work that matters: COVID edition
November 25, 2020 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Does a hands-on healthcare job exist for a burned-out marketing pro who wants to be of more use InTheseUnprecedentedTimes(tm) but can't take a cut in pay? Does that job still exist if the applicant is a woman with grey roots?

I've been in healthcare marketing long enough to have a decent reputation among the docs and specialists at the large nonprofit hospital system where I work.

It is a good company that lives its mission as best it can, and I want to keep working here. But for the first time, knowing I'm helping indirectly is not enough. I'm also burning out on producing, creating, writing ... it's a different kind of energy than learning or operating in a more structured environment, both of which also suit me and which I have deeper reserves of right now.

Despite the grey roots, I am a pretty adaptable generalist. I have an editorial background in the social sciences pre-marketing, and I did sports massage for about 5 years so I have a grasp of anatomy/physiology & the capacity to relearn it. That said, I don't have the time or money for a PT or nursing program. And on the flip side of that, I need to earn my seasoned salary & not start over at the PTA or CNA level.

My organization is partnered with a growing medical research facility - but they are separate entities and getting hired would be a bigger leap than transitioning within the org, so I'd have to have some mad new skills to get into that world. Suggestions from people who work in that world are especially welcome.

Areas that are not strengths include finance, HR/training, public/extemporaneous speaking, or administrative support. I've done project management and budgeting, but not independently.

I hope I have included enough here for an anon question. I will talk to my HR person if this question nets a feasible idea or two. Thanks in advance to all.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You've detailed what you don't want to do, but it's not as clear what you do want. Hands-on right now carries a lot of risk and requires a lot of specific training. The track for hands-on often starts on the CNA level. You're likely to take a significant paycut as you work your way back up a different track.

So, long answer short: no, I don't think so. And this is before considering any unfortunate sexist/ageist prejudices you'd have to face.
posted by RainyJay at 7:21 AM on November 25, 2020 [4 favorites]

I think it is doubtful you could find entry level hands on work at a senior salary, but is there a way you could find the fulfilment you are seeking through other means? You mention having done sports massage - sites that mean you are a certified massage therapist?

Could you offer those services to tired, overworked floor staff like nurses before or after you regular work? That might provide them with some valuable relief from their aches and pains and RSIs while giving you the feeling that you are more directly helping. Using your physical skills some of the time might make you feel less burnt out about your regular mental work, as well.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:43 AM on November 25, 2020 [4 favorites]

I don't have ideas for a new full-time job but with an A&P background and desire to serve, you could get your yoga teacher certification and have a side gig that's very different from the regular one to help break the monotony.
posted by crunchy potato at 7:53 AM on November 25, 2020

There are other Covid needs outside of direct medical care, like assisting a hunger-relief organization in your location. They might really appreciate the professional background you offer, and they would probably be thrilled if you offered to drive prepared meals to their list of clients for contactless drop-offs if you have a vehicle. My local hunger organizations are begging for volunteers since many of their most dependable ones are too concerned about Covid to leave their homes.

If the assistance they needed most was something you could do remotely, like organize volunteers, contact prospective donors, perhaps assist with project management of their grants, it might scratch your direct-care itch and also be very helpful to them.
posted by citygirl at 11:43 AM on November 25, 2020

I agree finding work that ticks all those boxes might be a challenge but the feelings behind it are real and understandable.

I’m curious if you might have time or opportunity for something like a volunteer EMT gig. It’s direct patient care, it’s usually pretty flexible, most will train you for free, and if you hate it six months later you still have your regular job. I definitely volunteered with people who were just starting out in their 50s, and people who had stressful day jobs keeping the bills paid and rode the ambulance because they liked it and it fulfilled something their other roles in life didn’t. And I knew people who eventually used their EMT experience and certification to move into paid clinical jobs of various kinds, including as a second or third career.
posted by jameaterblues at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2020

Learning to provide direct patient care in basically any capacity I'm aware of includes a period of on the job training according to an apprenticeship model; it requires time and attention from someone who is already trained. Excluding people who are already mostly trained (like nurses who have worked med/surg but not ICU yet, or medical students in their final year), it has not been possible or beneficial to have these trainees in the hospital in "these unprecedented times." They came back to train as much as possible in between surges, but are being pushed out again as the surge revs up. We barely have the PPE or workspace for people who are able to function independently.
posted by telegraph at 12:48 PM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Look at positions closer to the front line but other than medical staff. Patient advocate, contract tracing, supply coordinator, dept manager, liaison between medical/statistical/management departments, etc. The trick of course is to find one that pays as well.
posted by CathyG at 6:36 AM on November 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

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