In many ways, the U.S. healthcare system is like an ocean-going cruise liner. It operates in a tightly knit environment and it takes lots of time to change direction. But if you’re committed to a long-term career in health care, it’s important to step up to ship’s bridge, pick up your binoculars and scan the horizon for new opportunities.
Take telemedicine for instance. The nationwide shortage of primary care and specialist physicians is leading to a rapid growth in this sector of the healthcare industry, particularly in rural areas. One example in Project ECHO in New Mexico, where physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners use remote diagnostic tools and videoconferencing services to provide primary care to pediatric and adult patients under the direction of specialists at the University of New Mexico.
Another key trend is the rapid growth of healthcare clinics located in pharmacies or shopping malls. Patients of all ages – particularly parents of small children – appreciate the convenience of getting a quick checkup without having to spend half the day at a doctor’s office. If necessary, they can pick up a prescription right on the spot and continue with their daily activities.
Many large organizations are opening their own health clinics and wellness centers on their corporate campuses. That makes it easier for employees to see a nurse or physician with minimal travel “downtime.” On-site clinics can also focus on improving employee health through nutrition or fitness strategies, and achieve greater compliance with medication or follow-up care recommendations.
The U.S. military is also paying greater attention to the health of active servicemen and women, their spouses, and veterans. More resources are being poured into this sector for inpatient facilities and outpatient clinics, as well as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), program, which assists spouses with employment searches. (All Medical Personnel is a proud MSEP member.)
All four of these areas – telemedicine, retail clinics, wellness facilities and military programs – are creating new non-traditional career opportunities for healthcare professionals. So, pay attention to these trends and be open to new possibilities as you think about your future.