Healthcare can be a very good industry to work in. It has many positives from an employment perspective, because after all it is needed everywhere, and health itself is such a broad topic that there is a need for people in all kinds of roles and specialisms. It can also be a good industry to work in from a personal job satisfaction perspective, because whatever role you are filling, it is helping people, whether as individuals or the public in general.
Of course, the jobs we normally associate with healthcare are the ones that actually provide care to patients, such as doctors, nurses and surgeons, and these jobs are not for everyone. It may be that you are squeamish, you don’t think you have a good bedside manner, or you don’t like the idea of working antisocial hours or in a high-pressure environment. Perhaps you are put off by the very long and expensive study path to becoming a doctor or surgeon, or you feel that nursing is underpaid for what you want from a career.
Whatever your reasons for not being interested in a medical career, there are still all kinds of rewarding and interesting job paths in the health sector, and you should be able to find one that suits your interests, whether you want to be on the scientific end or the public facing end of healthcare provision.
Here are just some examples of jobs in healthcare that could be right for you:
Epidemiology and Disease Control
Epidemiology is the study of how health problems spread, from how a small outbreak of a virus can become an epidemic, to how people in certain environments may have epidemic levels of non-contagious conditions like breathing problems or diabetes. People who have studied this can work in a lot of different capacities that can be hugely important to public health, for example in setting local or national policies.
In some cases, for instance with dangerous viruses, the role here is to ensure policies allow for vaccination where possible, and that the diseases are not enabled to spread using things like quarantine protocols. In other cases, epidemiology can be used to look at things that will improve public health and reduce instances of conditions overall, for instance looking at strategies to reduce levels of obesity or smoking related illnesses.
Epidemiology and disease control roles are not generally patient facing and will be more on the academic or administrative side of medicine. This can be a great career path for someone who is interested in analysis and statistics and wants to make a difference but doesn’t like the idea of treating patients.
Healthcare IT and Information Management
Healthcare is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, and while a lot of the benefits of technology have been in terms of better treatment, the ability to manage patient records and analyze data from them should not be underestimated in terms of its huge importance in the health world.
There is a huge array of roles in hospital IT, from working on systems within large healthcare facilities like hospitals to developing new software and technology for healthcare use.
Another interesting field within health IT is information management, which relates to how the huge amounts of data the healthcare industry generates is kept secure, managed and used. Some schools, such as Kaplan University offer fully online courses in health IT. These types of options make it easy for perspective students to earn their degree while working another job.
With IT work in health, you can end up working in all kinds of different places from onsite at hospitals or research facilities to more typical software company offices. You therefore have a lot of choice about whether you want to be in the busy, unpredictable setting of a hospital working different hours, or if you like the idea of an office job. Either way, what you do will make a big difference to enabling medical staff to do their jobs better and helping healthcare IT move forward and offer even more benefits.
If you do like the idea of working in a scientific capacity but aren’t sure you would like to treat patients, then there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to work in medical labs. This would involve doing things like analyzing samples from patients. This can be very interesting work, and of course does lead to doctors being able to successfully diagnose and treat patients, so it is a vital part of helping people who suffer from different illnesses and conditions. Labs can be on or off site at medical facilities and research centers, and there can also be roles for people who specialize in lab analysis in pharmaceutical research.
Healthcare administration is hugely important in all kinds of facilities, and the level at which you can work is really only limited by the size of the facility you work at. In a small doctor’s office or a dental clinic, for instance, people are needed to manage appointments and records, deal with payments, insurance and finance, and work on reception. In a hospital, senior administration roles cover all kinds of things, such as human resources and shift scheduling, management of spaces, and of course financial and legal aspects of running a major facility. Healthcare administration doesn’t usually require medical knowledge or capabilities, but can need a very high level of management skills and organizational abilities – it is perhaps one of the toughest fields for admin workers, and, unlike other roles in admin which tend to be business hours focused, it can require you to work unusual shifts (if you are in a hospital or other 24 hour facility) but also one of the most rewarding.
For those who are interested in a legal career, healthcare also has plenty to offer. As it is one of the most highly regulated industries there is, and legal compliance can be literally a matter of life and death for patients, experts in medical law are vital as people that hospitals and doctors can go to for advice on policies and compliance, and to represent both patients and healthcare facilities in medical lawsuits. There are all kinds of branches of medical and healthcare law, but this can be a highly in demand field for lawyers to choose.
These are just a few of the examples of the types of jobs that support the healthcare industry. They all have a part to play in helping deliver healthcare to the highest possible standards, and there is something even just in these few examples to suit most people’s interests. Whether you like the idea of speaking to patients every day as a clinic receptionist or would rather be working in a lab with fellow scientists performing biological analyses, and whether you are interested in technology, law or leadership, you can certainly find a job path that would appeal to you somewhere in the health sector. There are specific college courses for all of these career paths, so whatever sounds interesting to you, it is well worth looking into how you might qualify and get started on a rich and fulfilling career in healthcare support!