A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
My family moved around a lot when I was a kid. We even lived in Kuwait and Indonesia. I remember at an early age being struck by how bad health care is for the most vulnerable people around the world. It made me want to do something to help.
What’s your current job and how did you know it was right for you?
Right now, I actually have two jobs. I am a full-time medical scribe, which is a specialized medical transcriptionist, in an emergency room. I also work part-time as a nursing assistant in a home for individuals with severe mental retardation. I chose these jobs because I wanted to get experience in health care before investing money in school.
How do your two health jobs differ?
As a medical scribe, my main duty is to follow the doctor and take notes on each patient. But it’s not like taking notes in school. It’s very fast-paced and I have to think on my feet. It’s common for the doctor to have me stay with a patient to ask questions and fill out a medical chart, even if they leave to do something else.
While I love my job as a medical scribe, it is very different from my other job as a nursing assistant. In the nursing home, I work with just a few patients a day to help them through their basic daily activities. Things like getting out of bed and taking a shower require a lot of help since many people who have mental disabilities also can’t move on their own.
I enjoy being a nursing assistant because I get to know my patients long-term. While working with people who need such basic care can be frustrating, it’s also very rewarding. I never go a day without being hugged or thanked for something.
What’s something you’ve done as a health worker that you’re proud of?
One day, the emergency room was extra busy. We got to an older lady who said that her stomach hurt. She was also having a lot of trouble communicating and moving around. I asked the woman to point to the part of my body that was hurting for her and — to my surprise — she pointed to my chest. Since chest pain can be the first sign of a heart attack, I was able to make sure she was treated right away.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering working in health care?
No matter what health job you may be considering, my advice is to start volunteering somewhere as soon as you can. It’s important to go in with an open mind and talk to lots of people. There are so many different opportunities to help people, and chances are there is something for you.