Health care workers have been among the many heroes of the COVID-19 outbreak, but most patients don’t need a pandemic to recognize the importance of health care professionals in their lives. The health-care field comprises a wide variety of careers - from doctors and lab technicians to administrative staff and aides - with educational requirements ranging from advanced medical degrees to just a few weeks of training.
In short, there’s a potential career in health care for just about everybody, and there are available jobs, too.
Health care occupations are expected to add 1.9 million more jobs in the next decade, more than any other occupation group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among the fastest growing occupations in health care is nursing. Many people consider the right job one that provides both a sense of fulfillment and the opportunity to achieve financial security and stability as one's career advances. Given that criteria, the field of nursing makes for an attractive career path.
Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 12 percent during the 10-year period ending in 2028, according to the BLS. That’s more than double the average growth estimate for all occupations. One career path aspiring nurses are sure to encounter is that of a nurse practitioner, an advanced practice registered nurse whose added responsibilities require additional educational requirements, including a master’s or doctoral degree program and advanced clinical training.
Nurse practitioners perform many tasks that doctors perform, such as prescribing medications, examining patients, making diagnoses and even providing treatment. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates suggest the employment of advanced practice registered nurses will increase by 26 percent between 2018 and 2028.
Just as there is a wide variety of occupations within health care, there are also a wide variety of subspecialties in nursing. Among them:
Ambulatory care: These nurses provide treatment to people on an outpatient basis. This is a comprehensive practice that often provides assistance with improving health or helping others seek care for health-related problems.
Emergency care: Trauma or emergency nurses work on the front lines at hospitals or medical centers. The majority are RNs who serve very important functions under high-stress conditions. Life-saving procedures, triage, setting up rooms for medical procedures, and performing intubation are all in a day's work for emergency care nurses.
Forensic care: Forensic nurses apply nursing and the application of health to support law enforcement practices.
Obstetrical care: Nurses who work in this specialty handle patients who are seeking to become pregnant, already are pregnant or have recently delivered (or lost) children. It can be a demanding field, but one that is quite rewarding as well.
Oncology care: Oncology nurses work in the field of cancer prevention and care. Oncology professionals often work under emotionally taxing situations and have to be both professional and compassionate.
Ostomy care: Nurses in this discipline focus on providing wound care, which is one of the oldest disciplines in nursing.
Pediatric care: Nurses who work in pediatric functions are typically employed in private pediatric practices. Nurses check vital signs, administer vaccinations, offer information on child health and development, and work as the right-hand person to the physician on staff.
Surgical care: Surgical nurses, also known as theater nurses or scrub nurses, assist with patient care before, during and after surgeries. Most require extra training to this end, and there are subspecialties to this field.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metro Creative Connection