The importance of the healthcare sector and associated industries and businesses can truly never be exaggerated. Simply put, the purpose of the health care industry is to provide medical assessments, diagnoses, and treatments to increase the physical health and mental well-being of every individual, working towards a happier, healthier community and nationwide population.
If you are considering a career in the professional healthcare sector, or moreover are currently working in a position of administration within the medical network or are simply perhaps interested in a change of career, then you would do no better than to study healthcare at the university level. This, of course, isn’t your only choice, but it can open a lot of doors for you.
A career in healthcare is simultaneously a fantastic way of furthering your knowledge, expertise, and career prospects on a professional level and simultaneously boosting your levels of personal growth, achievement, and fulfillment. With that being said, if you continue to read, you will learn of the numerous and positively life-enhancing benefits of studying healthcare at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition, you will gain knowledge of careers that you can start sooner rather than later.
A Brief Timeline Of Healthcare
Essentially, back in ancient times, healthcare consisted of home remedies that were passed down, generation to generation, by word-of-mouth through families and friends. This was generally centered around the medicinal use of plants and flowers, with early unofficial ‘doctors’ analyzing the properties of a certain plant and, rightly or wrongly, applying these medical treatments to people who were suffering from a multitude of ailments.
As time went on and the human race became steadily more developed and invested in the diagnosis and treatment of different medical problems and conditions, advances in the chemical, technological and biological fields meant that physicians and medical doctors were more capable and subsequently successful in diagnosing and treating patients.
There is an often referred to as the period of healthcare development, known as the ‘Therapeutic Revolution,’ which occurred in the mid-20th century when the effectiveness of medicines and developed treatments, as one would recognize them today, started to dramatically increase.
Healthcare and the physical and mental well-being of the individual have always been at the forefront of the minds of human beings. Now humanity is at a point where the healthcare industry is a billion-dollar sector whereby new developments and medical advancements are occurring at an exponential rate.
Further Education Within The Healthcare Sector
If you have decided, or have indeed already embarked on an undergraduate degree in healthcare, then you are clearly committed to the development of medical science and are simultaneously dedicated and passionate about patient diagnosis, treatment, and care.
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There are many advantages to the pursuit of a career in healthcare, and there is simply no better way to kickstart your career than a medical degree. Benefits of working professionally within the healthcare sector include the job security and simultaneous job satisfaction one acquires from working in medicine. You get a substantially higher salary and bonus package than other professions, an exceedingly high level of personal fulfillment and feelings of job satisfaction, and the variety of different locations and settings you will be able to work in after your degree.
Contrary to popular belief from non-medical professionals, a conventional hospital is by far the only setting that a registered medical professional can work in. Other settings include nursing homes, outpatient buildings, general practices, doctor’s offices, public health institutions, long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and non-profit organizations.
After the successful completion and acquisition of your undergraduate bachelor’s degree in healthcare, you are now more than ready and able to begin your ascension on the career progression path through medicine.
If, however, you are interested in a particular medical specialism, the next logical step would be to complete a postgraduate master’s degree in your chosen specific field of study. There are numerous benefits to postgraduate study, including professional respect, a higher salary, new skills and character attributes, more job opportunities, and a greater level of knowledge and expertise.
In the modern world of work, however, there is a wide range of fulfilling, rewarding, and equally challenging professional and vocational career paths that do not require the acquisition of an undergraduate or even postgraduate degree.
Roles In The Healthcare Industry That Do Not Require A Degree
There is a plethora of important, even crucial, roles within the healthcare industry that certainly do not require the successful acquisition of a degree
A care worker is the most prominent example of such a job role within the healthcare industry that does not require a degree. This role does, however, require a certain set of attributes and qualities to be able to cope with what is sometimes an incredibly high-pressured working environment. The candidate must be able to separate and compartmentalize their personal feelings and professional working ethic, for example.
As in other areas of healthcare, no two days are the same. However, there are naturally more than a few duties and responsibilities that all care workers are in charge of. These include, but are categorically in no way limited to:
- Helping patients with their daily activities, including washing, dressing, and organizing their room and belongings
- Ensuring the comfort and happiness of the patient wherever and whenever possible
- Running errands and completing chores to make the patient’s life easier
- Assisting with the personal care needs of the patient
- Arranging meetings and medical appointments on behalf of the patient
- Meeting with the friends, families, and loved ones of the patient and building a rapport
The role of a paramedic is one of the many career pathways within the healthcare industry that are viewed to be slightly more exciting and action-based than other medical roles. Contrary to popular belief, one does not have to successfully acquire a postgraduate or even an undergraduate degree in healthcare to have a long and rewarding career as an ambulance paramedic.
In a usual occurrence whereby the emergency services have been called to attend, it is highly probable that, as a paramedic, you will be the most senior healthcare professional within the ambulance service in attendance. This applies to both non-emergency and emergency situations.
