Demographic shifts in the U. S are a determining factor in the 5 growing areas in healthcare. Expanding populations, particularly senior citizens, create a need for certain medical personnel that can be difficult to keep pace with, even as these areas of healthcare grow and develop into specific specialties.
For those who are just entering the field, or are considering a change in specialty, paying close attention to the 5 growing areas in healthcare is to your advantage. As the demand increases for quality medical professionals in these fields you will no doubt have job security. Here we break down the areas in healthcare that are expected to grow substantially over the next five years.
Fastest Growing Areas in Healthcare
The largest segment of the population, baby boomer generation, is approaching retirement age. That means the majority of those born between 1946-1964 are experiencing the health concerns associated with seniors. In order to prepare for both the influx of old-age related health concerns and the aging out of those baby boomers who are currently working in healthcare, there needs to be a shift in the way medicine is practiced. These 5 growing areas in healthcare address the need to provide for the senior segment of the population and the shortage of qualified professionals.
Geriatrics focuses on patients 75 years and older. It is impossible to predict the future, but it’s a safe bet that geriatrics will grow within the next five years. The demand for jobs in this specialized area will be great, with the biggest need being for:
Geriatric Care Specialist-a physician specializing in geriatric medicine
Care Manager-those who assist families with care of their loved one, post surgery or rehab
Nurse Practitioner-Advance practice nurses who perform many of the same duties as doctors, such as exams, diagnoses, and prescription of medicines.
Geriatric Physical Therapist-A Geriatric PT performs the same duties as regular PT but geared toward the specific needs of senior adults. Also promotes an understanding of the physical limitations of seniors.
Geriatric Personal Care Assistant/Home Health Aide-Often the family of a geriatric patient will enlist the services of a personal care assistant or a home health aide to help when home care is needed. Duties include helping with hygiene and personal care, preparing meals, running errands, and providing companionship.
Baby boomers are a more active and independent generation. They are changing the way orthopedics is managed. Joint replacement, spine care, rehabilitation and therapy are all performed with the common goal of getting the patient back into their former independent and active lifestyle, or as near as possible. The demand for jobs in ortho is specific:
Skilled Orthopedic Surgeons-With an aging population the need for orthopedic surgeons is great. The specialty is constantly changing as advances are being made all the time in joint replacement and rehabilitation.
Physical Therapy-Post surgical rehab is crucial to getting seniors up, active and independent. That’s why PT’s and physical therapy assistant are in high demand in one of the top growing areas in healthcare.
Occupational Therapy-As baby boomers age the need for therapists qualified to help them find new, safer ways to accomplish tasks and remain independent is one of the most necessary growing areas in healthcare.
Cardiology has long been a “staple” of older adults. In fact, the Medicare crowd incurs far more significant heart-related events than their younger counterparts. And cardiology is a highly evolving specialty, with thorough treatment and better outcomes a consistent focus.
Physicians Assistant/Nurse Practitioners-Heavy emphasis being placed on intervention. With certain meds and the diet-and-exercise prescription it is the hope that cardiac events can be avoided altogether. Leading the intervention charge are the PA’s and NP’s. As part of a team they work with the physicians and nursing staff to provide care and prevention education.
Nurses-Cardiology is one of the fastest growing areas in healthcare there is a demand not only for RN’s, but CNA’s and Nurse Techs as well.
Although cancer is seeing many more survivors than before it has yet to be eradicated. There are advances being made every day in cancer care. Hospitals aren’t handling all of their cases in-house any more. Partnering with clinics and other healthcare agencies allows the patient more freedom. This leads to the need for many more oncology focused healthcare professionals.
Oncology Nurse-Oncology nurses are needed to administer meds as well as treatment and provide care and support to the patient.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer– Highly trained diagnostic ultrasound technicians are necessary for assisting with treatment. Using ultrasound, diagnostic monographers can mark the boundaries of a tumor before removal or for treatment.
As brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease become more prevalent in an aging population the need for advanced neuroscience becomes evident. Management and care of these diseases can place a huge burden on medical facilities, families, and insurers, including Medicare. Stroke management is also becoming more prevalent. That makes this specialty one of the most rapidly growing areas in healthcare.
Physicians-The need for physicians specializing in neuroscience is great. From research to patient care and all aspects in between, physicians are necessary to finding ways to deal with this global burden.
Nurses-Nursing staff with a high degree of training are essential to the care of euro patients.
Cognitive Therapy-New strategies are being developed for cognitive therapists that apply to reaching and assisting Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.
Between the ongoing shortage of nursing staff and the burgeoning population of older Americans there are sure to be growing areas in healthcare for many years to come. Colleges and Universities need to step up recruiting for the healthcare field. Meanwhile hospitals and medical facilities can partner with staffing agencies to help them accommodate these 5 growing areas in healthcare.