Squeamish About a Career in Healthcare?

A tabletop with various medical instruments and items laid out.While I have worked in various unrelated fields, much of my time was spent in healthcare.  So, it’s natural for me to ask job seekers if they have ever thought about pursuing a career related to healthcare. When I do ask, people will often give me a funny look and say healthcare is just not for them.  Why? Usually, they say it is because they are squeamish about blood, needles, being around sick people, or other such things often associated with the field. Does this sound like you?

If so, let me assure you there are MANY jobs in healthcare which do not involve blood, needles, and so forth.  Heck, with many positions, you may rarely even see a patient! Given this, why exclude yourself from a career field which is growing and can offer great income potential?  In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs in healthcare will grow 18% from 2016 to 2026.  This is much faster than the average for all occupations and represents about 2.4 million new jobs.  The BLS goes on to say this growth is due to an aging population, leading to a greater demand for healthcare services.

Where’s the Big Bucks?

After reading the BLS data, you might be thinking, “Most of these higher-paying jobs are in direct patient care fields.  I don’t want to work directly with patients!”  You’re right. Most of the best paying jobs are, of course, in direct patient care.  Why?  Because these are high-demand, hard-to-fill positions in the core business of healthcare: treating and caring for patients.  Plus, don’t forget, the work these folks do is often “billable” in some way.

Like it or not, healthcare today very much involves money. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that jobs which directly generate revenue are likely going to pay more than those which do not.  You have your reasons, but if you still decide to exclude yourself from the direct care group, that’s OK.  After all, as healthcare is growing, the need for the support positions will grow as well.  You can still get in on the healthcare employment boom, even without being in direct patient care.

Sure, some of these positions, especially at the entry level, may not pay as well as the clinical jobs.  However, these positions can open the door to a career path in which your income will improve as you advance to higher levels or into management.  You can have a real career, not just a job.

Amount of Patient Contact

Let’s take a look at some jobs from the viewpoint of how much direct patient care is involved.  For example, a nurse obviously has to have close contact with patients.  However, a person who works in the billing department may never even see a patient.  In fact, the billing person may work in an office building miles away from the hospital or medical office.

Every medical office, clinic, hospital, etc. is different, and no one can guarantee you will never see a patient.  For example, a billing person may have to sometimes attend business meetings in the hospital.  In that case, it’s possible to run into a patient in the hallway or on an elevator.  Would that really be so bad?  I suppose if you truly faint at even the sight of a Band-Aid®, then maybe healthcare isn’t right for you.

However, if you have a more realistic and reasonable goal of just minimizing patient contact and mainly avoiding the “blood and guts” stuff, there are still definitely jobs for you! Lots of them.

Types of Non-Clinical Jobs

There are many non-clinical positions in healthcare which can provide excellent employment opportunities.  Do you like working with computers?  Healthcare involves numerous IT systems; everything from small office systems to multi-hospital networks and systems.  Many trades positions (electricians, plumbers, painters, HVAC, carpenters, etc.) are needed to keep a hospital operating properly and safely.

Office-type positions abound as well.  Organizations need talented administrative assistants, accountants, human resources staff, and others. Communications professionals perform public relations and print/online media work.  Risk management is an important legal field and many organizations have their own in-house lawyers. Health information technicians (medical records) are needed to manage the huge number of both physical paper and electronic files. Hospital administrators are often at the top of the pay scale and oversee the operations of entire medical centers.  The list goes on and on.

Take a Look

Before writing off the healthcare field as not for you, at least take a look.  You might be surprised to find there are many opportunities in your area of interest.

Most of all, consider the rewards.  No, not just the pay, but the satisfaction that the work you do really helps people and the community.  For many in the normal workplace, doing their jobs well just means they’ve made more profit for the business owner or stockholders.  In healthcare, even in many non-clinical positions, a job well done means you’ve made a difference.  Someone is better off because of the work you do.

That’s a sense of satisfaction and a great feeling that’s hard to beat!


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Featured image courtesy of Sergio Santos – flickr  and http://nursingschoolsnearme.com

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