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The first guide in a series about health and social care careers.

Overview of the healthcare industry

The health and social care industry is vast, varied and rewarding. Whether you already have one of the qualifications required, or are thinking about applying to a health and social care course at the College of West Anglia. This career guide will give you an idea of the different career areas you can go into, examples of just some of the different job roles you could go into within those areas, and the qualifications you need to achieve them.

Plus, we’ve got some inspiring stories from some College of West Anglia health and social care graduates.

Whether you want to be involved in treating patients directly, researching and developing new medical advancements, or working in vital administrative roles, here are just some of the health and social care areas in which you could find your calling.

  • Ambulance services
  • Care homes or hospices
  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine (doctor, surgeon, GP)
  • Medical research
  • Customer care
  • Health clinics
  • Marketing
  • IT
  • Physiotherapy
  • Administration and management
  • Medical equipment sales
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Biomedical science or pathology
  • Pharmacy
  • Opticians or optometry
  • Psychology or Therapy
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • HR
  • Hospitality

The possibilities are endless in health and social care. The industry works like a huge machine, with each part working together to make real differences to people’s lives every day. The NHS is the largest employer in Europe, employing more than 1.5 million people in more than 250 different roles.

Treating patients

If you’re considering a career that involves dealing with patients on a daily basis, you could find yourself in one of many career paths. Here are just two of them.

Doctor (General Practitioner) - GPs diagnose and treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and specialists, if necessary. They work in the communities, caring for patients with chronic illnesses and are usually the first point of contact for anyone with a medical problem. To be a GP you need to have a medical degree, followed by completion of a two-year foundation programme. You then specialise as a General Practitioner, doing a three-year programme which includes 18-24 months training in hospitals, paediatrics, geriatric medicine, A&E, gynaecology, etc, followed by a final 12-18 months as a GP Speciality Registrar in General Practice.

Find out how a college course can start you off on your journey

Adult Nurse – an Adult Nurse is responsible for the hands-on care of patients, assessing and attending to the needs of adults of all ages and improving their quality of life. The setting could be as varied as hospital wards, GP surgeries, prisons, nursing homes, clinics and more and working in all aspects of healthcare. To apply for a nursing degree you need a Level 3 qualification equivalent to three A-Levels, plus GCSEs in English, Maths and Science. Your personal skills are also highly important, especially communication, caring, judgement, courage, organisation and compassion.

Of course, you’re not just limited to those roles. You could also choose to be a Midwife, Dentist, Children’s Nurse, Ambulance Paramedic, Optician, Pharmacist, Dietician, Psychologist, Physiotherapist and so much more. For a full list of careers, click here.

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