Skill and Caring: There’s more to healthcare careers than you think

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Everyone knows that job opportunities in healthcare are booming. But what if you’re not looking for a job that puts you on the front line of patient care?

salariesFortunately there is much more to healthcare than doctors and nurses.  Hospitals and health centers are staffed with technicians, researchers, therapists and assistants, too.

Even better, many of these high-demand, good-paying healthcare careers require just two years of college to get started. That’s two good reasons to consider these professions. But a commitment to good healthcare, strong people skills and a desire to help others are still important for success in most of these jobs.

The first step for most allied health careers is taking foundation classes in math and science. Many healthcare programs such as radiologic technologists, surgical technicians and dental hygienists, are selective, admitting only a certain number of qualified students each year who have mastered the prerequisites.

Science and care

Take radiography for example. Radiologic technologists not only take x-rays, they may be certified to perform MRIs, ultrasounds or nuclear medicine studies. They work in hospitals, out-patient clinics and, sometimes, doctor’s offices.

“Aside from an understanding of anatomy and physiology, students in radiologic technology need algebra or statistics, as well as the basics in physics to understand X-rays and the equipment,” says Aaron Sarff, coordinator of the radiologic technology program at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois.

“Technical skills are important, but that’s just one small part of it.  The best technologists are motivated by giving people good care,” he adds.

“Some students say they chose radiologic technology for a career because they’re interested in health care but not interested in becoming a nurse.” Attention to the needs of patients is still important, especially in a hospital when patients may be sick or injured. “Technologists may see 10 or 15 patients a day and could be with them for only 5 to 30 minutes. But depending on the patient’s health and needs, they might start IVs, help with biopsies or even help clean up an accident,” says Sarff.

Professionalism and people skills

Other healthcare professionals are on the front lines of processing medical claims.  Health information managers, for example, work with health information in hospitals, insurance companies, law firms, physicians’ offices, long-term care agencies, rehabilitation centers and other healthcare facilities.  These professionals maintain, organize, analyze and generate health information for patient treatment, reimbursement, planning, quality assessment and research to ensure quality healthcare through quality information.

Melinda Teel, program chair of MC’s Health Information Management program, explained that the United States is currently undergoing a broad movement to put all health records in electronic format.

Teel said, “The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 authorized incentive payments to eligible physicians and hospitals for the adoption and meaningful use of certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) technology.  This means that physician practices and hospitals need skilled employees who know how to maintain and establish core standards, while also allowing access and disclosure of health data among health partners.  MC is on the forefront of training students to meet these standards.”

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MC, first in Permian Basin to receive EMS accreditation

MC’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHEP).  MC is the first college in the Permian Basin to receive this prestigious accreditation.

MC Emergency Medical Services Program Chair Leland Hart explained, “This accreditation allows our paramedic students who have successfully completed MC’s 47-hour paramedic program to take the national registry exam in order to be certified as a paramedic.  All Texas paramedics must complete the exam before applying for a state license.  MC began the accrediting process in late summer 2012.  We first submitted a self-study to the Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions, and then the Commission sent a site visit team to review our facilities, equipment and faculty.  Just last March, we were notified that MC is now fully accredited for the standard five-year term through March 31, 2018, at which time we will need to reapply.”

MC’s Emergency Medical Services program is located in the Dorothy & Todd Aaron Medical Science Building on the main MC campus.  Skills training and internships are conducted in the F. Marie Hall SimLife Center at Midland College, at Midland Memorial Hospital and also with the Midland Fire Department.  Hart stated that graduates typically find jobs working with local fire departments, private ambulance services, hospitals and physicians’ offices.  MC has a 100 percent pass rate on the paramedic certification/licensure exam.

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