Work in support of Health Professionals
This course is a step below being a nurse or health practitioner; but will provide valuable knowledge and skills that are in demand across a wide range of positions that support health services.
Health Services are more Diverse than Ever Before!
Going to the doctor should never be under rated; particularly with chronic and persistent complaints; but many people do patronise all sorts of other services for preventative or supplementary health care.
Doctors are also supported by a more diverse range of support services than ever before; from the people who manufacture and supply mendical services and equipment, to the many specialist services that cater to everything from nutritional counselling to laboratory testing.
This course provides a unique opportunity to develop a unique mix of knowledge and skills which are valuable in the health industries.
It may lead to employment in such things as: medical administration, receptionist for a doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor or naturopath; medical sales and marketing positions, assistant, attendant or paramedical support positions.
Note that each module in the Certificate in Health Support is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
What's in the Modules?
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY
This course contains 6 lessons as follows:
- Cells and Tissues- Explains the human body at a microscopic level, including the structure and function of cells, tissues and membranes.
- The Skeleton - Examines features of the human skeletal system.
- The Muscular System - Describes the human muscular system, in terms of structure and basic function.
- The Nervous System - Looks at the human nervous system, in terms of structure and basic functions.
- Digestion and Excretion - Explains different physiological systems of digestion and excretion in the body.
- Physiological Systems - Focuses on the different physiological systems of the body
There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:
- Scope and Nature of Medical Terminology
- Anatomical Structure
- Medical Equipment and Processes
- Pharmacological Terminology
- Musculoskeletal System
- Cardiovascular, Lymphatic and Immune Systems
- Respiratory and Reproductive Systems
- Digestive and Excretory Systems
- Integumentary System (Skin)
- Nervous and Sensory Systems
The course covers the following:
- Introduction: Scope of office work, procedures, the home office vs commercial premises, etc.
- Communication Systems: Using the phone, business letters, faxes, couriers, postage, etc.
- Writing Letters and Reports: Structure of a report, memos, writing business letters.
- Computers: Scope and uses of computers, types of computers, software types, peripherals, word processing, CD Roms, Modems, setting up and care of a PC.
- Office Materials and Equipment: Stationary, Office furniture, Paper specifications, Filing & record keeping etc.
- Office Organization and Procedures: Office layout and organization, security.
These are designed to build extra skills which compliment job in medicine, complimentary medicine and health services. A range of options are offered, to provide students the change of pursuing areas of specific relevance or interest to them. This way every student can build a slightly different set of skills, differentiating themselves from others in industry, and allowing them to develop a reputation as a "specialist" fulfilling a niche that is different to others.
WORKING IN MEDICAL OR HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
A medical or health care administrator or receptionist may work on the front desk of a medical or health centre, or behind the scenes in an office.
They provide key support to the practitioner in their dealings with the patients.
A receptionist will be the first person a client will see when they arrive at the clinic, or speak to if they call the clinic. A medical or health care administrator may work by themselves or in a team, and do some, or all of the following:
- Answer client’s preliminary questions
- Arrange appointments
- Organise schedules
- Liaise between medical professionals and patients
- Answer phones
- Organise and file patient records
- Process payments
- Process mail and emails
- Explain procedures and complete client forms
- Ensure stock levels are maintained
Health support workers (eg. Carers, receptionists, nurses and administrators) may be employed by doctors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, psychologists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, hospitals, radiologists, elderly care facilities, and other health care facilities.
As long as there are health care professionals, there will be a need for medical and health care support staff. With the ageing population there is an increase in the number of health and medical facilities opening up, and therefore there is an increase in the number of jobs available.
Many practices will operate only in business hours, however some may also be open in evenings and weekends.
Medical and health care receptions may advanced there career into clinic management, medical assistant, and (through additional study) nurse positions.
Risks and challenges
In a busy clinic staff can find the environment stressful at times.
Support staff will be constantly exposed to sick people, so will need to take care with hygiene, and make sure they have a strong immune system to avoid contracting illnesses.
They will often be dealing with people who are feeling unwell, and may be rude or emotional to deal with at times. The receptionist will need to be caring and patient when dealing with people in these situations.
Getting a Career Start
The main skills necessary for a medical and health care support staff are office skills, and an understanding of the medical industry. These skills can be developed through experience, as well as through education. There are many vocational education courses that may also contribute toward developing such skills.
Education alone is not enough to advance in this career though. You need experience, an appropriate attitude and empathy with patients, communication skills, and more.
A knowledge of health sciences and medical terminology will also be advantageous to aid with comprehension and communication within the clinic. Again there are a number of vocational short courses that will provide this knowledge.
First aid and CPR training will be useful and may be essential.
You will need to develop an attitude of empathetic caring, whilst remaining calm in stressful situations.
- Medical Supplies and Sales Representative
- Nutrition Counsellor
- Medical Administrator
- Clinic Manager