Medical and healthcare: career FAQs

22 Jun 2023, 13:21

Graduate careers in medical and healthcare: including getting a job, applications, working life and salaries.

Healthcare professional in scrubs taking notes on a clipboard.

How can I get a medical and healthcare job?

Many jobs in medicine and healthcare are in the public sector so they tend to be formally advertised in the press and official websites. There are some recruitment agencies that specialise in the healthcare sector so it is worth researching these. Most organisations in this sector are large so they will have an HR department; applying directly is also an alternative. While graduate training schemes don’t exist per se, all entry-level clinical roles involve on-going supervision and training by more senior colleagues.

What are the different areas of work?

The range of different specialist roles is extremely wide and in fact due to advances in medicine and management structures, they are changing regularly.

Within the clinical arena there are up to 60 different specialities covering such areas as general practice, surgery, paediatrics, pathology, psychiatry, opthamology, cardiology and anaesthetics.

Administrative or technical roles include areas such as human resources, information technology, waste management, buildings and facilities management.

Commercial roles cover areas such as product development, sales and marketing management.

What’s involved in the application process?

CVs and application forms are both common within this sector. With regard to clinical interviews, it is quite common to have very large panel interviews (this is especially true of the public health sector). Clinical CVs may include details of published research etc. and therefore may be longer than an average CV. Assessment centres are not at all common.

When should I apply?

Recruitment is continuous and usually jobs are advertised in the national press. There are some recruitment agencies that specialise in the medical and healthcare sector because it such a large and specialist area.

What qualifications and skills do I need to work in medical and healthcare?

For clinical roles you will need to have the required clinical qualification to gain entry but there are also many other skills required. These include analytical ability and problem solving; excellent attention to detail; and an ability to work under pressure and to consider multiple factors simultaneously.

Other interpersonal traits that are sought after include excellent communication skills and high levels of motivation and perseverance – early careers can be tough and require hard work and commitment.

Administrative skills focus on efficiency, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and excellent attention to detail. A good customer service attitude and commitment to quality are also sought after.

Commercial roles require excellent interpersonal ability and communication/ negotiation skills. In addition, resilience and an ability to cope with change and to assimilate new information quickly are all required.

What are the opportunities for professional development?

Further training is always available and is a prerequisite when working in the clinical side of this sector. In fact anyone considering entering this area should be aware that they will be training and advancing their knowledge throughout their career. Clinical qualifications include membership of relevant professional organisations.

What is working life like?

Shift hours are the norm in the clinical arena. At the beginning of a clinical career you have to be prepared to work long hours and to be internationally mobile as international experience enhances your CV significantly.

Sales/commercial roles can involve a lot of national and international travel but this depends on the product and region.

Administrative jobs are more standard with office hours being the norm.

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