Resources for exploring health fields

Many students are confident that they want to pursue a career in a health profession, but are unclear about which fields would be the best fit with their skills and interests. 

We encourage exploring students to check out Explorehealthcareers.org, where they can learn more about healthcare fields that they may be less familiar with, including the outlook for future employment. 

The Health Professions Recruiting Collaborative at UW Medical Center has compiled a helpful guide to the programs offered at UW in “A Profession for Every Passion”. 

For each of the 13 professions profiled, they provide insights as to whether this profession would be a good fit, based upon what the students like to study and how they want to interact with patients and other healthcare providers.  

The best way to learn more about different careers in healthcare is to spend time in clinical settings! Students are encouraged to get both professional-facing and patient-facing time, as these experiences help confirm that your chosen health profession is a good fit with both your interests and skills.  

The Career Center provides an extensive list of health-related volunteer opportunities in the Puget Sound area here

Be sure to check out our short video on the topic here: Getting Great Clinical Exposure

UW School of Medicine provides some great advice for pre-med students seeking to make the most of their shadowing on their website here.

They include a list of helpful reflection questions that can aid in extracting meaning from both provider- and patient-facing time, including the following: 

  • Can I see myself doing what this provider does on a daily basis?
  • What are the joys and frustrations of this career?
  • Am I drawn to diagnostic problem solving?
  • Am I drawn to procedures?
  • How does a provider learn more about his/her patients’ personal lives? How is this knowledge factored into the patients’scare?
  • How does the provider relate to their patients?
  • What factors seem to play into how the patients respond to the provider ?
  • How do I feel when there is no “cure” or treatment options?
  • How do I feel about chronic problems compared with acute problems?
  • How do I feel when I see patients who don’t listen to advice or who don’t take good care of their health?
  • Do I like situations in which a decision has to be made quickly?
  • What did the provider do when they didn’t know the answer to something?

Finally, health professional associations provide descriptions of the core competencies that they think will be necessary for success in those professions. Below are examples of these from three common health professions: medicine, dentistry and pharmacy:

By Dan Poux
Dan Poux Career Coach Dan Poux