Not everyone is cut out to be a doctor. In fact, few people have the intelligence, drive, compassion and stamina required to work long hours as a physician in a hospital or surgery. But many people want to work in a career where they can help others in their time of need, especially when they’re ill or injured. There are more medical and medically-related careers than you might think. Beyond doctors and nurses, there are hundreds of roles to fill to keep a hospital or a doctor’s surgery going. From paramedics and midwives to healthcare scientists and even management positions, training to be a doctor isn’t the only way to work in medicine. Do you want to help people but don’t fancy yourself a doctor? Consider some of these careers in hospitals, surgeries, laboratories and even in people’s homes.
Ambulance Service Roles
When people think of ambulance staff, they usually think of paramedics. But there are several ambulance jobs you could consider, both emergency and non-emergency. In an emergency role, you could be an emergency care assistant, a paramedic or a senior paramedic. Outside of the ambulance, support comes from call handlers and medical dispatches. These people are responsible for being the first response when someone has an emergency.
There are also non-emergency jobs for people who help to transport patients in other situations. These include ambulance care assistants, patient transport service drivers and call handlers. These roles don’t require medical degrees, or in fact any degree, but you do need a good general education. Emergency care assistants and paramedics do however learn how to assess a patient’s condition. They administer treatment at the scene and on the way to the hospital. Call handlers often need to have computer skills. They might also need map knowledge and perhaps some medical knowledge. It can also help if you speak a second language.
People in pharmacies are responsible for making sure medicines are used responsibly and efficiently. You can find pharmacies on high-streets and in hospitals. Their staff advise doctors, nurses and patients about the best treatments for particular conditions. Careers in pharmacies include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Pharmacists are often qualified to prescribe medication. Although they aren’t always as it requires extra training. Pharmacy is a scientific career. Pharmacists need to spend five years training, including a Master’s degree in pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians work under a pharmacist, assisting with the handling of medications. They don’t need to have a degree, and there are no official entry requirements. Despite it being a less qualified role, the pharmacy technician salary is a good one. And there are lots of opportunities for career progression. In the UK, pharmacy technicians need to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council.
If you love the idea of bringing babies into the world, midwifery can be an extremely rewarding career. Midwives help women and their partners to prepare for the birth of their child, both in hospitals and the community. They might visit women in their homes, both before and after their baby is born. Their job is to support mothers by providing antenatal and postnatal care. They also offer counselling and support, as well as education. Midwives are educated to degree level, with some of them being qualified nurses who have changed career paths. You can also begin a career in a support role to gain some experience in a medical setting, before undertaking a degree in midwifery.
Dentistry is a significant part of medical care too. Becoming a dentist takes just as long as becoming a general practitioner. Getting a place in dental school is very competitive. There are also lots of other roles available in dentistry. These include dental nurses, hygienists, therapists and technicians. Dental nurses assist dentists in their practice, while hygienists help to prevent tooth and gum problems by cleaning patient’s mouths. A therapist in dentistry is sometimes called an oral health practitioner. It isn’t a very common role, with only a few hundred of them in the UK. Dental therapists carry out a number of tasks, from cleaning teeth to providing education. Meanwhile, dental technicians work behind the scenes. They create fillings, crowns, bridges and other things to help repair patients’ teeth.
People with a passion for science might think about working in a role in healthcare. There are many different positions available in healthcare sciences, in several scientific sectors. In the UK, the NHS works in four broad areas. These are life sciences, physiological sciences, clinical engineering and medical physics, and bioinformatics. If you were to consider a career in life sciences, you might be performing blood diagnostics or studying infection sciences. You could also be working in tissue and cellular science or genetics. This area plays a crucial role in understanding illness and treatment and could involve developing new therapies.
In the physiological sciences, staff work with patients to determine how the body works and identify problems. These jobs include using the latest equipment to find problems and help to restore bodily functions. Most scientists in this area work in hospitals, but some work in health centres or even visit patients in their homes. Clinical engineering and medical physics involves working with machinery and equipment to ensure that it’s working. It could also mean developing new technologies and techniques. Bioinformatics is another technical field, where people work to find the best ways of collecting, storing and analysing biological data.
Many scientific roles are less hands-on with patients, so are ideal for people who are passionate about medicine but want to work behind the scenes. You don’t have to have an excellent bedside manner to work in the medical field. These scientific roles will require degrees. But many roles in medicine, including paramedics and dental hygienists, don’t need degrees. The range of careers available in the sector is so broad that almost anyone could find a role suited to them. Whether you’re interested in science or people, one of the opportunities in medicine could be ideal for you.