3 Unique Careers in Health Care
By Ashford University Staff
If you are considering potential careers in health care or hoping to transition into the industry, keep in mind that opportunities aren’t always that obvious. Not everyone with a degree in health becomes a nurse or doctor. To explore health care careers, you could search job posts on Monster.com, ask around your personal network, or even watch a hospital drama on TV. The types of careers in health care are constantly evolving with exciting new opportunities. Consider these three different careers in health care and how they might match your personality, skills, and interests.
1. Patient Representative
If you have ever been hospitalized, you are familiar with the anxiety that arises from the medical stress of being a patient. A patient representative’s primary function is to resolve patients’ nonmedical problems while they are hospitalized. A common example is helping a patient understand his or her treatment plan upon being discharged. Hospitals, nursing homes, and health centers employ patient representatives to ensure that patients are satisfied with their experience during a facility stay. Personal characteristics of successful patient representatives include sound judgment, objectivity, empathy, and the ability to work with a diverse group of people under emotionally stressful conditions. For information on this career, please visit the Society of Healthcare Consumer Advocacy.
2. Health Information Technician
The mandate for all health care facilities to maintain accurate patient records, plus our growing elderly population, have greatly increased the need for competent health information technicians. These professionals maintain complete and accurate medical records. The technician is responsible for maintaining a complex set of information, from specific medical information to important administrative details (i.e. insurance or Medicare payments). These professionals work on behalf of doctors and health facility managers, so they often interact with other health administrators, insurance companies, and patients. Professional attributes desired for this field include organization, attention to detail, and solid communication and computer skills. The nature of this work also requires the ability to maintain strict confidentiality for the health care facility and its patients. For more information on this career, please visit the American Health Information Management Association.
3. Director of Volunteer Services
Do you have an eye for talent, enjoy solving big problems, and enjoy working with diverse people? If so, you might want to explore a career as a director of volunteer services at a hospital, large nursing home, or extended care facility. Because health care costs are expensive, many facilities look for volunteers to fill important gaps in staffing. Common examples of understaffed departments include hospital admissions and emergency room reception. The role of the director is to identify understaffed areas throughout a health care institution and then recruit, train, and properly place qualified volunteer staff to meet these diverse needs. Key aspects of this position are community outreach and the ability to identify and recruit a qualified volunteer pool. In addition, a director of volunteer services needs strong communication and organizational skills and attention to detail. This professional should be a good judge of character with the ability to recognize the individual strengths of each volunteer and how they fit into the overall needs of the facility. The best professional association to learn more about this career is the American Health Care Association.
All three of these careers require different skills, experience, and health care degrees. As you can see, there’s a lot of opportunity within the health care industry. I encourage you to seek out and research the many careers available to you and be willing to explore something new and unique.
Written by Greg Lewis
Greg is a Career Services Specialist with Ashford University.