Common Misconceptions about Healthcare Careers
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2021

Common Misconceptions about Healthcare Careers

A robust healthcare workforce is at the heart of Vermont’s communities and part of what makes Vermont such a beautiful and healthy place to live. And healthcare jobs come with significant benefits. To start with, health systems are often among the largest and most reliable employers, especially in rural areas. Healthcare jobs often offer better pay, health coverage, and time off, compared with entry level jobs in many other industries. And the jobs provide the emotional satisfaction of helping those in need. Sadly, people often hold misconceptions about what working in health care would be like.

“A healthcare job wouldn’t be right for me; I don’t like blood and guts.” This is a common misconception. While we need people who are unfazed by intense medical situations, there are a lot of great jobs that don’t require that particular trait. No matter what you’re interested in, you can find a rewarding job in health care.

Have experience in customer service? You might be a good fit for access services or patient coordinator jobs, the first people patients encounter when they enter the hospital or medical practice. Did you love science in high school? You may enjoy working in the lab. If math is your thing, look for jobs in the billing department. Are you good with computers? There is an information systems department that manages all of the hospital’s technology.

“But I don’t have a degree or any experience in health care.” You don’t need a big degree to work in health care. There are hundreds of jobs, especially in entry-level clinical roles or in non-clinical support roles, that may be a nearly perfect fit for your existing skill set. Patient safety associates and nutrition and dining staff, for instance, are two jobs that require no prior experience. Many—like those in access services—require no training beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. The initial education requirements for many other jobs like pharmacy tech, medical assistant, licensed nursing assistant, or laboratory staff can be met in as little as a few weeks or months.

“I don’t know what kind of job I want.” You don’t have to know! An entry-level healthcare job is a great vantage point for seeing all of the different types of careers available, both in hospitals and outside. You will likely be attracted to a particular type of work and have valuable opportunities to ask questions of the person doing the job. The answers will no doubt help you build a satisfying career that you can be proud of.

“I don’t want to get stuck at the bottom rung of the career ladder.” Growing talent is one thing health systems do really well. If you excel in an entry-level position, there are lots of opportunities to grow your responsibilities and your salary. Everywhere you look there are great examples of people who have done it: a former access services staff member now leads a team in the information services department, a former housekeeper leads the medical infusion area, and a former cook now leads the housekeeping department! Some of our most influential nurse leaders started as techs in the Emergency Department or as Licensed Nursing Assistants. 

SVMC offers substantial tuition assistance and scholarships, if you want to advance your education towards a specific position. So many of our staff members work and attend classes at the same time. They are on their way to greater career satisfaction and a higher quality of life.

Whether you are just entering the workforce or looking to change careers, healthcare jobs are different than you might expect and offer some real advantages. Visit svhealthcare.org/careers to explore the options.

Polly Cipperly is the director of Human Resources at Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington.

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