows medical professionals to explore and develop their careers by moving across their organization and developing competency by taking part in various roles. Because of the lateral movement within the organization, there can be a long-term effect of breaking down boundaries between teams. Cross-departmental collaboration may also occur naturally if the professionals have served in multiple teams.

Flexibility in career development increases employee satisfaction and benefits the organization by fostering knowledge transfer. When professionals switch teams or collaborate with other teams, they can bring fresh perspectives and drive the organization forward.

Horizontal Promotion vs. Vertical Promotion vs. Diagonal Promotion

Anyone who starts working will automatically think about career growth and development inside an organization, which involves improving skills, gaining knowledge and experience.

The question is whether to advance horizontally, vertically, or diagonally?

In a horizontal career growth, you will gain knowledge about new things, challenge yourself professionally, and use your current skill sets. Transfers to other departments will get you to meet new people, work with them and get an opportunity to learn interesting things, experience distinct thought processes and problem-solving skills. It can also improve productivity and efficiency.

In a vertical career growth, you will gain experience and focus on climbing the ladder in your respective department. You will get promoted with different job titles, higher financial benefits, and status but with similar responsibilities.

Diagonal career growth involves taking what one knows about their field and applying it to another specialty outside of their current expertise. For example, someone who has been working as an ER physician may decide they want to work with geriatrics on the other side of town. This type of career change would require some additional training for them to become qualified.

Going up the ladder or moving sideways or diagonally entirely depends on the current situation. As a medical professional, you must explore the options available at your current organization since you will have to decide which direction will be best for you.

All three career growth tactics are equally important but have their pros and cons. Keep in mind, you and only you are responsible for your career growth. Hence, carefully analyzing these will help you decide your career growth movement towards vertical, horizontal, or both to get the best of both.

Promotions/Advancements Without A Pay Raise

Career advancements and promotions do not necessarily need to be accompanied by a pay raise. It has become a trend where employees are offered better titles without increasing remunerations. Despite the oddity, many employees willingly accept a higher job position without a pay raise.

Sometimes, promotion or advancement may come without a salary raise but may provide other forms of compensation and help you attain your career goals. A promotion comes with better titles and additional responsibilities. You may get to work in different departments with other professionals and projects. With additional responsibilities, you can develop your skills and experience and potentially have more visibility in your organization and career growth.

Accepting title-only promotion can be advantageous for building your career if you have just started working. Taking additional responsibilities may portray you as enthusiastic, committed, aggressive, and passionate.

Sometimes, a no-raise promotion can also come with an increase in workload, leading to burnout. Before accepting a promotion:

  • Analyze the pros and cons of the role offered.
  • Discuss the requirements that accompany it.
  • Determine if the role allows for a pay review later.


An organization motivates its employees by providing a variety of incentives. Well-performing employees expect to be rewarded with extra incentives such as promotion or advancement. A promotion typically involves higher pay, higher-level job responsibilities, status, and benefits.

Most people focus on vertical career growth due to the bump in pay and higher status. It involves similar responsibilities, the same department, and narrowly focused tasks. You build a long-term relationship with your colleagues.

A horizontal career path increases job opportunities and leads to self-development. You take on new responsibilities, engage with new people, grow your knowledge and skills, and expand your network.

Vertical or horizontal career growth has its pros and cons. Analyze each career path, the significance of both, and proceed towards the path that fits you. You may combine both to achieve maximum benefits financially as well as to develop yourself.

Subscribe To Personalized Notifications

You are subscribing to jobs matching your current search criteria.

Email Notifications

Email notifications will be sent to you Subscribe


Custom RSS Feed

Your personalized RSS Feed is below, copy the address to your RSS reader.