Careers spotlight: Healthcare & medical
There are many more jobs within the healthcare and medical realm than first imaginable
When people think of healthcare and medical careers they typically think of doctors, nurses and physicians. In actuality, though, it is a large industry encompassing many, many types of careers. For instance, you could work as an acupuncturist, anaesthetist, audiological scientist, microbiologist, paramedic, immunologist, horticultural therapist or even a dance movement psychotherapist.
A dance movement psychotherapist, for example, can expect a starting salary between £20,000 and £30,000, and with experience the salary can increase to more than £55,000. The role of the job is to use movement, and specifically dance, to enable spiritual, physical, personal, emotional and cognitive social integration and development. The psychotherapist will be required to train and teach courses, attend conferences and work through areas of personal conflict by interacting with the clients.
People with a passion in natural medicine can train as a herbalist, who use knowledge of therapeutic applications of plant medicine to treat illness and promote overall health. Many herbalists do not like using synthetic chemicals in pharmaceutical drugs and instead prefer to use the medicine nature intended to treat a range of illnesses, physical conditions and allergies.
Herbalists, like general doctors, will meet patients to discuss and diagnose a condition or illness, then prescribe holistic medicines to assist the body’s natural healing properties. The majority of herbalists are self-employed, which means they need to actively seek work and learn to market themselves, manage their budget and tax accounts, and manage stock levels.
Herbalists with a lot of experience can also work as consultants or undertake research for herbal product manufacturers. The typical salary is £35-£60, with an annual salary of up to £20,000 – higher for very experienced and established practitioners. To become a herbalist, you need a BSc degree in herbal medicine, and then you are eligible to apply for membership of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and practice as a qualified herbalist. To enrol on an accredited course you must have at least two A levels, one of which must be in biology.
There is also the well-known job of General Practitioner, otherwise known as the GP or doctor. A GP has broad, rather than deep, knowledge; in other words they must know a decent amount about a range of illnesses and conditions, rather than specialist knowledge about one or two. They provide primary and continuing medical care for patients and keep records of physical, social and emotional factors of patients, which are used to determine the course of action to recovery.
Some GPs are partners in a practice, and such doctors are responsible for running the practice, including administrative duties, employing and managing staff, and working to budgets. Doctors earn a good salary too; junior doctors in the first year of foundation training will have a basic salary in the region of £22,000, which increases to £27,000 in their second year. Salaried GPs employed by a primary care trust will earn between £53,800 and £81,000 a year, but the trade-off is irregular hours and always being on call. In order to become a GP you must hold a degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council, and there are access courses available for graduates who hold degrees in an area that is not appropriate for medical training.
These are just a few of the opportunities available within the healthcare industry, but there are many others. Some people may want to work in healthcare to help other people but are too squeamish to work with needles or in surgeries, or have a phobia of germs to be a GP, in which case there are plenty of options, such as physical therapist, biochemist or chiropractor. Essentially, healthcare is all about helping other people, and there are many ways that can be done.