What allied health professional career is right for me?
Health service science and allied health professional careers are in high demand right now. With our NHS dealing valiantly with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic whilst still delivering essential routine services, allied health professionals and health service scientists are a vital component of delivering ongoing exceptional patient care.
Like many healthcare careers, jobs in allied health care and health service sciences (or HSS for short) can come in a huge variety of settings and locations – meaning if you’re looking to take the plunge as an allied health professional, choosing which speciality to practice in can be something of a challenge.
Unlike more traditional healthcare professionals however (such as nurses for example), AHP and HSS roles tend to be more exploratory and investigative; often using scientific principles and evidence-based practice to help front-line workers in diagnosing, assessing and treating acute and chronic diseases, and helping disease prevention. In addition, there are also areas of the allied health profession that will use their administration and management skills in the support of our public healthcare system, the NHS.
In short, AHPs and HSS’s play a vital support role our frontline health services – but with such a wealth of career options out there to choose from, which one might be right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the most in-demand AHP and HSS careers…
Radiographers are essentially healthcare’s photography experts – taking images of the insides of patients bodies to help diagnose medical problems, diseases and injuries. They also play a crucial role in helping people battle cancer by locating and identifying tumours so they can be targeted and treated effectively.
The role of a radiographer also involves the use of some of the NHS’s most cutting-edge technology – including machines such as Magnetic Resonance Imagers (MRIs) and linear accelerators. If delving deep into the inner workings of the human body using the latest imaging technology appeals to you, then working as a radiographer could be the ideal career choice for you. Primary duties can include:
- Diagnosing internal injuries and suspected illnesses with patients
- Choosing and developing a treatment plan for patients
- Offering support and care to patients undergoing treatment
- being responsible for all radiation safety and checking equipment for any malfunctions
- supervising a team of radiography and imaging assistants.
Pharmacists provide expert advice on the use and supply of medicines and medical appliances; playing vital roles in both healthcare and public environments. They play a critical role in helping dispense medical advice and monitor minor heath concerns, as well as provide over-the-counter medicines for a huge variety of minor illnesses; such as coughs, colds, sore throats, minor aches and pains.
The general role of a pharmacist often means they get to interact with a great number of people every day – as a result, if you’re type of person who enjoys talking to people or perhaps has a strong customer service ethic, then the role of a pharmacist might just be for you.
Some of the key duties of a pharmacist include:
- Making sure that patients use their medicines safely and effectively
- Provide valuable information to patients on how get the maximum benefit from the medicines they are prescribed
- Give advice on the most effective treatments for a particular condition- including those for sale without prescription
- Give help and advice to patients who are managing long term conditions
- Recommend changes to prescriptions and give advice on prescribing.
Paramedics and EMTs
Paramedics and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) are on the very front lines of public healthcare; acting as first responders to give first aid and care to those in emergency and life-threatening conditions. As a result, their role in our National Health Service cannot be overstated!
Both will often work in extremely pressurised environments, any time of day or night, 365-days per year. Whilst it can be tough, being a Paramedic or EMT is perhaps one of the most rewarding and satisfying allied health professions – making an immediate and often life changing difference to people from all walks of life. Their primary duties include:
- Driving and staffing ambulances and other emergency response vehicles
- Being first responders to emergency 999 calls
- Assessing patients, providing emergency treatment and making diagnoses to help further treatment at hospitals
- Dressing wounds or physical injuries
- Using specialist life-saving equipment, including ventilators and defibrillators.
Allied health professionals who work as physiotherapists help restore and maintain a person’s own mobility, function and wellbeing after an injury or physical illness. This is done through a combination of specific physical exercises, health and fitness regimes and rehabilitation activities.
Physiotherapists will be experts in the science of movement. They learn how to pinpoint an injury’s root causes and not only develop treatments to help restore a patient’s mobility, but also offer help and advice to help prevent future similar injuries. If you’re into your sports and physical activities, the role of physiotherapist would certainly suit you! Here’s a brief overview of their primary responsibilities:
- Directly helping patients recover from accident injuries or physical illnesses
- Organising therapeutic physical exercise sessions to help patients regain their mobility
- Using more specialist techniques such as electrotherapy and ultrasound to diagnose and treat physical illnesses or injuries
- Collecting statistics and data to refine patient treatments.
Of course, the roles we’ve listed here barely scratch the surface of the Allied Health profession, and more specialist roles include:
- Arts Therapy
- Biomedical Sciences
- Clinical Neurophysiology
- Clinical Psychology
- Clinical Research
- Medical Engineering
- Mental Health Worder
- Occupational Therapy