Trying to create a list of jobs in a hospital, with small descriptions
January 11, 2013 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I am a technology teacher who is starting a careers project with my middle schoolers next month.

They are going to be researching jobs and careers they are interested in, but I'm trying to get them to think beyond the typical positions and jobs that they see most often in their community. I have heard of having students research all the possible jobs in one area, such as a hospital, but I'm not sure what all jobs are in a hospital.

I'm trying to find some suggestions for different jobs that are specific, such as neonatal care nurse. I am also trying to find descriptions. For example, this link talks about post-secondary teachers who work in hospitals. ? I've never heard of this, maybe in pediatric hospitals? So, I want the jobs to be something my students can look up information about on the internet. I've found several websites that have categories of jobs, such as call centers, but I'm not sure what you would call that type of job, call center __________ attendant, assistant, ?

If this isn't too much of a question, I'm also looking for a different avenue to pursue with my other two classes. I'm going to have one class all look at jobs for hospitals, but I'm trying to think of an equivalent suggestion for my other two classes, maybe have students all look at a specific high-rise building and the jobs in all the offices in there? We are located in St. Louis, so something that is related to one or two of our downtown buildings might be fun, but I'm open to suggestions.
posted by aetg to Education (15 answers total)
Perhaps you meant to post a different link? I don't see anything on that one about post-secondary teachers in hospitals? Also, I've worked in at least 5 different hospitals in various contexts and I've never heard of post-secondary teachers in a hospital. Probably best not to get too specialized as different hospitals may have various unique needs and programs - stick to positions that are actually common to all hospitals.

Also, is the question about call centers related to hospitals, or not? Hospitals usually have hospital operators who answer the main phone number and direct calls.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to kick off the research idea by having a hospital administrator come and speak to the class, or taking the class on a field trip to meet with various staff people at a hospital (not to go onto the wards, but to meet the people behind the scenes in places like radiology or phlebotomy or the lab)? It strikes me that after doing this, the kids would have real life experiences to draw on to come up with the list of jobs and responsibilities, and they could get the answers on who works in the various departments and what they do from the people they meet - it would be even more exciting for them to see people working these jobs within their 'home environment' so to speak.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:30 PM on January 11, 2013

Response by poster: I had thought of a field trip, but I wasn't sure if hospitals allowed group tours of kids. Well, that and my administration might kill me if I ask for another field trip.

I might see if I can get someone to Skype in to talk to the kids though, that could be fun.
posted by aetg at 4:33 PM on January 11, 2013

For privacy (among other reasons), likely a hospital wouldn't let a group of students come through.

How about taking a tour of your city or town's public transportation system? You might be able to arrange a tour of their headquarters and then ride the different modes available.

City Hall? Even a shopping mall might offer you a tour. Public utility commission?

One teacher I worked with took MS students on an annual tour of a big university. He was able to arrange for an awesome tour led by university students. Not jobs, but definitely looking at what university students study.
posted by mamabear at 4:41 PM on January 11, 2013

Best answer: Searching a hospital's job site can give positions and descriptions (here is one to start with and here's one for Washington Univ in St Louis). Also googling for "hospital staff structure" found some ppts and lectures that might apply.
posted by beaning at 4:45 PM on January 11, 2013

If you do this you're going to end up with a list of every possible medical and nursing specialty, and there are a lot of them. And then you'll have a lot of boring stuff on there too, like janitor, valet, receptionist, etc. I'm not sure this list is going to be any more useful or interesting than, for instance, this list.

And be careful of listing things like "post-secondary teacher" because it turns out that Johns Hopkins actually has one person on staff with this title, even if no other hospital in the country does.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:52 PM on January 11, 2013

Best answer: I like your idea. I've worked at many different hospitals. Some of them have Child Life Specialists, who help teach children about illnesses and procedures. Some also hire teachers to do classwork with sick kids so they don't fall behind. Most hospitals have IT departments, so all your usual IT positions from business analyst to help desk people. Hospitals need accountants, file clerks, HVAC repair people, machinists, electrical repair technicians and lawyers. They need people who do grounds maintenance, gardening, snow shoveling. They have security guards. I agree with beaning, try looking at hospital jobs site to get some titles.
There are alot of hospitals in St Louis, I'm sure one of them would send someone over to talk about different careers in hospitals. Try the recruiting office or HR department. I know some hospitals that have set up career days for middle school students to come over for the day, get a tour and a supervised taste of various areas of the hospital. Might be more than you need though.
Also odd nursing jobs:Bed manager, Gamma Knife nurse, Clinical Practice Analyst, Clinical Informatics Nurse, Interventional radiology nurse, Poison Center Nurse, Flight Nursing....
posted by SyraCarol at 4:52 PM on January 11, 2013

Cool project, but I think you should consider something at a level way less specific than "neonatal care nurse". Hospitals are incredibly complicated and specialized organizations - I'm not sure how realistic it would be to have your students research every possible job at one. At a large hospital there could easily be more than a thousand, and I'm not sure the distinction between many of them would be that comprehensible or relevant to most grown-ups, let alone middle schoolers.

For instance, and not even getting into all of the different types and specialties of actual medical providers, when you talk about working in a call center, off the top of my head, I can think of the following positions that might be in a hospital's call center (several of which might be combined into one role at some particular hospital, and many of which will also be done in person or over the computer as well as by phone):
  • Scheduler
  • Registrar
  • Financial counselor
  • Authorization/referral coordinator
  • Insurance verification specialist
  • Billing office customer service representative
  • Insurance follow-up representative
  • Self-pay follow-up representative

posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:17 PM on January 11, 2013

Response by poster: Just a follow-up because I think there is some confusion. Obviously we won't be researching EVERY job at a hospital. I'm just looking for an interesting list that I can make little teasers to go with so that each student can pick ONE job they want to research and share with the rest of the class.

