There are a wide plethora of incredible advantages to studying healthcare that will benefit the individual both professionally and personally.
Working in the healthcare sector provides you with an incredible array of benefits; job security, the chance to genuinely, positively enhance people’s lives, and a chance to improve and enhance your character, to name but a few.
Whether you are fresh out of college and have always been working towards a career in the healthcare sector from a young age, or else have decided you would like to change your career entirely, the best and, frankly, the only way to genuinely make a start is to obtain an undergraduate degree.
With that being said, continue reading for a comprehensive guide to studying healthcare at an undergraduate level.
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Am I The Right Fit For A Career In Healthcare?
Obviously and quite naturally, as in any other career, it takes a range of different personalities, cultures, and backgrounds for the healthcare staff of a particular institution or hospital to be best prepared for any patient or professional eventuality.
Specifically, however, there certainly tend to be some trending factors, experiences, and personality traits that attract one to a career in the healthcare sector. Here are just two of the primary attributes a person working in healthcare needs to succeed.
Compassion & Empathy
One of the most prominent leading qualities in professionals working in the field of healthcare is a generally high level of compassion and empathy. Regardless of the particular section of healthcare, they work in, healthcare professionals are dedicated to the care and treatment of patients and have a natural empathy for the suffering and pain of people in their care. Compassion is not simply showing concern for an individual, but moreover, empathizing with them and showing you understand their needs and what they are experiencing.
Communication & People Skills
Another principal character trait of healthcare professionals is their particularly excellent communication skills and way of interacting with people from all walks of life.
Speaking and listening is a fundamental part of any healthcare-related role and is perhaps the primary necessity when working with patients and peers alike. A member of any workforce, regardless of the specific industry, is an incredibly valuable member of any team, and, as a result, communication is one of the most highly valued and employable attributes.
Signs that you are indeed a ‘people person’ include, but are in no way limited to:
- A well-spoken and articulate manner
- An authentic and honest character
- Prompt responses to e-mails, messages, and phone calls
- The ability to connect and understand another’s point of view
- A comfortable and approachable manner
- A great listener
- You are particularly competent at the written word
- Open-minded and interested in debate
- You adapt body language to suit the conversation
A Basic Introduction To An Undergraduate Degree In Healthcare
As you will no doubt be already aware, the healthcare sector is a wide-ranging and diverse area, so subsequently, there are numerous undergraduate degrees to choose from. Generally, healthcare undergraduate degrees can be divided into several different categories:
Bachelor’s Degree In Occupational Therapy
Essentially, occupational therapy is a degree based in medical science and is concerned with assistance in enabling a patient to undertake the everyday activities that are causing them pain, distress, or else they are currently simply unable to complete.
Occupational therapy can be used to treat everyone, from babies and small infants to the elderly who have an illness, who have suffered an injury, have specific physical or learning disabilities, or who have mental health issues.
Occupational therapy is an entirely practical discipline, and there is a multitude of examples. Perhaps a patient who has recently suffered a stroke requires occupational therapy to re-learn motor skills. A young child suffers from cerebralpalsy and is limited in coordination and general movement, and requires the help of a trained therapist. Occupational therapy makes a huge and highly significant impact on the daily lives of patients and is a multi-faceted and complex area of study, and you could be a part of the help.
Bachelor’s Degree In Nursing
Perhaps the most well-known and recognized career in the healthcare sector is that of a registered nurse or doctor. Nursing is one of the most challenging and rewarding careers to pursue. However, obtaining an undergraduate degree in nursing is one way to make your dreams of becoming a registered, professional working nurse a reality. All-encompassing undergraduate degrees, be that online or in a traditional classroom setting from reputable and professional academic institutions will provide you with everything you need to pursue a career in nursing.
However, this isn’t the only option open to you. You can opt for an accelerated bachelor of Science in Nursing at a prestigious nursing school, such as Wilkes University. If you are changing careers but don’t want to put your old bachelor’s degree to waste, use it to propel your next career by opting for this type of course instead. Then, as you work throughout your career, bear in mind this university to keep progressing your knowledge. Get your master’s, Doctor of Nursing, or Ph.D. after.
There is a multitude of advantages to both your professional and personal life in becoming a registered nurse. The job security you will be afforded is practically unrivaled, and once you are registered and have completed your extensive placements and training, you are able to work anywhere in the world. The opportunities for career progression are seemingly endless. In addition, the personal satisfaction and life-affirming experiences you will have on a day-to-day basis will both enrich your life as well as provide you with valuable perspective.
Bachelor’s Degree In Public Health
One of the less talked about areas of the healthcare sector is the public health sector. However, professionals working within the public health arena are crucial in protecting individuals, families, communities, and populations from chronic epidemics.
Obviously, over the last two years and indeed to right here and now today, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic that devastated virtually all the countries of the world meant that public health workers have been working harder than ever before. Naturally, this means that public health workers are in higher demand than usual.
