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Choosing a Healthcare Career

How do you choose which healthcare career is best for you? I know I want to be a hospital executive, but I'd also like to be a physician beforehand. I'm just not sure which specialty would be best for me. Any advice on discovering which healthcare career would suit a person the most?
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Raquel’s Answer

The best way to figure out which career option is best for you is to do research on what each job entails as well as shadowing. If you know that you want to be a physician you should think about what kinds of medicine you are interested and then look into those specific specialities. You can also reach out to doctors in those specialities in your area to see if you can shadow them for a few days and get an idea of what they do and if it is something you want to pursue. It is important to keep in mind, if you decide to pursue medical school, many people enter medical school thinking they want to enter one specialty and then end up going into something completely different, you learn so much and are exposed to so many different things in medical school that will impact your decision on what specialty to enter, trust the process.
If you are interested in entering the medical field but aren’t sure what career to choose then again research each one and try to follow someone in each field. The big medical professions include physicians, PA’s, NP’s, and RN’s. All of these could get you to being a hospital administrator with enough experience. As a side note, an NP is a nurse who has gotten a graduate degree to become a practitioner, if you are not interested in that to become a hospital administrator as a nurse you will still likely need a graduate degree but could get it in something other than practitioner. Any decent sized hospital will employ all of these healthcare professionals, you could reach out to your local one to see about getting set up to shadow each type of professional so that you can find your fit.
Best of luck!

Thank you for the insight! I’ll definitely look into shadowing, Amanda K.

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John’s Answer

Amanda may I recommend a physician assistant (PA), this is a growing field with plenty of opportunities. Physician assistants perform many of the same tasks as physicians and may specialize in a specific area of medicine or work in general practice. Lengthy educational preparation is required, but is still shorter than going to medical school followed by a residency program. A physician assistant sees patients under the supervision of a licensed physician. PAs conduct physical exams to diagnose and treat patients. They may work in general family practice or specialize in a specific area of medicine, such as obstetrics, cardiology or orthopedics. Physician assistants are employed in hospitals, private practices and public health care clinics. An aspiring PA you'll first earn a bachelor's degree in an area of science. Following this, you'd apply to and enter a physician's assistant program. This degree program includes a mixture of classroom training, laboratory work and practical training. Most schools offer 2-year, graduate-level PA programs leading to a master's degree; however, some schools offer programs leading to a bachelor's degree or certificate. Many PA programs are affiliated with a medical school or teaching hospital. Physician assistants may choose to go on for additional training in a specialty area of medicine. Specialties include emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, occupational medicine and surgery.

Career advancement for a physician assistant often means going back to medical school Amanda. This process involves more time in class, as well as additional years in a residency at a medical facility. For those physician assistants who don't want to go back to college, moving into a position as a Medical and Health Services Manager can be an alternate way to advance your career.

• MEDICAL AND HEALTH SERVICES MANAGER – Amanda this is the career move to a hospital executive that does not require to go back to school. In fact, the experience gained as a physician assistant positions one perfectly for becoming a medical and health services manager, as a thorough knowledge of the healthcare industry is required. Master's degrees are also preferred, although they are not always necessary for those with the right skill set. As a medical and health services manager, one is responsible for coordinating how medical services are administered. Individuals may oversee an entire facility, a department, or a small group of doctors. The work is administrative in nature and can be a good fit for physician assistants who no longer want to practice medicine but do want to remain in the medical industry. Healthcare management professionals can work in hospitals, clinics, nursing care facilities, physician practices, and any place in which patients receive healthcare and treatment from a variety of providers. Like any business, healthcare facilities and medical practices are busy places with multi-faceted work activities taking place. Though healthcare managers rarely encounter patients directly, familiarity with the philosophy and ethics involved in delivering quality care is required.

Hope this was helpful Amanda

Thank you, I'll look into that! Amanda K.

My Pleasure Amanda, the real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in you career. John Frick

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Ryan’s Answer

I totally agree with Ms. Davis's answer. You could go into business and hospital administration to streamline your training path. Being a physician first is not required and will take a substantially longer and circuitous path to be a hospital administrator. What hospitals need are innovative, dynamic leaders who seek out working with a variety of personalities to solve problems.

Reach out to professionals in your area doing the work you envision. The best executives are often not physicians. If you do become a physician first you may find that you have to study business topics on your own time or go back to school later to develop the executive skills.

Thank you for the insight! Amanda K.