Here in the United States, the debate about the state of our healthcare system has been raging on for as long as anybody can remember. Most of the public discourse on the subject is centered on how to strike a balance between patient needs and the profit-driven insurance industry, or about how to upend the status quo altogether and institute a public single-payer system. As that debate’s playing out, though, there’s another problem developing that could render the whole discussion moot – a startling decline in the number of qualified available healthcare workers.
The situation is about as bad as it can get. In the US, experts predict a healthcare worker shortfall of 2.3 million by 2025. That’s enough to bring our whole healthcare sector tumbling down, no matter who’s footing the bills at the time. For a preview, one need only look across the Atlantic to the UK’s NHS. The British National Health Service (NHS) is already in the throes of a massive labor shortage that is threatening the very existence of the service.
The bottom line is that the world needs healthcare workers. That’s why it’s important to spread the word far and wide to encourage young people to consider entering the medical profession as they start to think about their future. There are plenty of exciting careers to be had in the field and to help shed some light on them, here’s a look at three rewarding and critical healthcare careers that would be perfect for people that want to make a real difference in the lives of others.
If you’re interested in medicine, but also love to see new places and experience new things, training to be as a traveling nurse may be perfect for you. As the name implies, traveling nurses take on short to medium-term assignments in different locations around the world, either within one country or across national borders. It’s a job where you get to create your own schedule, pick and choose your assignments, and get to experience living in different places as often as you wish. Traveling nurses also tend to get paid more than other types of nurses, as an incentive to accept flexible schedules. Best of all, interested students can start on the same educational path as registered nurses, since the requirements are typically the same for both, and decide what they’d like to do after completing their coursework.
Humanitarian Aid Worker
Here in the US, what we think of as a medical system in crisis would be a godsend to most places in the developing world. That’s because the care we so often take for granted simply isn’t available to millions of people around the world, who suffer through illness and injury with no help in sight. If you’re the adventurous sort, you can help to change that by working as a humanitarian aid worker through Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) or a similar non-governmental organization. They travel to locations all around the globe, providing lifesaving care and medical treatment to people in dire need of help. You can find them in many of the world’s trouble spots, as well, so if you’re the adventurous sort, this may be an especially good fit. It’s one of the most rewarding careers in all of medicine – and you can get started on the path to such a career by taking some online medical courses to get your feet wet.
Emergency Medical Technician
In the whole medical sector, you won’t find a career more challenging and rewarding than that of an emergency medical technician (EMT). They’re the front-line medical professionals that provide immediate care to people in distress, at the scenes of accidents, fires, and other life-threatening circumstances. Their work often makes a life-or-death difference in the patients they treat, and it’s a field that’s has a dangerous and growing labor shortage right now. Of course, the fast pace and associated stress aren’t for everyone – but if you want to be a hero, this is the job in medicine for you.
Making an Impact
Anyone who pursues one of the above careers in medicine will be making a crucial and welcome contribution to the health and wellbeing of others. In a world that is in desperate need of new healthcare professionals, every new entrant into the field will make a real difference. In short – if you have an altruistic streak and love a challenge, there’s sure to be a medical career that’s right for you. Now just go out and get started!