If you love kids and spending time with the younger generation and are either already qualified in healthcare or looking for a career change, it’s logical to want to combine the two to make a dedicated career choice. There are many fields within the healthcare industry which offer the opportunity to work directly with children and treat them in a medical manner. What’s more, working with children in a healthcare setting can be very rewarding and enriching.
Below are listed some child-friendly career opportunities for you to consider.
Pediatrics is a broad category to work in, with many opportunities. Pediatrics focuses on the medical care and treatment of children. If you know that you want to work specifically with children, but are open to any sort of medical role, then you can aim for your most suited healthcare position within a pediatrics department.
You could train to become a:
- Pediatric dentist
- Pediatric surgeon
- And more!
If you are specialized in a specific area, such as cardiology or surgery, then you can apply for a residency in a pediatrics department. If you’re just starting out in your medical career, you can aim for pediatrics in whatever role you wish to specialize in.
It’s important to note that there are many subcategories when it comes to fields within pediatrics, too. You could have a focus on newborn care rather than young children, which means you will need to train as a neonatologist. If this is your wish, you have the further option to specialize in a non-surgical position, or as a surgeon which specializes in newborn care. The possibilities are endless!
- School Nurse
A position as a school nurse is a great career to aim for if you’re looking to work with children in a more learning-focused and relaxed environment, namely a school instead of a busy hospital. That’s not to say working within in a school doesn’t come with its challenges, but a school environment is wholly different than a medical center or surgery room, with less pressure and more structured hours (as you would have the bulk of the school holidays as your own free time off).
The role of a school nurse extends beyond medical care. It’s also about education and the support of young, impressionable children when it comes to their health. It includes encouraging young people to have their vaccinations and providing health education not only to students but to the staff of the school as well. You’ll also need to be able to deal with emergency protocols within a learning environment, and skilled in dealing with chronic pain issues which students may be suffering from.
The requirements of how to become a school nurse vary in different states, and it’s important that you check the local guidelines for the region you wish to work in.
You will be at a great advantage for a school nurse position if you already have experience – and are qualified – as a registered nurse or practitioner. This is a good position for those trained nurses who wish to shift their field and focus on helping younger people. You can also gain a national certification through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.
- Work in a Children’s Hospital
Work in this area is applicable to the ideas mentioned in point one regarding pediatric care, but you can actually still work in a children’s hospital even if you are not specialized in a pediatric field or high up on the medical ladder. There are a lot of opportunities within a hospital if you simply wish to work with children in any hospital capacity, and this can include administration positions, medical assistant positions or as a nurse in a children’s hospital.
- Child Psychiatrist
Caring for mental health is essential no matter a person’s age, but caring for younger people and the mental health of children can be a very fulfilling and vital role, especially if the child is too young to understand their own mental health difficulties. A lot of mental health conditions can manifest at a very early age, such as ADHD, and therefore require treatment as soon as possible.
If you’re already trained in the role of a psychiatrist or are looking to get into this career path with a focus on the mental health of children, then you have a variety of locations available to you. It could be a psychiatrist positioned in a children’s hospital, a pediatrics ward of a regular hospital, or even a school psychiatrist. Depending on the age range of children you wish to work with, child psychiatrists can usually be expected to work with anyone from a young age up to adolescent age.
It would be your job to apply your specialized knowledge of normal child development and manage as well as treat children suffering from mental health disorders. You may be asked to participate as a psychiatric consultant, even, and required to present intelligence, personality, and general psychological tests to young people.
- School Counselor
Similar to the role of a child psychiatrist, a school counselor is responsible for the wellbeing of a child in a primarily mental capacity, but a school counselor will be based in an educational setting, dealing with a variety of students from all age ranges. It could be a position within an elementary school or even a secondary school or college. As with the position of a school nurse, this is a suitable career path if you wish to maintain a healthcare role within an educational setting rather than a hospital or clinical environment.
As you’ll already be aware, educational life for a student can be very stressful, traumatic and upsetting at times, and a school counselor is present to offer all emotional guidance and support, as well as assessing the needs of the student in question. This support doesn’t end within the school environment, as counselors should also be prepared to support students in how to succeed in every aspect of their life, even outside the school grounds.