There are a plethora of meaningful and challenging roles in public health, including, but categorically not limited to:
- Health and Safety Advisor
- Food Hygiene Officer
- Environmental Health Practitioner
- Health Improvement Practitioner
- Occupational Hygienist
- Health Visitor
Bachelor’s Degree In Pharmaceuticals
The vast majority of undergraduate degrees in pharmaceuticals take four years to complete from start to finish and is specifically designed for those interested in the pharmacy sector of healthcare and who intend to go on to complete a Doctorate in Pharmacy.
Pharmacology is essentially primarily focused on the discovery and uses of new medical drugs as well as the modes, properties, and action of drugs currently used in the medical sector, both in this country and internationally.
The fundamental aim of a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceuticals is to provide the student with a detailed and entirely comprehensive knowledge of the following topics within the pharmaceutical world, with many more on top of these:
- Mechanisms of Disease and Principles of Chemotherapy
- Molecular Structure of Pharmaceutical Drugs
- Research Skills for Medical Science
- Chemistry for Life Sciences
- Molecular Biology of the Gene
- Physiology of Human Organ Systems
- Neuroscience Research Topics
- Cardiovascular Physiology
- Biochemical Pharmacology
- Advanced Molecules, Membranes, and Cells
- Molecular Pharmacology
After the successful acquisition of a bachelor’s degree in pharmacology, one may then wish to pursue a postgraduate degree and then, as previously discussed, a doctorate.
Alternatively, you may want to enter a career in pharmacology straight away, and there is a plethora of careers that require such a degree.
Such careers to consider with an undergraduate degree in pharmacology include medical research scientist, community pharmacist, biomedical scientist, immunology specialist, and medicinal chemist.
Bachelor’s Degree In Health and Social Care
An undergraduate degree in health and social care is a three-year, full-time course that can alternatively be taken as a part-time degree, although, naturally, this will take you longer to complete.
Health and social care is an incredibly interesting and just as challenging area of modern healthcare, and as a result, such a degree is intensive and multi-faceted, to say the least.
The core modules a student will be enrolled in during their first year of study for their health and social care degree will include the following:
You will be afforded a broad yet detailed overview of the organization and contexts of social care and healthcare work. You will also have the opportunity to work with members of the community who either have used or currently use such services and carry out a primary investigation into an area of health and social care that is of personal interest to you.
Current Issues in H&SC
You will be equipped with essential resources and internet resource materials to find out for yourself the current issues, problems, and developments within health and social care in the present day.
Social Policy for H&SC
Here, you and your fellow students will explore the key areas of American social policy, the differing perspectives on social and political matters pertaining to the sector, and learn of the contemporary welfare issues affecting people today and how social care services can intervene and help.
There is a multitude of incredible career paths that will be open to you once you have successfully acquired an undergraduate degree in health and social care.
Such career paths include a community development worker, naturopath roles, health service manager, medical sales representative, health improvement practitioner, and an education mental health practitioner.
Key qualities and personal attributes that may well stand you in good stead for a career in health and social care include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Emotional intelligence and empathy
- Tolerance and patience
- Excellent communication and people skills
- Resilience and physical and mental strength
- Strong organisational and time management skills
Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding Certification
For those who are considerably more interested in the technical side of health and social care, an undergraduate degree in medical billing and coding certification may well be the best move forward.
Essentially, medical billing and coding certification is the creation of coded data that is then used by medical providers and hospitals to ensure and obtain the correct amount of reimbursement from government programs or insurance companies, such as Medicaid and Medicare. The medical billers subsequently implement that coded information to accurately write, prepare and send invoices to both insurance providers and the patients themselves.
With regard to the daily running and operations of the health care sector and medical billing and coding, professionals work alongside doctors, nurses, surgeons and patients in order to gather as much information to create as specific and accurate codes as possible.
As part of your degree, you will study a wide plethora of topics related to medical coding and billing, which will include, amongst many others:
- Medical law, records management, and medical ethics
- Coding and billing applications
- Healthcare communication
- Healthcare claim cycle, claims to process, and settings
- Revenue cycle and billing
- Procedural cooling
- Ambulatory care coding
- Diagnostic coding
- Coding foundations
- Medical terminology
- Physiology and Anatomy
The Multitude of Advantages To A Career In Healthcare
The pursuit of a career in the healthcare industry will result in a fast-paced and exciting professional journey and present a host of fantastic and rewarding advantages to both your professional and personal life.
People working in the healthcare sector dedicate their lives to helping, caring, and treating others, and there can be a no finer example of a more fulfilling and selfless career. There are also many opportunities to earn a salary that is substantially higher than the national average, particularly when you choose to work for government organizations or in medical hospitals.
Obviously, healthcare workers will always be able to experience a strong sense of job security, a fact that is set to become more and more guaranteed with the general population both nationally and internationally living longer and longer due to medical innovations and discoveries.
Additionally, other fabulous advantages to the successful acquisition of an undergraduate degree in healthcare and a subsequent career in the industry include the ability to work flexibly and unconventional hours and the clear career path forwards if you choose to return to further education.