By Rick Fromme
|Photo Credit: westernjournalism.com|
Exacerbating the situation, some workforce pundits have cautioned there may be significant shortages of nurses and other skilled healthcare professionals. And, there’s also question about who will step into the scrubs of today’s highly skilled workers when they retire in their 50s and 60s.
Despite the above, the news isn’t all dire. In a previous blog about healthcare careers, I highlighted established healthcare positions that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Occupational Outlook Quarterly (OOQ) cited as being the most in-demand careers for the next ten years or so. (See our previous blog, “Health Care Jobs Outlook is Jammin’!”)
Importantly, as the U.S. tries to respond to these challenges, several new healthcare occupations are emerging that have the potential to keep people healthier and lower expenses. These jobs are well-suited for college students seeking to enter the workforce, as well as those workers who may want to transition into a new career altogether.
|Photo Credit: paulpustelnik.me|
These and other healthcare jobs offer promising opportunities, particularly in light of some projected labor shortages. Demographic changes and the emphasis on cost-effective healthcare may also spark new, innovative jobs that are not yet clearly captured in current sources of occupational data, in part because they’ve not yet been assigned federal classification codes.
The BLS defines “an emerging career” as an occupation that currently has a few number of employees, but that is expected to grow significantly in the near future. Happily, several developing healthcare careers fall within this definition. Healthcare reform and the impetus toward patient-centered care have the potential to expedite the development of and increase the demand for a range of new specialties.
Conducted in 2010, a research study was undertaken by a panel of national experts in workforce and healthcare-related issues. This group’s subsequent report, “How Boomers Can Help Improve Health Care: Emerging Encore Career Opportunities in Health Care,” identified six promising new career tracks:
- Community Health Worker – Provides health education, guidance and some basic direct services to underserved populations, promoting cost-saving prevention and addressing inequities in care.
- Chronic Illness Coach – Offers personalized support and guidance to chronically ill individuals, helping them better manage the stress of chronic illness that can sometimes lead to depression and the need for additional medical treatment.
- Medications Coach – Assists individuals with complicated medication regimens to guard against harmful, potentially costly, drug results or interactions.
|Photo Credit: nypost.com|
- Patient Navigator/Advocate – Aids patients and their families in accessing top-quality care so they may better understand preventive measures and treatment options, leading to more efficient use of the healthcare system.
- Home- and Community-Based Service Navigator/Advocate – Helps patients access long-term support services, including adult day care and home-delivered meals, to remain living at home and potentially avoid more expensive care in assisted living or nursing facilities.
- Home Modification Specialist – Creates safe home environments that support independent living for seniors and the disabled, conceivably preventing costly institutionalization.
The popular online career site, Monster.com, listed Nursing Informatics and Anesthesiologist Assistants as two of the newest professions with increasing salaries. These two professions, unlike the ones cited above, have already been listed in the newest directory of job titles by the “Occupational Information Network.”
|Photo Credit: caringheartsofrochester.com|
Careervision.org cited several healthcare-related fields as promising new careers. Particularly focused on elderly patients, Life Care Planners, Case Workers and Patient Advocates will all experience an increase in demand for qualified employees. These fields include conducting assessments, research, navigating the healthcare system, and planning and managing services.
Another growing field is Biotechnology. The areas of research and development, quality control and assurance, manufacturing and production, agriculture, and bioinformatics are all fields that will experience growth. Similarly, there’s Bioinformatics, where specialists organize and mine an expansive amount of biomedical data, such as research related to the study of the human genome, clinical trials, and/or diseases.
|Photo Credit: rogercatlin.com|
Especially in regards to the U.S.’ changing demographics, we’re currently experiencing one of the most dire nursing shortages in history. Skilled nurses are in demand. Hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and elder care facilities are all in need of nurses with specialized skills in critical care, perioperative nursing, neonatal care and geriatric care.
Today’s most in-demand nursing jobs mirrorimportant trends in American society: aging Baby Boomers, consumer interest in fitness and holistic medicine, and advances in computer technology. Minoritynurse.com cited the following new specialties that are in need of qualified nurses:
- Nursing Informatics – Combines nursing, computer science and information science to manage and communicate data, information and knowledge in nursing practice to improve patient care and communication among diverse medical staff members.
- Fitness Nursing – Helps patients regain strength and health through exercise, nutrition and educational programs.
- Holistic Nursing – Using a combination of traditional and alternative health care treatments, these nurses help patients regain health or deal with chronic conditions.
- Gerontological Nursing – Specializing in working with elderly patients, these nurses help individuals who have diseases or chronic pain, and other health issues related to aging.
This article discusses some of the newly emerging jobs and projected in-demand specialties in healthcare. If you found it interesting and useful, please share it with your colleagues and friends. As always, I’m eager to read your comments and questions below.
Find Nursing Jobs at MedMasters.com
Rick Fromme combines entrepreneurial enthusiasm with an insider's knowledge of the medical industry to co-found MedMasters.com. Both his drive and perspective helps provide health care professionals with a superior mechanism with which to communicate, network and market their strengths. Prior to founding MedMasters.com, Rick operated a highly successful medical device distributorship. Other milestones in his 12-year career in the medical industry include a key position at a medical device start-up company that was later sold to the Ethicon Endo division of Johnson & Johnson. You may also reach Rick by connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube.