Rewarding Healthcare Careers that Positively Impact Communities

Rewarding Healthcare Careers that Positively Impact Communities

A community is only as strong as its healthcare system. That saying may not have reached “colloquial status,” but it should. Healthcare providers make an enormous impact on the lives of the people they serve. Communities that do not have access to strong services experience worse long-term health outcomes and may even suffer from a shortened life expectancy.

Healthcare workers are always heroes no matter what job they are doing. However, not everyone interested in entering the field fully understands just how diverse it can be. While we’ve seen a million depictions of doctors and nurses in the media, many people have very little exposure to the more obscure healthcare fields.

Below, we take a look at rewarding healthcare careers that positively impact communities.

Administration

Healthcare administrators don’t receive quite the same glory that doctors and nurses do. They aren’t the ones rushing into hospital rooms when a patient’s vitals drop, or saving lives in the emergency room. The work they do is a little quieter and often goes unrecognized.

However, it is also work that gets felt by virtually everyone who walks through the hospital doors. It is administrators who strategize, implement new policies, and make the most out of hospital resources. During COVID-19, administrators played an enormous role in providing high-quality services to communities, even when resources were at their lowest.

Hospital administrators work with healthcare providers to acquire tools to make their jobs easier. They leverage data to inform hospital policies and work to improve community outreach and understanding.

While qualifications can vary, most administrators in leadership positions have a graduate degree in hospital administration.

Specialized Nursing Careers

There are tons of nursing career options that extend beyond being a floor nurse. Many people are turned off from the idea of working twelve-hour night and holiday shifts, as is so often seen in the hospital environment. While that is understandable, it’s also not the only route that healthcare careers can take.

Do you like the idea of working with older people to live more comfortable and fulfilling lives in their home? Consider gerontological nursing. Do you want to work with kids and enjoy a nice life/work balance? Think about working as a school nurse— it’s probably the only healthcare career that will allow you to only work nine months out of the year.

You could work as a diabetes coach, a home health professional, a hospice nurse. Even many hair removal specialists are RNs.

Do You Need a Unique Degree to Specialize in Nursing?

The majority of working nurses will never need to go to graduate school, even if they want to work in a specialty field. In most cases, you can satisfy any additional licensing requirements through special training sessions once you have received your degree and passed the NCLEX.

Typically, you can even apply for a job with specialized licensing requirements before you have even acquired the requisite training that accompanies the position. Most employers will be able to include it in their onboarding process.

Some jobs require graduate degrees. One of the most common reasons that nurses go on to get their master’s degree is because they wish to work as a nurse practitioner.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners work almost in the same capacity as a general practitioner. They can see patients, perform diagnoses, and even prescribe medications— provided that state law allows them to do so.

They are also able to specialize to focus on very narrow aspects of healthcare. For example, if you are passionate about connecting people with mental health services you may decide to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

If you love the idea of working with babies, you might become a neonatal nurse practitioner.

In all cases, getting a graduate degree serves as an excellent opportunity to focus on an aspect of healthcare that you feel the most passionate about.

Achieving Healthcare Justice

You don’t have to work directly with patients to make a big difference in the healthcare system. The modern era has produced a significant and impactful priority on establishing healthcare justice. Historically, minority patients have experienced much worse healthcare outcomes than their majority group counterparts.

There are many reasons behind this, which include:

  • Access to preventative care: Minority patients are often only in a position to receive care in emergency situations. This is a big problem because much of healthcare is preventative. It is through regular wellness visits that patients are able to detect issues early and prevent conditions from escalating.
  • Insurance issues: While the Affordable Care Act has made health insurance more accessible, many people still do not have access to it— or they do have it but still cannot afford routine care.
  • Communication challenges: Many minority patients also find it difficult to effectively communicate with majority group caregivers. Sometimes, these problems are very literal—for example, a language barrier. In other cases, the problems may be cultural.

There are many ways to work toward improved healthcare justice both in and out of the system. Many hospitals now implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion boards. These groups meet regularly to modify hospital policies, implement new training modules, and enhance recruiting efforts to attract people from a wider range of backgrounds.

Contact your local healthcare system to find out how you can participate in their efforts for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Conclusion

There are loads of ways to be a healthcare hero. So many, in fact, that it helps to have a specific priority in mind when you are considering your future in healthcare. What are you passionate about? Understanding this can help shape your educational and training decisions.

It is also important to understand that one healthcare-related degree can produce many different career outcomes. Someone who graduates as a nurse today may spend several years working in a hospital, only to pivot into cosmetic health, then back into floor nursing.

There are almost endless ways to serve your community through healthcare. Find your passion and follow it to become a healthcare hero.

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