Healthcare jobs tend to be very demanding. They are physically and mentally taxing jobs, with zero room for mistakes. And they are jobs where one has to deal with ever-changing (sometimes heart-wrenching) scenarios on a day-in day-out basis. Furthermore the healthcare jobs tend to be 24-hour affairs, with shifts that can totally mess up with one’s social life. The question that arises, then, is as to why people apply for these jobs – notwithstanding the various stresses associated with them. This is a critical question, especially keeping in mind the fact that many of the people who take up healthcare jobs tend to be very highly intelligent individuals. As such, they are people with many other alternatives, in terms of other jobs they could do. But they nonetheless opt for the healthcare jobs. Why?
- Healthcare jobs tend to pay very well: This is especially the case for the jobs in the professional cadres of the healthcare field. You find that the salary for a specialist/consultant doctor is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. The fact that one stands to earn such good money draws people to apply for the healthcare jobs, notwithstanding their mentally and physically taxing nature. Even for the lower/non-professional cadres, the earnings associated with the healthcare industry are better than what one would ordinarily earn elsewhere. Thus, for instance, a nursing assistance helping push trolleys around the hospital knows that he would probably earn much less pushing trolleys at a supermarket… Thus, in fact for both the professional and non-professional cadres, healthcare jobs tend to be very lucrative, and this fact draws very many people into the field. Of course, very few workers in the healthcare industry will admit to the fact that they were drawn to the field by the allure of money. Yet when you dig deep below, that is what you tend to discover – a situation where, directly or indirectly (consciously or subconsciously) people are drawn to healthcare jobs by the money.
- Healthcare jobs are very prestigious: Again, this is especially the case for the jobs in the professional cadres of the healthcare industry. For many people, there is no greater prestige than that of being called a ‘doctor of medicine’. So there are people who are drawn to the jobs in the healthcare industry by the prestige associated with such jobs – notwithstanding the fact that such jobs can be mentally and physically taxing. So for many a people, compensation for the mental and physical exertion they have to put into healthcare jobs comes in the form of prestige and the social esteem.
- Healthcare jobs give an opportunity to ‘make a difference’: Most of the healthcare jobs entail alleviating (or at least minimizing) the suffering of others. It can be very rewarding to see a patient who came to the hospital in a great deal of pain leaving with relief, due to your input as a healthcare worker. So there are people who find joy in ‘making a difference’ in others’ lives, and the healthcare jobs offer a good opportunity to do this. Coincidentally, this is the reason that most healthcare workers tend to cite, when they are asked what drew them to the field. And it is understandable, because this is the ‘right thing to say’. I mean, it would be outrageous to say that you became a doctor because you want to make a pile of money. But when you say that you chose to become a doctor because you wanted to ‘make a difference in others’ lives’, that surely sounds much better.
- Healthcare jobs tend to offer good security: In this regard, we find that many of the people who are working in the healthcare field are employed on ‘permanent and pensionable’ terms. And even those who are hired on contracts tend to be on long-term contracts. So it is a question of job security, and healthcare jobs tend to offer very good job security. And even where there is no security of tenure, the people with healthcare qualifications know that their qualifications open plenty of doors. They know that armed with healthcare qualifications, they are unlikely to go for long periods of time without work. This still translates into ‘job security’ even when one happens to be temporarily unemployed: as there is always the assurance that with the healthcare qualifications, a good job is bound to come soon or later. And furthermore, healthcare qualifications tend to be universal: where, for instance, a person with healthcare qualifications earned in the USA can still get work in the Europe after just a few formalities. So this is yet another source of security – knowing that with healthcare qualifications and experience, you can get work in pretty much any part of the world.
- Some healthcare jobs are very easy to get: This, for instance, is the case with the nursing jobs available at the homes for the aged and mental institutions. This is also the case with hospital janitor jobs, and the whole range of other ‘support’ positions in healthcare facilities. The reason as to why these jobs are easy to get is in the fact that some of them are very physically demanding – like those that entail lifting patients and carrying hospital supplies around. Others are easy to get because they are deemed to be ‘demeaning’ –like those that entail cleaning patients. Yet others are easy to get because they are deemed to be dangerous – like those that entail taking care of mentally ill patients, who at times are violent. Due to such factors, there are fewer people competing for such jobs – meaning that the jobs are easy to get. And the fact that such jobs are very easy to get means that they are viable for people without other alternatives. They provide a launching pad to other career paths – like where, for instance, one can be working as a nursing assistant at a mental institution, while pursuing training in another field. Recent immigrants also find these jobs alluring, given the fact that they offer an opportunity for one to get established, before branching into other areas. Some people, of course, come to love these jobs – to the extent that they stick with them, even when they eventually get other alternatives.