In today’s world, the field of healthcare offers an enormous range of worthwhile careers for people who enjoy directly helping others. In America alone, the healthcare sector accounted for 18% of the total gross domestic product in 2020. It is without doubt one of the key industries of every developed nation, and the advances in modern healthcare and medical practices have been instrumental in raising the life expectancies of societies across the globe. Working in the field of healthcare can make for an exceptionally rewarding career. Whether you are on the frontline of healthcare as a nurse, paramedic, or doctor, or if you work at a corporate level in healthcare, you are having a direct and tangible positive effect on the populations you serve. The numerous roles on offer in this sector mean that there is truly a job for everyone at a range of skill levels and required qualifications. In this article, some of the key healthcare roles will be explored in more detail.
In terms of frontline healthcare roles in the pre-hospital field, a key job is that of the paramedic. Paramedics respond to a range of life-threatening and urgent jobs daily. They are highly trained healthcare professionals who use rapid decision-making and clinical knowledge to treat patients in a range of emergencies. As an example, a paramedic may be despatched under blue light emergency conditions to a patient who is experiencing a heart attack. Their rapid arrival on the scene and the administration of cardiac drugs such as a GTN spray and aspirin can be vital first steps in stabilizing the patient. Paramedics will assess the level of pain that the heart attack patient is experiencing and may administer morphine sulphate to reduce this pain. Once the patient is stabilized, they will be swiftly transported to the hospital to ensure that clot-busting drugs are administered. This example indicates how clinical knowledge and rapid decision-making can save the lives of critically ill patients. If you enjoy a career that is fast paced, challenging, and requires clear thinking in stressful situations, then the role of a paramedic may be an ideal career choice.
The role of nursing in healthcare is ever improving and can encompass a wide range of specializations. In a hospital setting, the nursing staff will be expected to assess patients regularly, taking key vital sign measurements and deciding on the best care plans for their needs. A nurse must be an excellent communicator who can both put a patient at ease and understand exactly what is causing the patient to be unwell. The profession of nursing has changed dramatically in the last century. Early pioneers such as Florence Nightingale helped to revolutionize nursing with an emphasis on highly sanitized hospital environments to reduce the threat of hospital-acquired infections and regular detailed observations on patients to ensure that their conditions can be stabilized when required. Today, modern nurses have a wealth of clinical skills and many routes available to them to progress in their careers. If you are considering a career in nursing but have a degree in a non-healthcare-related subject, you may be able to undertake a second degree in nursing which will enable you to get the clinical and theoretical skills to begin professional practice in as little as fifteen months. Once you have suitable nursing experience in a healthcare environment, you can begin to map out what direction you want your career to progress in and what field of nursing to specialize in. In short, the nursing profession can offer a wealth of rewarding roles that have a direct impact on improving the lives of local populations.
As with many healthcare roles, dentistry continues to be in high demand and is a very well-paid profession. A fully qualified dentist can expect to earn approximately $175k a year in America, making it more than three times the average salary of the general workforce. Naturally, dentists need to be highly qualified to enable them to carry out both routine and complex dental procedures. Dentists must train for around eight years before becoming eligible for practice as they need both an undergraduate and doctoral degree. Their comprehensive clinical skills allow them to perform complex dental operations such as root canal surgery and they must be able to use a range of dental technology such as x-ray machines and tooth extraction equipment. In the modern world of healthcare, the dentist can also be at the frontline of preventative medicine. For example, when you go to a dentist for a routine check-up you will likely have a thorough examination of your mouth, gumline and under your tongue. The dentist does this to assess your general oral health but also to spot any signs of mouth cancer. Dentists can therefore be a vital first defence against such potentially life-threatening conditions. If you are prepared to undertake the years of specialist study and training, dentistry can be both a rewarding and highly lucrative career choice in healthcare.
The role of the healthcare assistant requires significantly fewer qualifications than the previously mentioned roles but is one that is vital to the smooth functioning of any hospital or healthcare setting. A healthcare assistant typically requires a vocational qualification in health and social care to begin work. It can be a rewarding profession for people who do not have high levels of academic qualifications, but who want to play an active, patient-centred role in healthcare. Common duties for a healthcare assistant include ensuring that medical supplies are available and replenished when required, undertaking basic patient observations and measurements, and a range of administrative tasks. The work of a healthcare assistant is instrumental in ensuring the smooth day-to-day functioning of any healthcare facility and most hospital managers and leaders know that without an efficient team of healthcare assistants a hospital, nursing home, or GP practice could not function effectively.
Healthcare Data Analyst
All large healthcare organizations require detailed knowledge of how their services are performing and where there are opportunities to improve the services offered. A healthcare data analyst is a role that is not directly patient-facing but can make an enormous impact on the standards of care and levels of service provided to populations. Healthcare data analysts typically take a wide range of patient and performance data (such as patient handover times for ambulance staff, bed utilization levels, and patient experience data) and turn this data into statistics and information for corporate-level leaders and managers. Patient and healthcare data tends to be voluminous and complex, and it is the responsibility of the healthcare data analyst to draw out key patterns and trends from data into reports that can be understood by senior management. This knowledge can be vital in driving clinical improvements and understanding how an organization is functioning with its specific key performance indicators. If you have an eye for detail, are adept at organizing data and spotting trends in it and can communicate key trends from complex data into a clear format, then the role of healthcare data analyst may be an ideal career choice.
Today, it is recognized in healthcare that a balanced diet with excellent quality nutrition is vital to help control weight and live a healthy and active life. It is a fact that we live in a world where obesity is a serious healthcare challenge for significant numbers of the population worldwide. Today, approximately 13% of the world’s adult population is classified as obese and around 39% of adults are overweight. People who are significantly overweight are at increased risk of a range of chronic medical conditions and may be more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increased likelihood of cardiovascular diseases. A nutritionist is highly knowledgeable about dietary and lifestyle choices that can result in improved weight management. Their advice and guidance to patients can allow people to live more fulfilling and happier lives by reducing the risks of illness due to poor diets and lifestyle choices.
Patients who have suffered musculoskeletal injuries from accidents and because undertaking sports typically require the services of a physiotherapist to get them back to full mobility. A physiotherapist will conduct a thorough patient assessment and create a plan of therapeutic exercises that promote recovery from injuries. They need to have a degree in physical therapy before beginning practice but can undertake post-graduate studies in this field if they have a degree that is not specifically related to this form of healthcare. The job provides an important service to local populations and ensures that quality of life can be restored after a range of injuries.
Nursing Home Assistant
It is a fact that we live in a world that has an aging population. Eventually, a considerable proportion of the population will inevitably need to become residents in nursing or care homes as their mobility and general health deteriorate. Nursing home assistants play a vital role in such healthcare settings by ensuring that medications are taken on time and general care needs such as personal hygiene and meals are taken care of. A nursing home assistant can be integral in ensuring that the elderly continue to have enjoyable lives whilst getting the help they need. If you enjoy working with the elderly and have a caring nature, then this role may be ideal.
This article has described a range of key roles in the healthcare sector. It can be seen that there are a wealth of different occupations in this industry that allow people of all backgrounds and levels of qualification to play an active part in improving the health and wellbeing of their communities.