Video: Introduction to Careers in Healthcare

In an effort to provide my advisees with year-round, 24/7 support in their career development, I have been working on producing more digital content. This video is designed to guide exploring students through resources that focus on career options in healthcare. While this video was created with students from the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics in mind, it is appropriate for anyone who is interested in learning more about the world of healthcare as a career path. An hour-long version of this workshop was given to attendees of the Health Professions Highway in June 2017, a week-long pre-college immersion program designed for students interested in the health professions.

I hope you enjoy this video, and if you are still exploring, connect with your advisor today! If you have trouble with the video below, an external link can be found here. A transcript can be found below the video.

(Introductory title slide)

Hello! My name is Kimberly White and I serve as Career Advisor to students in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, as well as a liaison to international students.

Today, I will be sharing resources for students and alumni interested in learning more about careers in the healthcare industry. The goal of this presentation is to provide you with examples of careers in healthcare, online resources for exploring the education and skill requirements for various careers, and advice for your own journey.

As you continue to reflect on life after DU, know that Career & Professional Development is here to support you. C&PD offers a variety of resources for exploring students and alumni, including career & personality assessments, tips for making professional connections, and LinkedIn profile reviews. Be sure to contact your advisor today! You can find a list of advisors and their liaison areas on this slide. If you are a Daniels student, you are welcome to meet with C&PD staff or visit your dedicated advisors in Daniels. Either way, you are in good hands!

Major & Career Exploration (slide)

So, there are many resources available to you as you are researching career options. We will touch on many resources today, and there will be a slide at the end that you can take a screenshot or photo of for future use. I’m going to start with more general resources that can be used whether you choose to pursue healthcare or another discipline. O*NET and the Bureau of Labor Statistics are two great places to begin exploring. These websites are maintained by the federal government and contain a wealth of information on salary data, job outlook, the education and skill set required to enter a given profession, and sample job titles. I recommend beginning with O*NET to research your options for “careers in X” and then use the BLS to more deeply research specific industry areas and job titles.

In addition, Pioneer Careers has great information for students interested in learning more about where DU graduates are going and what they are up to. Under “Research Tools,” you can find salary data, industry areas, and job titles for graduates by college.

If you are interested in additional support, please contact your advisor! C&PD has great resources to help you to explore career paths of our graduates more deeply, including featured job titles and

Explore Health Careers (slide)

If you are still exploring your options but want to focus more deeply on the healthcare industry, Explore Health Careers is an excellent place to begin. Explore Health Careers features detailed information about a number of healthcare pathways, and you can browse careers based on interest area or specialty, salary, job outlook, and education requirements.

Explore Health Careers 2 (slide)

This is what you might see if you use Explore Health Careers to search for professions by salary and education requirements. Some examples of job titles, by schooling requirements, are to the left. It is important to note that these pathways are not independent of one another. Many of our pre-health students choose to become EMTs or CNAs (immediate service) to obtain experience while they are in college, which is a great way to prepare for professional school.

I also would like to point out the diversity of career options in the healthcare industry. While we often visualize direct patient care when we think of healthcare, pathways such as Health Administration are excellent for students interested in information technology, electronic medical records and advocating for patient privacy, and the intersection of management and healthcare.

Top 7 Healthcare Jobs that Need to be Filled by 2020 (slide)

This infographic from highlights a few health professions that are enjoying a great deal of growth at this point in time. I encourage you to consider these pathways, especially if they fit in with your interests and skill sets. It’s important to note that physical therapists, physician assistants, registered nurses, and pharmacists all serve as key members of a patient care team, despite different education requirements and essential skill sets.

The best way to learn…is to do! (slide)

I hope that these resources will serve you well as you explore career options in healthcare. While online research is a great avenue for exploration, I highly encourage you to take your search a step further. As you begin to narrow down health professions by your interests and needs, begin looking into what a “day in the life” might be for a physician assistant or a pharmacist. There is so much that you can learn by doing.

Volunteer and shadowing experiences are ideal, and can be added to your resume. For some health professions, particularly those that require continued education, these hours might be a requirement so it is in your favor to start obtaining experience early in your undergraduate career. Physical therapy programs are a great example as they require both inpatient and outpatient observation hours.

As you volunteer or shadow, I suggest bringing a small notebook along with you and jotting down your observations. If you’re shadowing a neonatal nurse, consider the duties required of this specialty and the work environment. Is the NICU an environment where I may thrive, or am I seeking something a little bit more fast-paced like the ER?

Be sure to ask questions in these experiences, too. Even if you have an idea of what you want to do after graduation, take some time to interview different members of the care team to get a better idea of where your desired profession might fit in with the group.

How do I reach out? (slide 1)

How do I get started, if I know I want to volunteer or shadow? The best way to begin is by tapping into your professional network, and yes, as a DU student or alum, you do have one already! Share your career journey with close friends, professors, or connections that you’ve made on Pioneer Connect to get an idea of who might be able to support you in your development. It might also serve you well to research faculty pages on the DU website to learn more about research opportunities, and be sure to connect with professors who are doing research that you might be interested in.

If you aren’t quite ready to make the jump, that’s ok! I highly recommend the 5280 Top Docs series on YouTube. Denver Health has uploaded a number of quick informational interviews that highlight the career paths and interests of many physicians.

How do I reach out? (slide 2)

Here’s an example of an outreach message. If you find a faculty member or alum whose work piques your interest, reach out to them! It’s crucial to put yourself out there to build your network. I like this sample message because it’s quick, professional, and follows a very specific format. The writer introduces themselves and highlights a referral (not required, but certainly never hurts!), shares their goals, and ends with an action item (“would you be available to meet with me in the next couple of weeks”) and ends with a thank you. This “script” also works for a cold call, or if you choose to approach a professor after class or in an office hours setting and want to deepen your connection with them.

What questions should I ask? (slide)

Once you make that initial point of contact, you’ll want to come up with key questions to ask. While an informational interview should still be a conversation, you can (and should) reflect on what you hope to get out of the discussion beforehand. I’ve bolded some questions that could be asked in any informational interview, but you might want to pick and choose more detailed questions depending on the person you’ll be meeting with. Be sure to ask faculty insightful questions about their research, or healthcare providers about their approach to patient-centered care.

These conversations, if you are intentional about what you choose to ask, can provide you with key insider insights about your desired career path, and gives you the opportunity to tap into each individual’s network (see the final, bolded question).

Thank you for taking the time to explore careers in healthcare with me! If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to Career & Professional Development. If you are interested in further career exploration in the sciences, I will be offering a mini-course on this topic in the spring quarter. Stay tuned, and have a great day!

By Kimberly English
Kimberly English Career Advisor