So, I'm just hoping to find some different jobs, which many previous posters have already listed that I can entice some students who will likely only be able to think of doctor, nurse, or maybe surgeon.
posted by aetg at 5:28 PM on January 11, 2013

Best answer: Phlebotomist would probably be a good one, because it's kind of a silly word. Surely some kid will pick it because it sounds funny. Without getting too specialized, off the top of my head here are some ideas that are health related:

Doctor (Surgeon, Hospitalist, specialist of their choice)
Nurse (Med-Surg, Intensive Care, Emergency Room, Operating Room, and OB would be 5 obvious specialties that are different enough to all be interesting but not down the rabbit hole of specialties)
Nurse Practitioner
Physician Assistant
Nursing Assistant
Surgical Tech
HUC (Health Unit Coordinator, but everyone just says "huck")
Respiratory Therapist
Social Worker
Physical Therapist
Occupational Therapist
Speech Language Pathologist or Speech Therapist
Radiology Technician (maybe even specialties like MRI Technician, CT Technician, or Ultrasound technician)
Nurse Educator
Medical Radiation Physicist
Laboratory Technician
Pharmacy Technician
EMT/Ambulance Driver

If you really want to show them that not everything in a hospital is technically a health career, here are some more:

Dietary Aide
Building Engineer/Maintenance
Volunteer Coordinator
Managers and Administrators, from unit managers (usually a nurse) up to the CEO of the hospital or healthcare organization
Computer Programmers
Technical Support staff
Housekeeping staff
Medical Librarian
Human Resources staff
Transport Aide
Security Guard
Cafeteria Cook/Server/Cashier
Financial Counselor
Valet Driver
Parking Ramp Attendant
Patient Representative

I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of good ones, but I think this is a decent start.
posted by vytae at 6:13 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

They are going to be researching jobs and careers they are interested in, but I'm trying to get them to think beyond the typical positions and jobs that they see most often in their community.

I've been an elementary and middle school teacher for a very long time. I don't understand (from the way you're describing the project) what you're hoping to accomplish here. On one hand, you appear to want the students to think of things outside their comfort zone but then on the other you're limiting the venue for their research. I'd suggest not being as restrictive. Your presentation and motivation should be strong enough to steer the students towards the type of information you're hoping they'll gather.
If you are a Technology teacher, how do these restrictions help your course objectives? And ultimately, does it matter? If this is a research process oriented assignment, where the goal is to evaluate and expand their understanding of online research, then does it really make any difference to anyone other than you if they all research becoming say, a ditch digger?

If you absolutely feel compelled to give the children parameters to work within for their jobs, then think outside the box - "jobs that involve travel" or "jobs that require specific equipment" etc. You'll get a lot less eyerolls and probably see some interesting and unexpected results.

Also -
EMT/Ambulance Driver
posted by vytae

You may not be aware of this, but these are not the same things. In fact, "Ambulance Driver" is an often used and rather insulting term for those of us who are actually well educated emergency medical professionals. Someone has to drive the rig, but chances are its one of the same people saving you from that car crash/fire/stroke/traumatic amputation, etc.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:48 PM on January 11, 2013

Best answer: I bet if you call the Human Resources/Personnel office at a local hospital, they could give you a list. Or they probably have some kind of community outreach or even their public relations/marketing department may be able to help you.
posted by elizeh at 7:13 PM on January 11, 2013

Best answer: Pediatric transplant nurse
Hospitalist (GP who looks after patients in hospital who don't need specialized care but are in hospital while they wait for consults with e.g. social work)
Medical specialties e.g. general internal med, nephrology, endocrinology, cardiology, gastroenterology.

Teaching hospitals are connected with universities, so there is also the whole academic side of things: Dean of Medicine, Dean of Research, various research institutes and entities that typically carry out research within an area (cardiovascular, neuro, public health, etc).

Coders, who read through hospital discharge records and assign diagnostic codes based on the World Health Org's International Classification of Disease version 9 or 10 (ICD 9, ICD 10). This info is used for billing purposes and by national level research organizations to describe health states and outcomes at a national and provincial level (I'm in Canada), which is then used for policy decisions, etc.

Fun project!
posted by lulu68 at 7:43 PM on January 11, 2013

You may not be aware of this, but these are not the same things.

blaneyphoto: I apologize for the implied insult. I was actually trying to get at the same thing that you explained more clearly -- that ambulances don't have chauffeurs, they have one of the trained medical professionals driving, who then jumps out and helps to save your life when they arrive on the scene. Thanks for making it more clear.
posted by vytae at 9:04 AM on January 12, 2013

Did I miss the fascinating work of the Transplant Coordinator upthread? I know job titles differ between the UK and North America.

Also the technicians involved in radiation therapies.

(Possibly too UK specific in titles) Outreach nurse, infection control coordinator, Medical Education manager, Interpreters.

(oh and if anyone knows a bit more about Hospitalists or hospitalist GPs could you please memail me? I'll google it now but it could be very useful for me at work)
posted by Wilder at 3:03 AM on January 13, 2013

Response by poster: Lots of great ideas, thanks everyone. I think my students will definitely have some different avenues to think about.

Blarneyphoto, you are right that it doesn't essentially matter for this project what they research, it could be anything. I've been pretty lax in the past for this assignment, which led to a lot of projects by students who want to be professional football players, or rappers, or fashion designers. I don't honestly care if that is what they research, but I found that when students assume they know the job they don't actually work very hard researching and they just make up answers or tell me they don't have any questions. I'm hoping that I can at least solve that problem while having students work on something together.
posted by aetg at 6:18 PM on January 13, 2013

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