Allied Health Paths That Will Advance Your Career
Ever since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have seen a large influx of patients. This is due to the 22.8 million previously uninsured Americans who are now covered under Obamacare. From ER rooms to private physician offices, healthcare is being utilized in higher frequency all over the country. While people may disagree as to the overall effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act, it’s hard to dispute its mark on increasing the already in-demand healthcare field. If taking care of people and getting involved in an industry that will never go unneeded sound like promising traits of a satisfying career, keep reading.
We’re going to take a look at some allied health programs that will advance your career below.
Many allied health professionals exist thanks to the allied health programs offered by schools like Arizona College. Every school has their flagship programs, and for Arizona College, it’s the Bachelors of Science in Nursing program. What separates allied health schools from other colleges is the narrowness in education. While general education classes are typically required in allied health schools, the disciplines available for students to major in are fewer, resulting in a more specialized academic experience.
In Nursing Programs, it’s common to experience a well-rounded curriculum including lectures, classes, hands-on training, as well as computer and simulation laboratory exercises. The idea is to expose students to as much variety as possible. After all, being able to role with the punches is an essential skill for nurses.
However, ask any nurse on the front lines today and they’ll tell you about all the skills you need that you won’t learn in the classroom. USA Today notes them below:
- Compassion and the desire to care for people who are hurting, sick or in need
- The confidence to work independently while a person’s life is at stake
- Multi-tasking while under a lot of stress
- Being a facilitator of information, a cog between the patient and doctor in a dynamic environment
- Physical and emotional stamina
- The ability to supervise other healthcare professionals
- Computer knowledge to document information and chart medical histories
Most of these skills are developed in the clinical externship portion of nursing programs. Externships typically begin once the coursework part of the curriculum has been completed.
Pharmacy Technician Training
When you work in a pharmacy you must have administrative (e.g. answering the phone, taking inventory), medical and customer service skills. You also must pay a meticulous attention to detail with all of the technical terms and knowledge you’re expected to know since you’ll be responsible for the medications people take.
Master these Pharmacy Technician skills in an allied health program and you’ll be well prepared to flourish:
- Memorization of hundreds of different drugs and their generic names, including staying up-to-date as they evolve.
- Attention to detail knowing there’s no room for error
- Strong science (e.g. chemistry, biology, biochemistry) and math skills (especially statistics) are necessary for calculating doses
- People skills are important as pharmacists deal with customers on a daily basis, and sometimes also work with doctors as part of the patient’s healthcare team
- The ability to supervise pharmacy techs and staff
- Computer literacy as electronic transmission of prescriptions is slowly overtaking handwritten prescriptions
- Being able to clearly explain and educate people about their medications
Other Allied Health Career Training Options
While nursing and pharmacy technician training are the most highly sought-after allied health training programs, there are a few other types of jobs many people are also interested in. Among these include:
- Medical assisting – They are the ones who keep physician offices running smoothly. They prepare patients to see the doctor, give shots, answer phones and handle billing. A hybrid of administrative and clinical skills is needed in this route.
- Health information technicians – Health information technicians must be very organized and possess great data management skills, especially due to the growing popularity of electronic health records. They are the ones responsible for maintaining high-quality, accurate and safely kept records.
- Medical assistants with phlebotomy – Medical assisting with phlebotomy experience does not only involve the taking, storing, preparing and labeling of blood – but also the maintaining of their records. Since phlebotomists have direct interaction with patients and several other workers in healthcare facilities, they must also have great interpersonal skills.
Regardless of which of these programs you decide to venture in, remember that you’re required to have continuing education credits to renew your license each year. For example, pharmacy technicians need 20 or more hours for their re-certification each year. This is why it’s important for you to choose a job in the medical field you’ll actually enjoy, as you’re never truly finished with school and learning. But there are many in-demand healthcare professions today. It’s important to sit down and think about how your personal characteristics and skill set lends itself to the industry. Find a career you’re compatible with and as the old adage goes, you’ll never work a day in your life.