Career Transitions in Healthcare: What are Your Options that include ACLS Education and PALS Educati
Posted On: 10/5/2010 | By: Melissa Marks
Today’s healthcare workers have a lot of options when it comes to work environments. A growing interest among the general population in health and wellness, the trend toward shorter hospital stays, and an aging Baby Boomer generation have created an explosion of job opportunities, often outside the traditional settings of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Savvy healthcare professionals need to consider elements such as level of patient interaction, their own passions and interests, and whether they have the right certifications and education (e.g., PALS Education, ACLS Education, and BLS, among others) to find the perfect fit. Health Education Solutions spoke with Jeanne Miller, regional managing director at Medical Resources Staffing Services, about how to begin the process of evaluating your options.
HES: Most people think of hospitals and doctors’ offices as the only employment opportunities within healthcare; what are some of the other service areas?
JM: Hospitals and clinics, such as ambulatory clinics, are more of the traditional settings that people tend to think of. There are options within hospitals, including acute care, long-term care and rehab. In addition, in the United States we have many hospitals with a significant research commitment.
Insurance companies provide a variety of opportunities as well that don’t necessarily involve direct patient care. The vast majority are administrative positions where healthcare professionals review cases either concurrently or after the case has been completed to make sure protocols are followed. These companies also employ nurses who work directly with members who have serious health concerns to help them manage their care.
There's quite a bit of opportunity related to blood banks. For example, nurses have positions manning the blood-mobile or the site where people are going to donate blood. Organ transplant support services, such as organ transport and emergency transport organizations like Life Flight or medical transportation, are another growing area – ranging from local within the city, to across the country, to around the world.
HES: Wow, there certainly are a lot of options! How should someone go about evaluating which setting is right for them?
JM: Most people get a good taste for the traditional hospital setting while they are in school. Registering with a couple of different agencies that don't solely focus on clinical nursing can be a good way to explore different employment avenues.
But, even within the hospital setting, there is a wide variety, whether critical care, emergency room, surgical or even case management. Case managers in the hospitals help the patient go through the discharge process and navigate through post-acute care.
Overall, a good professional compass is to think about why you entered the field in the first place. What was the initial draw? Is this still what you want to do? It’s okay if it has changed. If you decide you don't like hands-on patient care, there are certainly still a lot of different things you can do with your degree.
The other thing I would recommend is to take courses to round out your skill set. One of the best ways to show a potential employer your dedication and interest in a particular field is by being proactive about extending your education.
HES: Speaking of education, can you address the importance of PALS, BLS, and ACLS certification in relation to the various service settings?
JM: We work with a wide variety of employers and the more certifications you have, the more opportunities are open to you. Additionally, it can be critical in certain areas to have particular certifications, especially in patient care areas, where you're hands on with patients. Having up-to-date certifications can only help put you in the top tier of your field. Without certification it's like swimming upstream. Also it’s better to get certified before you need it. If you're considered for a job, it's kind of too late. You either have to have the kind of certification they want or they move on to the next candidate.
HES: Any other advice for our readers?
JM: Think outside of the box and about how to bring your passions and interests into your work. You hear about nurse burnout a lot. I think that if nurses looked for outside the box options that combine their interests (even if outside of the profession), they may find it's not such work to go to work.