The Healthcare Industry: Jobs, Skills, Trends and Job Outlook
The Healthcare sector encompasses all those professions involved in promoting and maintaining people’s physical and mental health.
Healthcare industry professionals work in a wide variety of sectors, including pediatrics, geriatrics, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, oncology, surgery, dentistry and psychiatry, to name but a few.
The healthcare sector is of vital importance for society.Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, orderlies and all healthcare and support workers have a fundamental role to play in ensuring people’s health and wellbeing.
Healthcare workers carry out a broad range of activities, which vary according to their specific role. Tasks may include examining patients and investigating health problems by performing diagnostic tests, ordering programs of therapy or rehabilitation, prescribing medicines and treatments, administering drugs and performing surgical procedures.
Healthcare professionals also provide guidance and recommendations for a healthy lifestyle and other advice on preventative healthcare measures.
Training to become a Healthcare professional involves a long and demanding course of study. Doctors, for example, need a university degree in medicine, followed by a period of specialist training in a specific area, such as Cardiology, Gynaecology, Ophthalmology or Neurology.
Technical staff working in the Healthcare industry, such as radiologists and medical laboratory personnel, also need specific qualifications - often at university level - to carry out their job.
What types of organizations operate in the Healthcare industry?
There is a wide variety of organizations operating in the Healthcare industry, including a large number of public and private hospitals, clinics and medical centres. Some of these offer a complete range of medical and healthcare services - from accident and emergency (A&E) right through to long-term care - while others - such as dermatology clinics and cancer centres - focus on a specific area of medicine.
Doctors, nurses and other specialists, such as speech therapists and physiotherapists, also work in outpatient clinics and residential care facilities, which provide patients with a wide-range of medical treatments and procedures.
Doctors, dentists, psychologists and other healthcare professionals may also practice in a medical surgery or health centre - either on their own or together with other specialists.
In addition, healthcare personnel are employed by rehabilitation centres, medical testing laboratories, diagnostic centres providing X-rays, ultrasounds, MRI scans and other imaging services, voluntary emergency medical services providers and organizations providing nursing and personal care services, such as assisted living and home care.
Finally, healthcare professionals may also work for healthcare consultancy firms, chemical and pharmaceutical companies (e.g. as clinical monitors) and government agencies, or else may choose to go into university research or teaching.
Companies hiring in the Healthcare sector:
Healthcare Industry - Trends and Job Outlook
Job numbers in the Healthcare sector are on the rise, with employment prospects currently looking good.
As populations and average life expectancy grow, due to increasingly effective healthcare systems and technologies and the life-prolonging medicines developed by the pharmaceutical industry, spending on health is steadily rising.
As a result, demand for healthcare and social care workers is also on the rise. And with an ageing population, the demand for doctors, nurses and other medical staff is particularly strong in the geriatric care sector (i.e.assisting elderly patients).
Another long-term trend is towards a reduction in hospital admissions in favour of treatment delivered on an outpatient basis at day surgeries and walk-in clinics - or alternatively at patients’ homes - which in turn is leading to a rise in demand for nurses and medical support personnel in these areas.
In addition, a technological revolution is underway in the sector, with the emergence of advanced tools and technologies bringing improvements in patient diagnostics and monitoring, opening up new possibilities for high-precision surgical procedures and enabling the creation of increasingly sophisticated prosthetic devices.
As a result, there are good career prospects for doctors and other specialists involved in leading-edge, hi-tech areas of medicine, such as bioengineering and pharmacogenomics.
What skills are required in the Healthcare sector?
In addition to the scientific and technical knowledge and expertise needed for their specific role (e.g. hematologist, anaesthetist, osteopath or nurse), Healthcare professionals all require the following transversal skills:
Communications and interpersonal skills
Listening to patients and their families, explaining medical conditions and proposed courses of treatment using simple language, providing assistance and support to sick people and coordinating effectively with colleagues and supervisors are just a few of the situations in which healthcare professionals require an ability to communicate effectively and appropriately.
Healthcare professionals have to deal with a wide variety of circumstances in their work, but what many of these situations have in common is the discomfort and suffering caused by physical and mental illness. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff therefore need to be able to empathize with patients and understand what they are going through, while at the same time maintaining a professional approach.
Physical and psychological stamina
Working in healthcare can often be stressful, hectic and demanding, at both a physical and emotional level, which is why flexibility and adaptability, multitasking and priority-setting skills, coupled with an ability to remain positive at all times and great physical and mental stamina are all crucial attributes.
In addition, all healthcare professionals need to be fully aware of the applicable legislation regulating the healthcare industry.
Healthcare - Job Descriptions
Interested in finding out more about jobs in the Healthcare sector?
Take a look at the job descriptions we’ve prepared: