You want to work in medical services?
Read about the scope of the work, starting a career, progressing a career and the qualification pathways open to you!
Medical services include those provided through hospitals and clinics and can include alternative therapies as well as mainstream ones. There are literally hundreds of possible roles in medicine and medical services. From highly trained and specialist roles, to administration and data support. Roles may include doctors, dentists, nurses, and a wide range of specialty services.
Scope of Work
Careers in the medical field and in support services are hugely variable. All roles revolve around patient or client health. Those who treat patients directly like doctors, dentists and nurses have particular responsibilities which come with their role. There are some things which most of these people do on a daily basis, including:
- Assessment of a client or patient's health
- Diagnosis of health conditions
- Occupation specific activities e.g. dental work such as tooth extraction
- Seeking consent for treatment
- Treatment planning
- Implementing treatment
- Assessing and monitoring health
- Keeping patient records
- Making referrals
- Arranging for hospital admissions
- Organising follow-up treatments
- Assessment - physical health, mental state, referral procedures
- Physical health - knowledge of diseases, signs & symptoms, course, comorbidity
- Terminology - medical terms and meanings
- Practical skills - use of equipment, machinery, anesthetics, materials
- Science - biology, physiology, chemistry
- Psychopharmacology - use & effects of medications
- Communication skills - verbal, non-verbal, educating clients/patients, bedside manner
- Legal & ethical issues - confidentiality, multicultural competence, informed consent
- Health & safety - knowledge of OH&S procedures
- Writing skills - note taking, report writing, record keeping
- Planning skills - organising appointments, planning interventions, working out schedules
Starting a Career
Whilst some people take a direct route into the medical field through taking appropriate courses, there are others who end up in this field having taken different pathways.
For example, someone might spend a number of years in the army before training to become an ambulance officer. Another person might work as a counsellor before deciding that they want to be a nurse. A dental assistant might go on to become a dentist, or a dental receptionist might decide that they would rather be a dental assistant. All these things are possible but if the medical field is an area which interest you, there are some things you could do to help start a career which heads in the right direction.
To get a feel for the medical field and gain some relevant experience, the following are useful:
- Volunteer to work in related fields e.g. St John's Ambulance
- Get a first aid certificate
- Take part time or full time jobs in hospitals, clinics etc. where you can submerge yourself in the medical environment (e.g. as a receptionist, assistant, etc.)
- Look for work with medical supplies companies where you can learn about equipment
- Take some relevant foundation courses
Progressing a Career
To progress a career in the medical sector requires you to undertake further training and to continuously keep learning. This is true for everyone, not just those with the most taxing jobs. It is also true whether you work in the public or private sector. Everyone in the medical field has an onus to offer the best service they can to their patients or clients by keeping their health and well-being as their priority.
Ways you can continue to progress your career include:
- Enrol for workshops - both those provided in-house and ones offered outside of work
- Join a professional body which represents your work - you'll get access to useful information, invites to conferences, and other useful perks
- Network - use social media, go to industry events, fundraising events, etc.
- Take courses - online or part time courses can help you boost knowledge in areas where it may be deficient
- Learn new skills - if possible try to learn new skills which enable you to diversify.
Available ACS Qualification Progression Pathway
A medical receptionist greets clients and patients in a clinical setting, organises computerised records and files, is responsible for data security, organises GP’s or Consultants diaries, liaises with external stakeholders as required.
This type of role is suitable for a meticulously organised individual with a kind and patient nature. You will be required to have a sensitive and professional approach when dealing with personal information and requests.
Download your own Medical Support Services Course Progression Pathway here.
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