What Is a Healthcare Practitioner and How Do I Become One?

Healthcare Practitioner
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The American healthcare industry is worth $3,504 trillion. Our need for qualified healthcare practitioners continues to grow. In fact, in just 10 years, the US will have 40,800 unfilled posts for physicians.

Are you interested in becoming a healthcare professional? Read on to learn more. We’ll answer all your questions like: “What is a healthcare practitioner and how do you become one?”

What is a Healthcare Practitioner?

The term healthcare practitioner is a wide definition that includes people who are authorized by their state to practice in a specific field of healthcare.

So, what is a healthcare practitioner exactly? Well, healthcare practitioners offer medical services in various medical areas such as nursing, physical therapy, midwifery, social health work, chiropractic, dentistry, and much more.

Physicians are also a type of healthcare practitioner. 

The term health care provider is often used as a synonym for a healthcare practitioner.

Education, training, and licensing requirements vary greatly between healthcare specializations and can take prospective professionals anywhere from one to eight or more years of schooling. 

How to Become a Healthcare Provider

Because healthcare practitioners have such varied and unique roles, there is no one path that all providers follow.

The best thing you can do is to first figure out what type of healthcare professional you want to be. Consider the type of work, the type of clients you can expect to deal with and the amount of schooling to see if that would suit you.

For example, if you want to become a paramedic, you will need to enroll in an EMT training course. This can take up to two years to complete.

Then you will need to pass a State Exam in order to become certified.

Generally, most jobs in healthcare require a bachelor’s degree. 

If you aren’t sure which avenue is best for you, start by taking some online healthcare classes to get a better sense of what field you are interested in.

Become Licensed

In some roles, a license isn’t required to be hired. Yet, you should still consider becoming licensed even if it isn’t a requirement for employment.

When you are licensed or board certified in your field, you boost your career and earning prospects. You are also more likely to get hired over another candidate that does not have his or her licensing.

Also, becoming licensed lends you credibility. Your patients will trust your opinion and follow your advice more readily if you have a certification or license to promote your credibility. 

Qualities of Healthcare Professionals

People in healthcare work with people from all walks of life. Depending on your specialty, you might work with people with chronic illnesses, the young or elderly, or those who are facing trauma or homelessness. 

It is vital for healthcare professionals to be caring and kind. Empathy is important in this line of work if you want to make a difference in the lives of your patients. 

Here are some of the other qualities of healthcare practitioners. 

Passion for the Work

Working in healthcare will be demanding and challenging (both physically and emotionally). Yet, if you love the work and have a deep commitment to helping others, you can feel very fulfilled by your work.

Good Communication Skills

A large part of your role in healthcare will be communication-based. You will need to discuss patients with other medical professionals, talk to patients directly about their treatment plan, and sometimes speak to the family members of your patients.

It is important that you build trust with your patients. That way you will be better able to understand their needs and help them feel safe and supported no matter what they are going through.

Ability to Multitask

Multitasking skills are hugely important in healthcare jobs. You likely will have multiple patients at a time or have a large caseload of patients you need to keep straight.

You will also need to keep up-to-date with your notes or reporting even as new patients are added to your plate.

If you work in a hospital, long-term-care facility, or other busy environment, the need to multitask is crucial.

Honed Problem-Solving Skills

As a healthcare professional, no two days are the same. You will see new challenges come up all the time because each patient is unique.

You will need to use your problem-solving skills to help you work through an issue rationally and calmly to come up with a solution that your patient is happy with.

Sometimes, your patients will disagree with your expert opinion. You will have to use your problem-solving skills to help sway your patient or find an alternative course of action. 

Participate in Continuing Education

Once you are working as a healthcare practitioner, the work isn’t over. It is important for you to keep your skills sharp by investing in continuing education.

The breakneck speed of technology and medical advances we are witnessing make it important for you to stay up-to-date within your specialization.

Most certification boards require a certain amount of continuing education coursework within a set amount of time. It may be a set number of hours within a 1-3 year period.

Often conferences, online programs, and lectures are acceptable and count towards your continuing education requirements. Yet, each certification board is different.

Final Word

We hope this article has answered all your questions including “What is a healthcare practitioner?” Now you can move forward in exploring the right field of study for you. 

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