Healthcare Practitioners Job Descriptions
Healthcare jobs come in a wide variety, and go far beyond the well-known work of nurses and doctors. Our healthcare system is complex, and relies on the work of people like medical coders and dental hygienists, as well as specialists like cardiologists and neurologists, to keep us healthy and improve our quality of life.
We have structured our healthcare practitioner job descriptions based on the Standard Occupational Classification System from The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Supervising and technical jobs in healthcare are listed here, but the workers who support these roles can be found on the Healthcare Support Jobs page. If you need to staff a healthcare practitioner position, take a look at the sample job descriptions in this section for a template that can help you find the most highly skilled candidates.
An athletic trainer trains and rehabs athletes at all levels. Whether supporting the performance of a local high school team or a star member of the NFL, an athletic trainer helps his or her athletes get and stay in top condition.
A cardiologist is a highly trained specialist who studies and treats conditions and diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system. Experienced cardiologists are always in demand by the most successful clinical practices and medical centers.
Clinical psychologists are medical specialists who diagnose and treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Beyond studying mental disorders, clinical psychologists focus on helping their patients treat and improve their mental health.
CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist)
A CRNA assists an anesthesiologist during surgery. The CRNA ensures a surgical patient has appropriate anesthetic and helps to monitor the patient before, during and after surgery to ensure a safe surgical environment and the best possible outcome for the patient.
Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases, and assist dentists by providing other needed preventive dental care. Dental hygienists are a key part of any busy dental practice.
EMTs are crucial first responders. They drive ambulances and give aide at the scene of an accident, disaster, or medical emergency. These first line healthcare professionals work with fire, hospital, police, government, or private agencies to administer emergency treatment and transport victims to hospitals for further care.
A lab technician makes a laboratory work. A tech looks after the equipment, tools and operating procedures of any laboratory from one studying bone tumors, to one creating a better shampoo. Scientists of all types rely on their laboratory technicians to keep their labs running at the highest levels of efficiency.
LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)
A licensed practical nurse looks after patients in the most basic and yet most important ways. An LPN (also known as an LVN in some states) supports registered nurses and doctors by doing everything for a patient from taking vitals and updating charts, to dressing wounds and ensuring patient comfort. A patient’s recovery always depends in part on the work of an LPN.
A medical coder is one of those roles that the modern healthcare system can’t function without. Coders track and code patient treatment for doctors and hospitals allowing medical care to be covered by insurance companies and government agencies like Medicare.
A neurologist studies and treats disorders that of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. A neurologist is a highly specialized MD who sees patients or works on research to treat diseases ranging from Lou Gehrig’s disease to migraines. Skilled neurologists are an important part of any medical center or clinical practice.
A nutritionist is a key member of a hospital’s staff. Nutritionists oversee patient nutrition and food service, keeping in mind everything from medical dietary restrictions, to food allergies and religious requirements. Doctors and nurses depend on nutritionists to help patients heal and maintain health once discharged.
Like other specialists, OB-GYNs receive extensive training in their area of medical expertise. OBs are responsible for all facets of female reproductive health from diagnosing diseases like uterine cancer, to delivering babies. OB-GYNs are a crucial member of any woman’s medical support system.
Occupational Therapists treat injured, ill, or disabled patients using everyday activities as therapy. These therapists help patients develop, recover, improve and then maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.
Optometrists are the people we turn to for both vision and eye care. They correct vision by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses, and some provide low vision care and vision therapy. Optometrists are critical to the overall maintenance of vision and eye health.
Orthopedic surgeons don’t just treat athletes; in fact, they treat everything on our bodies that help us get up in the morning. These skilled specialists take care of any injury or illness involving the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. There are many large and growing orthopedic practices in all parts of the country.
Like EMTs, paramedics are first responders who treat people in emergency situations. Paramedics are usually required to have more training than EMTs — often up to 1,800 hours. These highly trained professionals can be employed everywhere from a local ER to an oil rig.
Pharmacists dispense medications, counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and advise physicians on medication therapy. Retail drug stores, medical practice groups and hospitals all employ pharmacists to serve their patients.
A pharmacy technician is a key support to any pharmacist. Technicians receive prescriptions, confirm their accuracy, measure and package medications, and label prescriptions. They also support pharmacists and patients alike by performing administrative work such as inventory control, stocking shelves, and data entry.
Physical Therapists (PTs) help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain. PTs are an important part of a healthcare team addressing rehabilitation and treatment for patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.
Under a doctor’s supervision, physician assistants care for patients. PAs take patient histories, perform exams, order labs and counsel patients on preventive health. Some PAs may perform medical procedures and can write prescriptions in most states. PAs can be a valuable resource in isolated areas where doctors are scarce or overburdened.
A psychiatrist is a fully trained MD who specializes in mental health, including substance abuse. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication and work to help patients with medication management as part of treatment. Psychiatrists can be in private practice, part of a medical group, or work as part of the staff of a hospital or other medical facility.
Psychologists are different from psychiatrists. Psychologists focus on psychotherapy and treating emotional and mental illness in patients with behavioral intervention. Trained to use a variety of approaches to help their patients, psychologists help with problems ranging from short-term personal issues to severe, chronic conditions.
Anyone who has had a CT has been helped by a radiologic technologist. These techs routinely perform all diagnostic imaging procedures, including X-rays, MRI scans and of course, CT scans. RTs are an indispensable part of the hospital or clinic healthcare team.
When we say “nurse”, we most often are talking about registered nurses (RNs). RNs assist physicians in providing treatment to patients suffering from all types of illness and injury. Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients about their health and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members. RNs are the backbone of medical care in hospitals, homes, schools and the military.
Respiratory therapists (RTs) care for patients who have trouble breathing. They treat patients with breathing challenges stemming from a chronic respiratory disease such as asthma or emphysema, or from a more acute condition like pneumonia. RTs may also work as part of the emergency medical team providing life-saving care to trauma patients.
Speech-language pathologists (also called speech therapists) assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. Speech pathologists may work in clinical practice, as hospital staff, or in schools, if their practice focuses on children.
Veterinarians (vets) care for illnesses or injury suffered by the animal members of a family or a business. Some vets focus on pets like dogs, cats and birds, and some are large animal vets who treat farm animals like cattle and horses. Vets care for not only their animal patients, but teach their human clients about proper care and prevention of harm to their furrier friends.
A vet tech is a crucial part of a veterinary practice and performs a wide variety of tasks. Veterinary technicians can perform an initial evaluation of an animal’s condition, clean and dress wounds, check vital statistics, collect samples and administer medications. They may even help prevent a cat fight or two.
While not as widely thought of as a healthcare professional like a doctor or a nurse, safety managers are the people who help us stay away from the hospital. Safety managers provide oversight of workplace safety programs and maintain safety and health, accident prevention, and investigation training for supervisors in a wide variety of workplaces.
Surgical Technologists, also called operating room technicians, help make an operating room function smoothly. Their main tasks include assisting with operations, preparing operating rooms, arranging equipment, and helping doctors during surgery.
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