Healthcare is a sector that many people feel they would like to work in. There are many reasons for this, ranging from being able to make a difference in people’s lives to having a stable career that pays a good salary, to simply being interested in how the human body works and wanting to work in a profession that allows for more insight and study.
Whatever your reason if you want to work in healthcare, you’re making a good choice. There are certainly many benefits to picking this particular sector. However, just saying you want to work in healthcare is such a broad statement that it won’t actually help you when it comes to applying for your degree or even any work once you have obtained it. There are many different paths you can do down when it comes to healthcare; this is another reason it’s a great choice for most people (there is sure to be something that everyone can do in some form within the sector), but it’s also why it needs a lot of thinking about.
Unless you know which branch of healthcare you want to work in, putting in the study and finding work will be much harder than it needs to be. Read on for some more information about just some of the many healthcare professions there are. This might give you some help when it comes to picking the direction you want to go in.
When you think about healthcare, one profession is likely to come to mind before anything else, and that’s the profession of a doctor. When you qualify as a doctor, you will be able to work directly with your patients, giving them excellent healthcare, advice, and information about their symptoms. As a result, you will be saving lives in some cases.
A doctor’s career life will be a stressful one, and there is no way to hide from this fact. Although hugely rewarding when you think of all the good you can do with your vast medical knowledge, you will be under a lot of pressure, and you’ll be in some life or death situations. Mistakes could be costly. All of this means that, even if you are keen to help people as much as possible, sometimes becoming a doctor is not the right way to do it. However, if you are good at working well under pressure and want to treat patients in the most hands-on way possible, studying to become a doctor could be ideal.
Of course, the term ‘doctor’ is as broad as the term ‘healthcare.’ It is possible to become a general doctor, but you can also specialize in many different areas, from specific diseases such as cancer to certain areas of the body such as the brain or heart. You can even choose to work with particular types of people, such as pregnant women, children, or the elderly.
Before you make the final decision that you want to be a doctor, think carefully about which branch of medicine is going to be the best one for you. For example, some prefer the idea of a general practice, whereas others like a busy ER or would like the chance to perform surgery.
Nurses are hugely important people in any healthcare setting and can often have more face-to-face contact with patients than doctors, so if your main reason for entering this sector is to be able to be with people, then nursing might be the top choice for you.
Without nurses, it would be hard for any healthcare business or clinic to run smoothly. Nurses are often considered the backbone of any hospital as they take care of patients’ physical needs, but they follow doctors’ instructions and ensure that the emotional and mental health of everyone they are in charge of is looked after.
As with doctors, if you want to be a nurse, you’ll have a lot of choices in front of you. RNs are more generalized nurses, but you can choose to specialize, exactly as doctors can. In fact, in any area in which doctors work, nurses are going to be needed. You might also be interested in finding out more about different kinds of nursing, such as discovering what nurse practitioners do, as these other avenues might be more appealing (to become a nurse practitioner, you need to first qualify as a nurse and then study further to advance your career to a higher level). There is a lot of career progression possible in nursing, which is another reason why so many people like the idea of it.
As we’ve said, there are ways to specialize when it comes to healthcare careers, and if your interest is in oral hygiene, becoming a dentist might be an option. Although doctors and nurses are likely to be the first jobs you think of when it comes to healthcare, a dentist is just as crucial – poor dental hygiene can lead to many other problems and make people miserable.
Dentists make a good salary, and their work is varied, plus they can see the results of what they do immediately, whether it’s cleaning teeth, replacing broken ones, or removing those that are causing trouble.
Not everyone who wants to work in healthcare wants to be either a doctor or a nurse, and that shouldn’t hold you back; as we’ve said, there are dozens of different healthcare jobs that don’t require you to be either of these things. One example is occupational therapists.
Occupational therapists help people who have had surgery to recover in the best way they can and get back to their old lives as soon as possible. You will be ensuring that these patients are mobile and independent, allowing them to get back to normal, something they will certainly be keen to do. Not being independent or being able to do the things they used to do can cause depression in some people, so an occupational therapist is performing a particularly important job all around.
One of the things that those interested in a career in occupational therapy like most is that every day is different, and you’ll meet lots of different people in your job. So, if you are interested in learning about people’s histories, hearing stories, and ensuring that they can get on with their lives and truly make a tangible difference, then becoming an occupational therapist is worth considering.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it should never be the case that a patient has to choose either one or the other if they have multiple issues. The more counselors there are, the easier this will be – they won’t have to wait to get the help they need, which can be hugely important.
Many different roles involve helping patients with their mental health, and being a counselor is just one of them, but it’s one that many people find suits them well and gives them the most flexibility in their work and the most satisfaction.
That’s not to say that being a counselor is not challenging; it certainly is. The bulk of your work will be about listening to patients describe their problems and how they affect their mental health, and you need to understand how trauma can affect people in different ways. It can be hard to see people who are upset and clearly anxious or depressed, but it will be your job to hear them out and ensure that you help them as much as possible; you must be able to handle your own emotions while still being compassionate and empathetic.
If you can do this – and it does take a special kind of person to be able to, so counseling is not necessarily for everyone – then you’ll find yourself with a massively rewarding job in healthcare. You really can assist someone with rebuilding their lives by being their support and guiding them through the most tough times. By teaching your patients coping mechanisms, you can be sure that they will be happy and productive, but because everyone is different, this can take many years for some.
Counseling changes lives for the better, and you can be a part of that chance if you pick this healthcare avenue.
Healthcare is an excellent career to get into, but some people might be put off because they don’t want a patient-facing role and yet still want to help. In addition, being face to face with the public is not something that appeals to everyone, and some might actively seek out professions that don’t have this as part of it.
You might think that if that sounds like you, healthcare wouldn’t be possible. However, that’s not the case; you can still work in healthcare and not have to see any patients at all if that’s your preference. You can get into healthcare management.
Healthcare management is a critical part of the healthcare sector, and you can think of these jobs as being ‘behind the scenes rather than out on stage being seen. The role of a healthcare management specialist would be to deal with PR, budgeting, recruitment, administration, and any other element that goes towards managing a particular healthcare clinic, hospital, or another establishment. For those interested in business and are extremely organized and want a job in healthcare, healthcare management ticks all the boxes.
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