Have a dual spec: In current raids, there's a degree of variability on the number of healers used in a fight. Want to be valuable? Pick up a DPS and healing spec. Offer to do both depending on what the raid needs. A fight like Valithria could benefit with 7 healers for raids that are just starting out. On the other hand, Festergut needs a reduction in healers in order to match the DPS requirements. You can get away with about 5 on that encounter. Your second spec doesn't have to be one of a different role either. I myself run holy as one spec and discipline as the other. It's handy in case I need to mass cast Power Word: Shield against Saurfang and then switch it up later to holy for Valithria.
Stay up to date on all the fights: Do your homework. Understand what is super relevant for healers. On a fight like Blood Princes, you know that the fight mechanic involves keeping the kinetic bombs in the air. If there is one directly on top of you and you notice there aren't any DPS around, hit it with a quick spell to keep it suspended until someone can head over and help you out with it. Watch some kill videos and read up on the experiences of others to gain some idea of what your raid is about to go through. Who knows? Maybe you'll see remember something your leaders forgot that happens to be crucial to the fight.
Do as they ask you to do: Don't second guess your assignments. At least, not initially. On a new encounter, its all about understanding the basic mechanics of the fight. Healers can easily be reassigned if some are better at one then the other. If you're better suited at some role than someone else, just hold it for now. If your healing lead has a good track record, there's usually a reason why you're being given the task. Maybe they just trust you with it or they want to put someone else through the paces. On the flip side, they might be acting like a certain dwarf priest who likes to roll dice to see who gets assigned to what.
Stay positive: Let's not be negative now. Yes you've gone through a few wipes. Raiding isn't exactly the easiest thing to do in the world for everyone. Before Burning Crusade, encounters often took weeks or sometimes months to learn and get down. The best you can do is stay upbeat. At the very least, keep your reservations to yourself and just do your best. Saying all is lost and this is nothing more than a waste of time isn't going to help anyone and it doesn't do much other than undermining authority. If you really can't bear the wipes, just message your leads and ask them to excuse you for the night.
Speak up about problems: Your healing lead only has two eyes. As they tend to be healers, they're also intently focused on their job. If you see something that doesn't look right or if someone is standing in a bad spot or just not doing their job, speak up. Do it in your healing channel (if you have one) or just message them. Maybe it's intentional. At the same time, be honest with yourself. If you're having trouble keeping someone alive, there is no shame in asking if anyone else can be spared to help. Not every tank can be healed consistently with just one healer.
Be constructive with feedback: After raids, I like to deconstruct the various boss fights in the guild forums. I try to go over what I liked, and what I think needs to be improved on along with observations. In some cases, I'll name players if they did something that stood out to me.
Don't be difficult: Let's not get into heated discussions or annoy the rest of the raiders. Its best to be loose, relaxed and easy going. Go with the flow and roll with what the raid is doing. If they need a healer to step out in favor of someone else, you don't exactly have to volunteer (unless you do have something else you'd rather be doing like watching hockey). But if they ask you to, bite your tongue and just do it. Remind them that you stepped out if they ask you to repeatedly.
Constantly check your location: This is a big one for me. Watch where you're standing and know roughly how far away your healing target is. In the past, I've lost my healing assignments because I was one step too slow and simply could not keep up with them. Slowly, I started opening up to them and asking where they would go if they had a set route. This way, I knew in advance where they were going and could stay within range. The message here is to always know where you are in relation to your target. Keep in mind anything that could break line of sight of cause them to stray further away. If you're out of range, call it out and if there is a healer close by, then can cover until you're safely within range again.
Avoid getting tunnel visioned: This still happens to me from time to time. I get too focused on one target or whatever it is that I'm doing, and I'm too slow to react to the big gaping void zone that just opened up beneath me. Don't let this happen to you.
Know your loot: Want to speed up the looting process? Have an idea of what is an upgrade for you and what isn't. This way, when your raid has just taken down a boss, you won't have to spend a long time agonizing whether or not this item is good for you or if you want to hold out for a better drop or what have you.
Do what you can to help make life easy for them. Its not exactly a walk in the park to manage and oversee all healing required in a raid. Next week, I'm going to talk about signs of a corrupt or inadequate healing lead and what to do with them.
Want some more advice for working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered with all there is to know! Need raid or guild healing advice? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could see a future post addressing your question. Looking for less healer-centric raiding advice? Take a look at our raiding column Ready Check.