The Individual Roles of a Paramedic
There are a wide plethora of individual roles pertaining, and fundamentally necessary, to successfully complete a normal day working as a paramedic. These include, but are categorically in no way limited to:
- The fast response to an emergency or non-emergency situation
- The assessment of the patient’s immediate condition
- The decisions of first actions, including potentially life-saving choices for the patient
- The decision of whether to transfer the patient to the nearest hospital
- Key clinical decisions based on their assessment of the patient
- The provision of health-based advice and what the patient should do next
Unlike any other professional working in the field of healthcare, paramedics have access and unlimited usage of the most advanced pieces of equipment and technology, obviously as often, they and they alone are responsible for emergency and front-line saving of lives in emergency situations.
This complicated and expensive technology and equipment is also used by paramedics to manage and assess their patients. Some also even allow the administration of a range of drugs and temporary, life-saving actions that can make the real difference between life and death.
One of the less well-known roles of medical professionals working exclusively in the healthcare sector is the job of the phlebotomist. Phlebotomists are essentially responsible for the drawing and preparation of patients’ blood for donation, blood transfusions, or medical testing. Phlebotomists collect blood through the technique of venipuncture, heel or finger pricks (heel pricks being the primary method for children and babies).
General, day to day roles of a professional phlebotomist include:
- The inventory, gathering and maintaining of supplies and blood drawing instruments
- The preparation for patients who are due to give blood
- The tracking, identifying, and labeling of blood samples
- The verification of the identity of patients who are due to give blood and the proper and efficient categorizing and labeling of the blood collection vials
- The exact following of the directions from supervising medical doctors and physicians
- A thorough explanation of the blood transfusion, donation, or drawing of blood process to patients
- The providing of assistance to patients who have experienced adverse or problematic reactions to any part of the blood transfusion or blood drawing process
- The guidance and compassion to patients who are about to go through the blood drawing process
- The conducting of blood transfusions and blood draws
Contrary to popular belief, a career as a dental nurse does by no means absolutely require the successful acquisition of an undergraduate degree from a nursing college or other academic institution.
There are, however, a wide range of skills, attributes, and personality strengths that are by no means necessary but would certainly help you if you have decided to pursue a career in this particular field. Such skillsets include, but are categorically in no way limited to:
- Excellent communication skills
- Manual dexterity
- Good logic and problem-solving skills
- Compassion and a deep and far-reaching level of empathy
- Excellent attention to detail
- Brilliant organization and planning skills
- The ability and skills to demonstrate leadership
- Overall exceedingly good people skills
A Typical Day Working As A Dental Nurse
The working day of a dental nurse begins with, after the obligatory cup of coffee for themselves, their colleagues, and the dentists in residence, the setting up of the entire surgery ready to receive their patients.
Cleanliness is of absolute and utmost importance, particularly at the moment with all the extra precautions required because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its related restrictions.
All the dental and computer equipment is then switched on, logged into, and entirely set up, and then thoroughly checked and tested to ensure everything is in full working order and ready for the day.
The water lines connected to each dental chair are then thoroughly flushed, cleaned, and then flushed and cleaned a second time with treated and then purified freshwater. All instruments are checked and tested a second time, before being placed in the correct areas of the dentist’s surgery, of course, separated for the nurse’s side and the opposite dentist’s side.
Throughout the setting up of the surgery every morning, dental nurses also continuously ensure that any relevant laboratory work, x-rays, dentures, crowns, and anything else needed for the individual patients who are booked in that day are ready and accessible.
As each patient arrives, the dental nurse is notified of their arrival by the dental reception team and then travels to reception to call each patient forward. When the patient is settled into the dental chair inside the dentist’s room, the dental nurse then ensures they are at ease, content and comfortable, and ready for their check-up or planned dental procedure. The dental nurse is also responsible for ensuring any patient allergies or current medical problems are made aware of to the dentist as well as themselves, and then and only then is the patient ready for their dental examination and/or dental procedure.
There are a plethora of other roles within the healthcare sector that do not necessarily require a degree to successfully compete and excel in. Other examples of such roles include:
- Medical Clerk
- Pharmaceutical Trainee
- Pharmaceutical Technician
- Psychological Well-being Practitioner
- Operating Department Practitioner
However, as valuable and important as these roles are within the healthcare sector, the successful acquisition of an undergraduate and then subsequently a postgraduate degree in the medical sector will elevate this job role to a career and vocational path that will set you up, both professionally and personally, for life.
When choosing to pursue such career paths, you will be able to immerse yourself in the working world far sooner than those people who have decided to go to university before they start work. Even if you decide to embark on a job straight away, remember you will be building up experience of working in healthcare that could benefit you if you later decide to take a degree like nursing.