Careers in Health and Social Care - CV Plaza

Careers in Health and Social Care

Overview

Do you like working with people?
Do you like helping and caring for others?
Then a career in Health and Social Care could be the right option for you!

This sector is primarily focused on working, helping and caring for people in need. The aim of professionals in this field is to work together as a team to save and improve lives.

There is a wide-variety of careers available in this exciting sector ranging from nurses, doctors and carers to lab technicians, medical illustrators and therapists.

All the jobs in the healthcare and medicine sector are important and there are huge opportunities for people with all kinds of talents and abilities to contribute and make a real difference.

Barbara M. Swanson states in the introduction of her book Careers in Health Care: “The demand for medical services has never been greater, and the opportunities for serving are more diverse and, in most cases, more plentiful than ever before.” (Introduction xiv, 2005)

Many professionals in this industry love their jobs, receive immense job satisfaction from just day-to-day tasks and say that their jobs are like no other jobs in the world.

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Specific areas of work

The sector of Health and Social tend to be broken down into two key areas:

1) Healthcare

Healthcare is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various diseases and illnesses in people. Professionals working in this area of the industry include (but are not limited to); doctors, nurses, paramedics, health visitors, dentists, pharmacists and consultants.

Due to the nature of this sector and the need to attend a person in need; one might be working in different settings such as in hospitals, clinics, patients’ homes or temporary medical facilities.

Working in Healthcare is a very specialist industry and often requires excessive amounts of experience and on-the-job training. A professional working in this environment will be expected to deliver medical attention when necessary as well as ensuring an individual’s health is never at risk.

2) Social Care and Services

Some people in society may need extra care or support to lead a normal life and perform their day-to-day activities. Social care provides this support and covers a wide variety of occupations within this sector. It is often categorised into two main areas of work:

  1. Working with Children: A professional working with children will often be connected to the adoption or fostering system, they will be required to visit children in their homes to ensure they are happy and settled. There may be cases in which they have to remove a child from a home based on evidence they have been given.

    A professional working in this field may also be required to work with children who are struggling emotionally or who are physically ill. In such cases the professional would be required to offer support to that child’s parent or guardian.

  2. Working with vulnerable Adults: Similar to the role of working with children; the professional will be required to offer support and advice to adults that need it. This work may involve supporting vulnerable Adults who may have mental health issues, drug problems or are offenders, elderly or homeless.

This work involves working with people from all walks of life; from children to the older generation and it really is up to the individual to choose the specific area that they would like to work in.

Education and qualifications

Depending on which area of this field a candidate wishes to work in will ultimately depend on what qualifications are required. Both areas have very specific qualifications and requirement needs, but will often require at least 5 GCSEs at grade A-C for entry-level positions.

Senior or specialist positions:

For a candidate to work in a specialist role within Healthcare they are required to carry out a three year diploma or a four year degree course. Relevant experience is not necessary to apply for the diploma or degree course and candidates who have a degree in a similar discipline including; health, biology or social sciences may qualify via shortened two year postgraduate course.

In order to work within Social Care and Services an individual often requires both a degree at a minimum of a 2:2, followed by a postgraduate qualification in Social Work approved by Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), in order to be accepted on to the postgraduate courses many universities look for relevant work experience or an undergraduate in a similar discipline.

Skills and personal attributes

  • Communication skills: It is vital that an individual is able to communicate with different types of people, including children and vulnerable adults. It is through these particular skills that a professional will be able to offer the help and support the patients need.
  • Written skills: In many cases a professional may be asked to produce written reports and therefore they must be able to produce clear and concise documents which should also be understood by people outside of this sector.
  • Team working skills: An individual working in this environment will often be part of a large team; as such the need for team working skills is vital. When working in the Health sector professionals must ensure that both their communication and team working skills are used effectively to ensure their job is carried out correctly.
  • Work on your own initiative: Often a professional will have to act based on the situation presented to them and their initiative, it is vital that they are capable of working under pressure as well as remaining calm at all times.
  • Organisational skills: A professional working in this environment will often be working with more than one person at a time, therefore it is extremely important that a candidate is organised to ensure that relevant tasks are completed too and all meetings are attended.
  • Listening skills: This is something which is often overlooked but given the nature of this role, the ability to listen and understand is vital.
  • Flexibility: Most roles in this industry are not the standard 9-5 (Monday – Friday) jobs and therefore a candidate wanting to work within this field must be able to work unsociable hours as well as the possibility of being on call.

