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Working in wider healthcare

It’s not just doctors and nurses who work in a hospital. From clerks in the office to cleaners in the basement, there’s a whole range of people behind the scenes. Read on to find out more.

Hospitals are enormous operations which require a lot of different people with a lot of different skills to run effectively. These staff are the wider healthcare team, and can be divided into the following areas.

  • Administration staff include people like secretaries, receptionists and record keepers who are responsible for day-to-day paperwork, and arranging things like transport for patients. They are often the first people patients meet at a hospital, so need to be friendly and helpful as well as organised.
  • Estates staff look after the hospital buildings and grounds, making sure they’re safe and clean. This includes people with specialist skills like plumbers and electricians as well as gardeners and cleaners, who are overseen by an estates manager.
  • Corporate services staff are responsible for the non-medical services a hospital delivers. This can include everyone from architects and engineers who design the buildings, to accountants and human resources officers to deal with the hospital’s finances and hiring staff.
  • Domestic services staff make sure that patients are clean and comfortable, and keep them fed as well. Cleaners, cooks and laundry staff need a good knowledge of hygiene and health and safety, and domestic services managers will have excellent administration skills.
  • Support services staff are the people who make sure a hospital runs effectively day-today. These might be porters who move patients between wards, security and fire safety officers, or sterile services managers who dispose of waste and decontaminate equipment safely.
  • Clinical support services staff assist doctors and other health professionals in treating patients. Most clinical support services staff will have training in an area like speech and language therapy or dentistry, or will be experts at the use of specialist equipment like electrocardiograph (ECG) machines.

How do I get into wider healthcare?

There are many different ways into wider healthcare depending on which part interests you. Careers in clinical support will probably require some form of specialist medical training, and you will have to be an accredited architect, engineer or electrician to work in some parts of corporate services or estates, or have a qualification in accountancy or business if you want to work in the finance or human resources department.

Other jobs in domestic services, support services or administration do not require any formal qualifications and training is often provided on-the-job, although good GCSEs or a HND will help your application. And whatever healthcare work you do will require a high level of hygiene and cleanliness, organisational skills and the ability to work under pressure.

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