A career in healthcare is a great way to utilise your compassion, dedication and determination to help others and promote the wellbeing of the public. In 2018 nearly 2 million people worked in the healthcare sector across the UK, proving just how popular a career within the industry is.
There are many misconceptions about working in healthcare. One assumption is that the only career paths are front-line medical careers such as doctors and nurses. These are impressive careers obtained from the relevant university degree, but they are not the whole picture. You can work in healthcare and not work anywhere near a hospital, or never interact with patients; whatever your skill set and personality, there will be a graduate career in healthcare for you.
The healthcare sector covers everything from medical care, mental health, dentistry, finance and administration, midwifery, management, nutrition and diet, optometry and opticians, healthcare science, pharmaceuticals, medical research and much more. Here at Developing a Student, we want to encourage all graduates to consider a career in healthcare, no matter your degree or background. Many people with humanities, arts or non-related science degrees go on to have fulfilled and successful careers in healthcare.
Here are just some of the many options for careers in healthcare. For more information, visit our Graduate Career Paths Hub and find more details on healthcare or social care.
1. Careers in the NHS
Perhaps your interest in working in the healthcare sector is focused on working for our National Health Service. The NHS is our government-funded free health and medical care service, which believes everybody in the UK deserves equal access to an excellent standard of health care. The NHS values are respect, dignity, commitment to quality of care, compassion and improving lives. If you share these values, then a role in the NHS might be for you.
There are many different roles within the NHS, including medical roles such as doctors, nurses, paramedics and surgeons. Some examples of non-medical graduate schemes include:
- Graduate Management Training Scheme: This is a highly competitive graduate programme which trains you to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to lead and manage the service as it moves forward. You may progress into Financial Management, General Management, Health Analysis, Policy and Strategy or Human Resources. For more information, visit the NHS webpage.
- Graduate Digital, Data and Technology Scheme: This programme is aimed at those with IT and Technology degrees and STEM degrees who want to put those skills into healthcare informatics and technology. This is an excellent opportunity to use your IT skills in a socially conscious, compassionate and helpful way. This scheme has many career options; you could work in analysis, security, IT infrastructure and much more.
2. Healthcare policy
Instead of working directly for a medical institution, you could work on the policy and governmental side of healthcare. We have the brightest and sharpest minds in the UK developing healthcare policies and strategies so that the complex operations of the NHS can run smoothly and to budget.
The Department of Health and Social Care runs a graduate programme called the Health Policy Fast Track Scheme. This recruits talented graduates from all over the UK to come and work within the government department. The scheme provides hands-on experience within the political environment and presents how government policy relating to healthcare is devised and delivered.
For more information on this graduate programme, visit the NHS webpage.
3. Careers in Mental Health
It can be easy to forget that healthcare covers mental and emotional health and wellbeing as well as physical. Furthermore, many people find careers in mental health to be extremely rewarding. The World Health Organisation predicts one in four people will suffer from a mental health condition/illness at some point in their life. A career in mental health can help you make a difference to these adults and children. Mental health career options can include:
- Counselling: Counsellors help people to discuss their problems and feelings in a confidential setting. To become a counsellor as a graduate, you can consider doing a postgraduate, a further diploma, or a counselling-specific training course.
- Clinical psychology: Clinical psychologists deal with a wide range of mental illnesses and help people to lead a more fulfilled and functioning life through the study of behaviour and feeling.
- Psychotherapist: A psychotherapist undertakes formal and specialist training to help people with complex mental health problems. As well as overcoming stress, dealing with relationship issues, grief and troublesome habits.
For more information on careers in mental health, visit the NHS page on psychological professions.