Pay and benefits

Professionals within this sector can expect to receive good salaries with exceptional benefits from their employer, especially in regards to training and development.

Depending on which area of this sector an individual chooses to work for will ultimately result in their pay. A breakdown of this information is as follows:

  1. Medicine and Nursing: A fully qualified Nurse can expect the starting salary of £21,000 rising to £28,000 with experience.
  2. Social Services: A Social Worker within the NHS can expect a starting salary of around £24,000, increasing to £34,000 with experience.

Note: Given the broadness of this sector many choose not to work for the NHS, however these salary bounds are also often adapted by private companies within the sector. Please refer to the actual job adverts for specific salary information.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Likes and advantages

  1. Working with and Helping People: Professionals within this industry often comment on how rewarding their jobs are based upon their experience of helping their fellow human beings. This sector is very much hands on and gives individuals the chance to witness exactly what they are achieving and how they are helping people.
  2. Not a Desk Job: This role is far from a desk job and it is in fact very rare that a professional will be expected to be at their desk for a long period of time. There may, however, be situations in which they have to produce reports or documents.
  3. Fast-Pace environment: This is a constant fast-paced environment which involves working with a variety of different people to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s safe to say, no two days are ever the same!
  4. Working for the Public Sector: This role often falls into the category of public sector, i.e. NHS and ultimately can provide a lot of advantages for its employees including job security, pensions and training schemes.
  5. Job Progression: Due to the amount of funding and support this sector receives, the ability to train and develop is very accessible and therefore a professional in this environment is exposed to job progression within their particular areas.

Challenges

  1. Long and Unsociable Hours: This is not a 9-5 job and professionals are often expected to work shifts, therefore there is a high chance that an individual will be asked to work late nights and weekends as part of their contracted hours.
  2. Emotive Work: As this role is based around working with people, it can become emotional and professionals in the sector are often exposed to distressing situations and as such any individual wanting to work within this sector must prepare themselves for a similar situation.
  3. Working Under Pressure: Again given the type of role professionals are often expected to work under pressure as well as using their incentive to make quick and responsible decisions. Depending on which area of this sector a candidate may wish to work with ultimately results in the type of pressure they are exposed to, but this type of working environment is consistent throughout the whole sector.

The National Health Service (NHS) employs more than 1.6 million people in various roles across the UK and has a budget of more than £110 billion per year.

The NHS is expected to make savings in the decade to come; however, there are still shortages of medical professionals to fill many roles.

The private healthcare sector has also been growing over the past decade and is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 2% over the next decade due to the demand driven by ageing population and more people suffering from medium-term and long-term conditions.

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    OVERVIEW

    • SALARY RANGE
      £15.000 – £45.000
    • ENTRY
      Degree or Relevant Work Experience
    • WORKING HOURS
      37 – 45 hours per week

    SKILLS PROFILE

    • Strength
      Emotional strength to deal with difficult and stressful situations
    • Caring
      Caring for the physical, social and emotional needs of patients
    • Communication Skills
      Excellent language skills to interact with patients and co-workers
    • Listening Skills
      Ability to listen to patient’s needs, concerns and complaints
    • Organisational Skills
      Excellent organisation skills to balance a heavy workload
    • Attention to Detail
      Paying attention to every aspect of the patient’s care and well-being
    • Writing Skills
      Excellent writing skills to write clear and concise (medical) reports
    • Technical Knowledge
      Possessing sound and specialist knowledge of health and/or social care

    JOB DESCRIPTIONS