The ebb and flow of the job market can be a difficult thing to predict, but one thing is certain – people are always going to need health care.
That’s just one part of the pitch given by Be Something Amazing, a partnership between the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and the SC Department of Education to encourage students to consider the health care field for a viable and exciting career.
Motivated in part by the looming shortage of health care workers – in the next 25 years, the retiree population in South Carolina is expected to double, with a corresponding need for medical care and infrastructure – Be Something Amazing also seeks to emphasize the advantages and desirable qualities of careers in the industry.
To do that, they’ve produced a website and a series of videos, available on the web and DVD, that articulate the meaningful reasons people enjoy careers as health care professionals and the different kinds of interests and skills that can find a home in the medical field. These videos explore both the more familiar positions like doctors, nurses and physical therapists, as well as more behind-the-scenes jobs in specialties like health information management and medical technology.
It's the latter possibilities that can often be the most surprising. Jackie Blake, who got into health informatics after working in a hospital for 10 years, enjoys the process of coding and archiving medical records because it’s a critically important part of the hospital but doesn’t necessitate much patient interaction. And as part of a growing field, there’s lot of opportunity for advancement and professional growth as well.
Other times, though, it’s the sheer passion for the job that comes through. Jerry Dondero, a perfusionist, enjoys the variety of situations and high performance requirements of operating a heart-lung machine and working together as a team during critical surgeries.
“You might be doing certain cases one day and doing totally different ones the next. Every day is different, and the stakes are so high, every day is important,” he said in his video. “I would recommend this job to any student who cares, who wants to be the best when its most important.”
For Stacy Collier, Chief Nursing Officer at Kershaw Health, it’s doing something she loves – taking care of patients – in the community that she grew up in.
“[Nursing] is my heart, and to be able to do that here with people I went to school with, that I go to church with, just makes it even that much more rewarding,” Collier said.
Collier’s point echoes another appealing aspect of a health care career – jobs are available in almost any community you care to live in. That consideration was a big part of why Charlene Simms, a medical technologist, chose her field.
“It’s a very marketable position,” she points out. “Pretty much any place you move is going to have a doctor’s office, laboratory, hospitals. The field that my husband was in, I knew I wasn’t going to be in one place forever and that we would be moved around some. So I knew I’d always be able to find a job.”
These kinds of insights are scattered throughout these videos, all of which feature real-world professionals talking about their education, experience and passion for the job.
Once students become interested, the website also provides a helpful interactive Career Finder that weeds through possible jobs based on education, desired salary and level of patient contact.
With all of these tools, the next step is finding ways to bring their pitch to students, said Morgan Rackley, an Administrative Resident at SCHA who has been spearheading the project. Be Something Amazing has had a presence at Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) conferences, and they’ve started an Instagram account and hashtag, #BeAmazing, geared towards the world teenagers and young people actually inhabit.
For more information and materials about the campaign, go to www.besomethingamazing.com.