Jobs vs. Careers

Multi-Skilled Training

An employment survey conducted by the National Labor Board concluded that: “Multi-skilled personnel are increasingly replacing other health professionals certified in one area. This changing occupational mix, coupled with a slowing of growth in hospitals and increased bargaining power of insurance companies, has led to a slowdown in wage growth for the health care industry.”

In this last installment focusing on health care careers I want to encourage students to research career goals in the area of choice. The more trained and adaptable one can be, the more one increases his or her ability to survive the transitions that are occurring in the volatile, ever-changing economy.

Occupations in Health Care

Henry Ford Community College has 12 different health career programs that effectively train students in the health services that support the more traditional health careers. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are able to take advantage of increased demand for home health care assistance, according to research documentation.

Small private specialty health clinics are hiring many of the people being trained in niche programs. Research from an independent health care survey found that “strong competition has generated a restructuring of health care occupations and job duties across and within health care components.” The same survey went on to say that “a reduction in inpatient hospital stays, despite increased growth in the elderly population, underscores the dramatic changes that have taken place.”

Additional occupation studies have shown that “a reduced growth rate in hospital employment contributed significantly to lower growth in wages for nurses.”

Financial Climate

While the nursing profession may be going through a transition, health care in general continues to provide increasing job opportunities. In fact, according to the National Labor Board, “pay practices—even in the midst of difficult economic times health care exhibits positive job growth while other industries continue to shed jobs. It is projected that, between 2008 and 2018 the health industry will have generated 3.2 million jobs—a figure that will not me matched by any other industry.”

In addition, National Labor Board studies have shown that “strategic bargaining on the part of large insurers helped to bring increases in health prices in line with overall inflation. Managed care also played a part in keeping health care costs down. Managed care has decreased health care costs and has altered the occupational mix of employees in health care establishments.”

Monitor Developments
Mirror News Columnist

In the rapidly changing health care industry, technological advances have made many new procedures and methods of diagnosis and treatment possible. Clinical developments, such as infection control, less invasive surgical techniques, advances in reproductive technology, and gene therapy for cancer treatment continue to increase the longevity and improve the quality of life of many Americans. Advances in medical technology also have improved the survival rates of trauma victims and the severely ill, who need extensive care from therapists and social workers, as well as other support personnel.

In addition, advances in information technology have had a positive impact on patient care and worker efficiency. Devices such as hand-held computers are used record a patient’s medical history. Information on vital signs and orders for tests are transferred electronically to a main database.


The final, but not necessarily the least important consideration, is where one plans to work. Metro areas are experiencing vast economic fluctuations, and metro Detroit has at least two medical centers.

Ron Bourdka, Associate Dean of Health Careers, made an argument for U of M Medical Center, which is a large complex located in Ann Arbor. It is important to be aware of the financial environment when determining where to work. The most important thing to remember is to research career goals and be adaptable. The more diverse a student’s training and skills, the more marketable the student will be