What Are the Best Upskilling Opportunities in Healthcare?

June 14, 2021 •

As the overall population continues to age and the scope of health issues and diseases evolves and changes, the healthcare industry is struggling to meet patient needs with qualified professionals. Growing demand and an increasing shortage of talent exists in just about every level of healthcare today. As a result, all professionals are encouraged to upskill to reach a higher level of training and education in order to take on additional responsibilities.

According to consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, upskilling is a priority for healthcare organizations “from the back office to the front lines and all the way up to the C-suite.”

The following are some of the best upskilling opportunities available to healthcare workers today. Taking advantage of these opportunities may include self-study efforts, employer-sponsored courses, online classes, certificate programs, or professional development sessions within industry associations.

Additional Medical Training

Commonly known as “working at the top of your degree,” the idea that all healthcare workers should maximize their training and education in practice is a common one. That means each healthcare professional should be completing the most difficult tasks they are trained to do, shifting any lower-level tasks to the professionals with less training.

For example, a registered nurse who has bachelor’s or master’s degree may want to upskill to become a doctor of nursing practice, which can be done online around an existing work schedule. Many other medical courses are available online that allow nurses to specialize even further.

Medical assistants are another group of healthcare professionals taking on more basic nursing responsibilities, especially when it comes to education and training. As an important member of a primary care team, medical assistants can often spend more time with patients on wellness, dietary education, and disease management. By shifting these tasks from a nurse to a medical assistant, costs are reduced while quality is improved. Many certificate programs are available to facilitate this upskilling trend.

Keeping Up With Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in healthcare today. Implementing telehealth systems, managing electronic medical records, using remote monitoring technologies, and understanding complex data analysis are all evolving and rapidly changing.

Healthcare professionals who have an interest in this area may upskill to deliver greater value to their organizations in implementing and managing these technological tools. After all, technology can complete a significant amount of the low-level, high-volume transactional work in the industry faster and more accurately than humans. This, in turn, encourages people to find more fulfilling, less monotonous healthcare work that cannot be completed effectively by computers.

Technology training is widely available. Some vendors may provide this training to healthcare organizations purchasing their solutions. Learning about artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics can be a valuable skill for employees to have. 

Community and Home-Based Services

Many opportunities exist today in supporting the health of individuals within a community or family while minimizing conventional medical interventions or hospital stays wherever possible.

For example, social determinants such as education, income and access to basic things like food and shelter often affect the health of individuals. According to the American College of Physicians, these social determinants can cost more than $300 billion annually in terms of health issues.

Community health workers (CHW), who don’t usually have a medical degree of any kind, now work with healthcare providers to take care of these social issues. For example, CHWs might help a patient shop for healthy foods or access public transportation and social services. Some CHWs may upskill to become more of an expert in particular population groups such as with pregnant mothers or the elderly.

Similar to CHWs, home health aides can help patients who are homebound manage things like cooking, cleaning, errands, and hygiene. Home healthcare nurses can often provide much less expensive care, particularly after a surgery or hospital stay, for patients as well. According to Home Health Care News, home health care saves more than $7,000 per patient over hospitalization after emergency room visits.

Upskilling in these areas means that these healthcare workers who already have relationships with patients who trust them can deliver an even higher level of care.

Upskilling in Pharmacies

Some of the shift to providing healthcare education and services is also moving from provider offices to pharmacies. Many minor ailments can be adequately addressed by your neighborhood pharmacists, who can also provide support for managing chronic health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

Opportunities with the profession itself exist, such as upskilling to become a clinical pharmacist, who is then certified to provide comprehensive medication management (CMM). These trained individuals can handle more complex cases and can spend more time with patients in answering questions and reviewing drug interactions.

Get Adequate Malpractice Insurance

Regardless of what level of healthcare you work in, it’s important to check in with your professional liability provider to make sure you have all the coverage you need. NOW Insurance offers comprehensive coverage of telehealth services at the same levels as in-person visits. We deliver affordable and simple insurance quickly to healthcare practitioners and allied health workers. We also offer general liability as an addition to professional liability for private practices and other medical facilities. Get an immediate quote from our quick and easy online application today.