Healthcare workers are some of the most hard-working and essential workers in the world, as spotlighted by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare and medicine are something needed by virtually everyone, so it’s not likely that the job outlook in this industry will decline. Still, it can be hard to find employment at times— especially when you don’t know the different types of medical facilities that will hire you based on your skills. Here’s a look at some of the most common healthcare professions and where they’re most likely to find employment.
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Nursing is the largest profession in healthcare, with over 15 different specialties within the field. Although there are many types, here are four of the most well-known types of nurses in healthcare.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
CNAs monitor the vital signs of patients, bathe and dress those who cannot on their own, and assist with walking and repositioning. This is one of the most basic levels of nursing, but CNAs can find work in hospitals and long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
LPNs are required to have a certificate or diploma in nursing, as they can perform a few more skills than CNAs. Their main tasks are to collect urine and blood samples, monitor blood pressure, and change bandages. LPNs can also work in hospitals and nursing homes, and they can also find employment in physician offices and home healthcare.
Registered Nurse (RN)
RNs are more skilled nurses who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. They’re able to assess patients, as well as administer medications and treatments and help physicians with diagnostic testing. RNs are usually employed in hospitals, but they can also work in nursing homes, home health care, and ambulatory services.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
NPs are one of the highest-practicing types of nurses— in fact, they can do almost everything a physician can do, depending on the state they’re practicing in. They require a Master’s degree in nursing because they’re able to diagnose and treat certain conditions, assess patients, administer medication, and even prescribe medication in some cases. NPs are most likely to find employment in a physician’s office or a hospital.
Physicians, simply known as doctors, are the most well-known healthcare providers all over the world. MDs have attended and completed medical school and a residency, qualifying them to provide medical care to people of all ages. They can find employment in any type of medical setting, and even in specialty settings, depending on their specialty and/or subspecialty. Here’s a list of some of the most well-known medical specialties and subspecialties:
- Allergy and Immunology
- Emergency medicine
- Family medicine
- Adolescent medicine
- Pediatric medicine
- Internal medicine
- Hematology and Oncology
- Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN)
- Surgery and Anesthesiology
MDs can also practice psychiatry or further specialize in other areas of medicine, such as sports medicine, sleep medicine, neurocritical care, hospice and palliative medicine, pain medicine, geriatric medicine, or critical care medicine. Physicians can also find employment in urgent care centers.
Physician Assistants (PAs)
As the name suggests, PAs assist physicians in their daily duties. Unlike physicians, PAs aren’t usually trained in a specific area of medicine— instead, they receive a broad medical education and are able to switch among specialties more easily than physicians. This opens more employment opportunities for PAs.
Healthcare technicians are skilled individuals who can provide direct care to patients without the supervision of an RN, NP, or MD.
Also known as dental hygienists, they clean patients’ teeth in dentist offices. They can also work in community health centers and schools.
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTS)
EMTs are emergency medical professionals who are qualified to provide healthcare in emergency settings. The typical workplace setting of an EMT is at the scene of an emergency.
Also known as radiologic technologists, x-ray technicians are qualified to perform all types of imaging tests, including CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans, in addition to x-rays. Because of this, they’re employed in a number of medical settings.
These are just some of the most common positions in healthcare, as there are many other types of healthcare professionals. This includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, and interpreters. However, these healthcare professionals tend to work in private practices, while nurses, physicians, and technicians can find employment in many different types of healthcare settings.