Healthcare is one of the hottest career fields in America today. The aging and retiring of the largest population segment in the country, known as “baby boomers”, has left the healthcare industry racing to find enough employees to fill the void. Advances in medical technology and treatment are causing people to live longer as well. Add the fact many universities and colleges don’t have enough teachers to train new employees; there becomes a ripe market for healthcare careers.
You would be amazed how many types of healthcare careers there are available. This article will discuss three main categories; patient care, non-patient care and operations. We’ll also discuss an amazing new trend with tremendous opportunity – home health.
Three main healthcare jobs in the category of patient care are nursing, medical assisting and dental hygiene.
Nursing consists mainly of direct patient care, but this can take place in a hospital, private doctor’s office, or an institution like a school, ski resort or cruise ship. With additional education or experience, some nurses become nurse managers, shift supervisors, epidemiologists, or counsel to insurance companies and law offices.
Medical assistants primarily provide patient care; performing routine medical functions to free up the time of the doctor. In the past, some of these medical services could only be provided by doctors. Medical assistants administer medication, take vital signs and update medical history.
Dental hygienists perform a similar function to medical assistants, only in a dentist’s office. A hygienist will clean teeth, advise patients on proper dental health and assist dentists with more complex procedures. The outlook for this profession is excellent, with demand far outpacing supply.
Many non-patient care positions also exist in the healthcare field.
Medical coding is one such profession. Medical coders must know terminology and how to read a patient’s chart. They update medical records every time a patient receives healthcare. Some upward mobility is available in management. Many people secure a job as a coder as a way to subsidize further medical education.
Medical office administration is another healthcare position that doesn’t involve patient care. These positions answer phones, coordinate with hospitals and check in/out patients. Moves to office management or medical coding/billing are advancement opportunities. Some people also use this position to further their education.
Healthcare institutions are a large employer of operational positions as well.
Information technology professionals are in strong demand since hospitals utilize state of the art databases to store patient’s medical and billing records. Database administrators and web programmers are a vital part of a hospital’s daily operations.
Medical billing and administration is another key component of healthcare operations. Medical facilities hire for billing positions, collections and administrative support. Special courses / experience are required in medical terminology and billing to obtain these types of jobs.
A rapidly growing sector of healthcare where all of these positions are required is that of home health. In the next six years, Medicare funding of home healthcare is expected to double. Over 7.6 million patients are being treated at home for both long term and short term care. Home healthcare is considered by the medical field and health insurers to be the most cost effective, humane and compassionate method of care.
The shortage of experienced healthcare workers in the United States is creating a boom for people who want to enter this field. There are many career options including positions that involve patient care and those that don’t. The current shortage of employees has created excellent starting salaries, generous benefits and signing bonuses.
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Max Stein, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Max Stein is a freelance writer who writes about business, education and marketing.
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