Since its inception, the healthcare industry has consistently ranked among the industries with the fastest job growth in our society. Many people want to work in the healthcare industry because of the variety of opportunities it provides, as well as the job security and other benefits, which can help them improve their quality of life and advance their careers. However, there are times when these individuals are unsure of how to go about pursuing a career as a healthcare worker or are unsure of which position within the industry would be the best fit for them.
If this describes you, then keep reading because we'll go through what it's like to work in healthcare, what qualifications you'll probably need to get the job, and the benefits and drawbacks of the field.
1- Definition of being a healthcare worker
Anyone who works in a healthcare or social care environment qualifies as a healthcare worker, including frontline healthcare professionals, healthcare students on clinical placements, and other healthcare professionals who are not in close proximity to patients.
This includes, but is not limited to, public and private organizations that offer services in the following fields: disability, geriatrics, nursing homes, acute and non-acute hospitals, community hospitals, mental health, social inclusion, palliative care, chronic illness, primary care (GPs, dental, pharmacies, physiotherapy clinics), health and well-being, hospice, rehabilitation, home care, paramedics, and community services.
a- Definition of WHO - "Healthcare Workers": Who Are They?
Health workers are those whose responsibility it is to safeguard and enhance the health of their communities, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The global health workforce is made up of all of these different types of healthcare professionals. In general, it may be claimed that healthcare workers are vital to our healthcare systems because they are compensated to look after other people's health.
If social workers are considered healthcare workers, which is one of the most frequently asked questions when attempting to define who is and is not a healthcare worker, then the response is that it depends.
In addition to focusing on health, social workers also work with individuals and families to enhance their overall wellbeing. They typically work for the government or for educational institutions, social service groups, and other nonprofits where they promote more general social causes including social justice and human rights in situations like domestic violence, unemployment, etc. Unless they hold positions as healthcare social workers in clinics for mental health, community health centers, or hospitals, people in this occupation are not considered healthcare workers.
There are additional employees in the healthcare system who are frequently referred to as healthcare professionals, but as they do not offer healthcare services, they are not included in this category. For example, persons who maintain medical facilities and equipment, run hospitals, or distribute pharmaceuticals fall under this category.
It should be noted that there is a severe lack of medical professionals all over the world right now, particularly nurses and personal support workers, who are needed to address medical needs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue is also present in all nations and has gotten worse. Turkey has been one of the luckiest countries with its high quality nurses, doctors and healthcare workers.
A Successful Healthcare Worker Must Have These Skills
Technical or "hard skills" and social or "soft skills" are two distinct skill sets that healthcare employees need in order to fulfill their tasks. Learning the first set—such as how to take vital signs and give medication—occurs through education and gets better with practice. Communication, problem-solving, and cooperation abilities are among the later talents that enable them to deal with patients and coworkers more effectively.
Soft skills are the ones that people can start developing even before becoming a healthcare worker, and they are the ones that will help them get hired more easily these days because recruiters consider them essential for a candidate to succeed. For these reasons, we've chosen to focus on soft skills in this section.
Soft skills are essential in today's healthcare environment because patients are seeking more than simply medical care—they are seeking an entire experience that makes them feel appreciated, listened, valued, and emotionally cared for. Because of this, healthcare professionals need soft skills to carry out their duties in a way that pleases patients and their families.
2- Top Healthcare Worker Skills
Skills in Communication
Healthcare professionals need to be able to communicate effectively with others on a regular basis since they must interact with patients, their families, and coworkers. One may argue that when staff can communicate positively and clearly, patients are more likely to comply with advice from doctors and make lifestyle changes, which ultimately helps patients.
As they rarely work alone, healthcare professionals must be strong team players. In actuality, a lot of healthcare facilities use an interdisciplinary strategy to treat patients, assembling groups of healthcare professionals with various expertise to handle a single patient list. Teamwork abilities are a requirement for everyone interested in a job as a healthcare worker because these personnel would be acting against the best interests of their patients if they couldn't work together.
One of the cornerstones to providing quality medical treatment is having compassion for patients. Healthcare professionals are better equipped to develop answers and provide more compassionate and comprehensive care when they are able to empathize with patients who are going through challenging circumstances, regardless of how they came to be in those situations.
Healthcare professionals experience more stress at work than any other group of workers, particularly in light of the pandemic they have been battling for more than three year. Healthcare professionals are therefore at a significant risk of burnout if they don't learn effective stress management techniques. Therefore, it is crucial that healthcare professionals learn how to handle pressure from their own families, coworkers, superiors, patients and their families, as well as from these groups.
The majority of healthcare workers don't adhere to standard 9-to-5 office hours, making their professions stressful and unpredictable. Therefore, in order to succeed in this industry, healthcare professionals must learn how to be flexible. That is the only way they will be able to deal with circumstances like having to work extra shifts, staying late with a patient who needs them, or fitting in personal activities around a strange work schedule.
3- Pros And Cons Of Working In Healthcare
A career as a healthcare worker has numerous benefits but also some drawbacks.
Being exposed to chemical and physical risks, infectious diseases (bacteria and viruses), and a lot of stress on the job are all disadvantages of working in the healthcare industry. Some healthcare professionals, particularly nurses, have chosen to leave their positions and change careers in recent years due to ongoing exposure to these risks.
Although hospitals and other healthcare organizations are well known for working tirelessly to minimize or reduce healthcare employees' exposure to occupational risks, the likelihood that a healthcare worker would experience a work-related injury or sickness is really rather high.
Let's now talk about some of the cons.
Continuity of employment and income
Healthcare is the only industry that never shuts down. Since hospitals and healthcare facilities are open 24/7, healthcare employees should anticipate working 40 hours per week plus overtime. Healthcare workers benefit from a sense of job security and consistent income that is unheard of in other industries like manufacturing or retail. Additionally, healthcare professionals have the chance to advance more quickly than their counterparts in other professions, particularly if they distinguish themselves from their contemporaries by being excellent team players and problem solvers as well as possessing other desirable soft skills like those we previously mentioned.
Several specialized choices
The ability to focus on a certain area of medicine is one of its best features. It's likely that you will have a variety of medical specialization options to choose from, and you will be able to do it with ease because the majority of hospitals and healthcare facilities offer specialized training for their healthcare workers. This is true whether you want to become a doctor, nurse, lab technician, or any other occupation. Another advantage is that you may always explore a variety of alternatives before choosing on one specialty, even if it takes you longer to decide what you want to do. The best aspect is that there will always be career chances for you in whichever specialty you choose to pursue because every field in the healthcare industry is necessary.
Supporting the community
Being employed in the healthcare industry enables one to give back to the community by assisting patients and their families during trying times. Health care professionals typically gain the respect and appreciation of the community when they contribute to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the residents. A perfect illustration of this is the way citizens all around the nation have used social media, conventional media, and even put posters in their front yards or on their cars to thank healthcare professionals for the outstanding work they have been performing since the pandemic's inception.
Constant professional development
Since every patient has a unique set of needs and problems, working in healthcare offers employees the chance to continually expand their skill sets. They get a tremendous deal from this in terms of medical education, real-world experience, and career advancement. Additionally, those in the medical field get to be the first to learn about new developments in technology that will help them provide better patient care.