When you walk the halls of a healthcare facility — especially the hospital — you will notice all the letters after the doctors’ names.
However, I’m happy to report that there are MANY great, behind-the-scenes health care careers that are keeping patients and community happy and healthy all across the CapNY.
Many of us non-medical workers have had to Google a long clinical acronym or ask Siri to explain the medical condition discussed in today’s 9 AM meeting. In fact, I learned today that the health care industry is also referred to as the “medical industry.” This sector includes any business that facilitates getting healthcare to patients. Think: urgent care and pharmaceuticals to insurance companies and beyond.
Those of us without clinical backgrounds have very rewarding and successful careers in the healthcare industry. And, once you are in with an organization, the opportunities are endless.
Check out these seven exciting non-clinical career paths you might want to consider.
1. Vendor and Contract Management, Health Insurance Provider
Neil O’Brien-Bosselman, Director, Program Management, Ancillary Contracts at MVP Healthcare has a great perspective on the wide variety of opportunities and backgrounds in the healthcare industry.
“Operational teams in the Health Insurance space are made up mostly of non-healthcare professionals who have very diverse educational and work experience. For example, my team has backgrounds in business administration, finance, and data science. Their skills and previous work history provide them with a unique approach to solving operational issues. We think outside of the box and aren’t afraid to take risks.”
Neil wants young professionals to know there is always significant growth potential in the health insurance model. It is an ever-changing world – and MVP in particular, is always hiring for many different types of professionals.
2. Fundraising & Philanthropy
Almost all hospitals have a Foundation or Philanthropy legs of their organization. Many projects and new equipment are likely partially or entirely funded by grants and/or community donors. These professionals excel at relationship building and community involvement in order to secure these generous gifts.
“There is an incredible responsibility that comes with supporting the community,” says Victoria Hostig, Director, Community Relations & Executive Director, CDPHP The Foundation. “The real magic happens when you meet the people who are being helped by your gifts. We take great pride in working with more than 600 not-for-profit organizations each year.”
Her advice for someone interested in this type of role: lead with a passion for giving back to the community. This job is not about giving away money. It’s about making an impact on people.”
3. Operations and Safety
Taylor Mickle, Manager of Operations and Safety at Ellis Medicine, started as a part-time transporter when he was an undergrad. Now, he is managing large projects within the department of mental health. “There are always new challenges that come up, and my days never feel stagnant. I often get to wear many hats, working on finance or project management to patient, staff, and environmental safety. There are so many different things in a day — I do not just sit at a desk. I am always learning something new, which allows me to grow professionally”.
His advice for anyone interested in heading down a career in healthcare…get involved in any way that you can. Try an internship or an entry-level position. Healthcare is no different than any other field; there is always a place for hardworking, dedicated professionals. When he first started, one thing that surprised him was him not having a lot of healthcare experience or a clinical background was not unique. It was actually very common!
4. Dining & Nutritional/Culinary Services
The thought and creativity put into food offerings in healthcare cafeterias is really impressive. Depending on the hospital, there are thousands of employees alone that eat their meals here, plus hundreds of patients who must eat well to aid in their healing. And, family members and visitors need good food while putting in bedside shifts.
“I get up every day ready to come to work. I was biology major, and, thanks to this job, I’ve discovered a real love for food service. It’s a fast-paced environment and very rewarding,” says Steven Stannard of Albany Medical Center. “Every day is different and I love the family environment. We work as a team.” “There are good benefits and the people are great,” says fellow AMC employee, Rukundo Nsanzurwanda
Food service employees also appreciate the stability and comraderie of healthcare. Chef Carol Gaggi of Ellis Hospital says, “I worked in restaurants first but they did not have any perks, like set schedules, benefits, vacations, etc. I really like the stable hours, the ability to do different jobs and of course, the people.”
5. Marketing & Communications
I may be partial, but I think the marketing teams have the best jobs in healthcare. If you get jazzed about being involved with just about everything, have endless curiosity, and thrive in a diverse environment – then dive headfirst into marketing and communications in the healthcare space.
In my first year at Ellis, I was part of four major advertising campaigns that included eye-opening focus groups, an autopsy (yes, you read that right, I asked to see an autopsy), large scale public relations efforts, and over 20 sponsorships and community events. And remember, I have absolutely zero clinical experience or background. I have often left a meeting with a list of ‘things to Google’ so that I could quickly sound somewhat knowledgeable on what a pulmonary embolism is or what acute care entails. But all of these moments and experiences are what continue to make my job so exciting.
6. Project Management and Business Development
Cailin Burke, Sr. Project Management Specialist at St. Peter’s Health Partners started her healthcare career in the Volunteer Dept. and quickly took on more and more responsibility. Now she helps lead different key business initiatives at St. Peters Medical Associates in partnership with a variety of different service lines and medical practices. “Healthcare is an incredibly rewarding industry to work in and is unlike any other industry I’ve experienced. It’s fast paced, ever-changing and demanding. The best qualities to embrace as a healthcare employee is patience and resilience.” Like many of us in healthcare the reward is always greater than any challenges. Even ‘behind the scenes’ work like project management makes a significant impact on the care patients receive and their experience.
7. Organizational Development and Human Resources
An enthusiastic Gen Z in the infancy of her career, Naresha Murray, Organization Development and Training Coordinator at Ellis, is involved in duties way outside of the realm of HR. In her “official” role, she manages the Employee Orientation program, which exposes her to all areas of the organization. As one of the first faces our newest employees see when coming on board, she welcomes and guides them through their first days as part of the Ellis family.
Naresha is also part of the Code Gray Response Team. I was surprised to hear that anyone would choose to be involved in this crisis diversion group. As part of the response team, when a Code Gray (violence in the workplace – primarily in the ED or on our Mental Health Units) is called, she, along with a team of other employees, work to diffuse the situation. It’s a high adrenaline change of pace for her from her usual to-do list. “The balance of having both keeps me challenged, motivated, and continuously growing. I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of something that I had once assumed was only appropriate for those with a clinical background”.
These are only seven non-clinical career paths one can take within the healthcare industry, there are so many more and at different levels of an organization. Just remember to have an open mind, absorb all that you can, be flexible, ask questions, and know that wherever you are and whatever you are doing in this industry, you are making a difference in the lives of patients and your community. Oh, and, whether it be a hospital or an insurance company, they are ALWAYS hiring!
Written by: Leah Lapointe
Leah is the Marketing & Communications Manager at Ellis Hospital.