Careers in the Medical & Healthcare Field: Find Your Path

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If the current situation has taught us anything, it’s that medical professionals are incredibly undervalued in our society. While the demand for healthcare jobs was always going to increase, the pandemic caused it to skyrocket. For anyone uncertain about their future employment prospects, the expected 15% increase in healthcare occupations (and that was before the pandemic hit) shows there will always be a need for good medical workers.

Of course, there are many other factors one should consider when choosing a career in the medical field. Personal inclinations, grades, financial situations, how much time is it going to take before you can actually start working… these are all important questions you should answer before picking a specific occupation.

So, let’s narrow things down a bit and see what your options are.

Narrowing it down

One thing to keep in mind is that healthcare is a broad industry, encompassing a huge variety of potential occupations and careers. Not all benefits and requirements are applicable to every position. 

First, you need to assess your interests and academic accomplishments. From LPNs and medical assistants to EMTs, general practitioners, and surgeons, all positions require a lot of dedication. You need to be sure you can do the work it takes to get there and that you can handle the workload and the stress that goes with the more demanding (but also better paid and more prestigious) positions.

Next, do some research and check which career in the medical and healthcare field suits you best. Let us help you with that.

Nutritionist/Dietitian

Let’s start with a relatively low-stress job. Nutritionists are usually well paid and don’t have to deal with pressure cooker environments usually associated with the more well-known medical careers. That’s not to say the job is easy, as it does require a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, internship experience, and a specific license. Also, most nutritionists earn a master’s degree in order to both increase their working knowledge and improve their service.

Nutritionists are experts in understanding how the food we eat interacts with our bodies. As a nutritionist, you will assess patients’ current health, their dietary needs, and then counsel them on how they can correct their current health problems through diet. Basically, you’ll develop meal plans and monitor patients’ progress and give them advice on how to live healthier and better lives, while keeping in mind their lifestyles and goals.

Licensed practical nurse

This is a very rewarding career that requires medical, interpersonal, and administrative skills. As it’s often a stepping stone for becoming a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner, it often doesn’t get enough spotlight. Let’s correct that, shall we?

The job doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. For people who want to enter the medical industry quickly, are natural caregivers, and have excellent communication skills, this might be the right choice. It’s enough to complete a formal training program and get the license. 

LPNs often work under the supervision of RNs and doctors. They take vital signs, administer medication, insert catheters, take samples, and report the patients’ status to their supervisors. The job often requires supervising junior LPNs and nursing assistants, and they’re often employed in long-term-care capacity. A large percentage of LPNs are employed in Nursing homes and residential care facilities, so developing long-term rapport with patients, residents, and coworkers is strongly encouraged.

Emergency technician/paramedic

EMTs and paramedics are at the forefront of any emergency or disaster that requires medical intervention. While this can be considered an entry-level job – requiring one to three years of education and training – it’s also one of the most physically and emotionally challenging ones out there. It requires a broad base of medical skills, the ability to stay cool under pressure, and quick thinking and reaction time. 

EMTs provide basic medical care in the field, including administering CPR, stopping external bleeding, and applying neck braces. The paramedic is a more “advanced” career, in this case, requiring much more training as well as more advanced certification. They need to be able to perform basic airway management, resuscitate a patient in an emergency, and keep them alive on their way to the hospital.

Surgeon

This is probably the broadest of all occupations covered in this article as there’s a seemingly endless variety of specializations one can choose. There are general surgeons who can cover basic surgical procedures, more specialized varieties like orthopedic, cardiovascular, or neurological surgeons… and then there are sub-specializations that would take too long to cover.

Becoming a surgeon is a long and difficult road. It takes at least seven years of secondary education, followed by residency and then specialty work. The job is stressful and demanding – you can say goodbye to having a set schedule – but also incredibly rewarding, both financially and professionally. The job requires a high degree of expertise, a large base of knowledge (that needs to be constantly improved), and a lot of willpower.

During a regular day, surgeons spend a lot of time preparing for surgeries, researching procedures, discussing them with their patients, and consulting with other medical professionals. Actually operating on patients may take comparatively little time, but it’s the most important part of the job. During operations, surgeons repair bone and tissue damage, replace organs, remove tumors, and perform other preventive or elective surgical procedures.

Wrapping up

The medical industry encompasses a large number of fields, occupations, and specializations. It’s also growing at an incredible pace, ensuring job opportunities and job security for the years to come. As long as you pick something that aligns with your interests and matches your capabilities, there’s nothing to worry about.

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