Professionals in the allied health sector are very much in demand these days. Presently, there are around 5 million allied health care workers in the US, representing almost 60% of the people in the healthcare industry. The number of allied health workers in the world is expected to grow even further, keeping with the increase in demand for jobs in the healthcare industry. To read more about soulmete click here.
What is allied health?
The allied health industry is quite broad. It is generally known to include many healthcare professionals who use their skills to help patients who need medical assistance. However, defining the term allied health can be difficult as there is no commonly accepted definition for the time. Allied health is essentially used to describe healthcare professionals who assist in diagnoses, treatment, and prevention of illnesses and diseases. The allied health providers also support the healthcare systems through administration and management skills. They also apply evidence-based practices and scientific principles to assist healthcare workers and patients.
Duties and responsibilities of allied health professionals
Following are some of the duties and responsibilities that are part of the main job description of the allied health professionals –
1. They are involved in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and discharging of patients. They might also be required to refer the patients to other services.
2. They might be required to train, teach and mentor students, clinicians, patients, and carers.
3. They might be asked to develop extended practitioner and clinical roles that cross the set organizational and professional boundaries.
4. Allied health professionals collaborate with other clinicians to provide advice on specific matters.
5. They play an important role in promoting the well-being and health of the patients.
6. Allied health professions have to participate in the policy development and strategic planning for local organizations and services.
7. Many allied health practitioners are involved in research and development.
Allied health professions
Allied health professionals usually work within all specialties in the healthcare industry and all age groups. They possess special skills and expertise which can be useful for –
· People who are recovering mobility and movement after an injury or illness.
· People who are trying to overcome visual problems.
· People who want to improve the status of their diet and nutrition.
· People who want to develop and nurture communication skills.
· People who want to function normally and restore confidence in their everyday living skills.
There is no particular type of surrounding where the allied health professionals work. Their services can be used in hospitals, clinics, homes, schools, and even during surgeries in the operation theatre. Allied health professionals must work in collaboration with healthcare works or social care colleagues. They can work in voluntary sectors or primary, secondary, and social care.
Overview of some allied health professions
Now that we have covered allied health workers’ duties and responsibilities let us look at some of the different types of allied health professionals.
1 . Anaesthesiologist’s Assistant
An anaesthesiologist’s assistant usually assists the physician in providing the patients with high-quality anesthetic care. Anaesthesiologist’s assistants usually possess a masters’ degree in the biological sciences. They need to keep extensive knowledge and understanding of the numerous medications that have to be given to the patients.
2 . Athletic Trainer
Athletic trainers are allied health professionals who work with the management, treatment, and prevention of injuries and illnesses in the arena of competitive sports. They can be involved in developing a treatment prevention plan or help tap a sprained ankle. Their job description varies depending on the situation. Athletic trainers are usually required to be the first person at the scene when a sportsperson or athlete gets injured.
3 . Audiologist
Most people think that audiologists are only concerned with diagnosing and treating hearing problems. However, a large part of the job revolves around providing treatment to people who have problems with balance. They also fit patients with cochlear implants. For people who have extensive hearing loss, audiologists provide them with strategies for lip reading.
4 . Cardiovascular Technologist
Cardiovascular technologists play an important role in running diagnostic tests of the lungs and heart diagnostic tests. They assist the physicians in assessing vital organs through sophisticated imaging equipment. They take into account the patient’s history and conduct tests and record results.
5 . Cytotechnologist
Cytotechnologists play an important role in collecting tissue or blood sample from patients. These samples are usually taken to determine if any abnormalities can lead to critical illnesses. The part of a cytotechnologist revolves around preparing the slider of these samples and looking at them through a microscope. After recording their observations, the same is communicated to a pathologist who makes a final diagnosis.
6 . Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers assist in the process of conducting an ultrasound. Ultrasounds can be done to identify any condition affecting the internal organs. In addition to that, the ultrasound machine is also used to guide needles during a biopsy. The job of a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer revolves around preparing, maintaining, and operating equipment during the diagnostics tests.
7 . Dental Hygienist
As the name indicates, Dental Hygienists are usually involved in maintaining the oral health of people. Their job requires cleaning teeth, taking X-rays, applying sealants, and more. Dental Hygienists typically work in collaboration with a dentist and provide patient education.
8 . Dietician
A dietician is one allied health professional that almost everyone is familiar with. The demand for dieticians around the world is always on the rise. They are usually involved in assisting patients with health and nutritional needs. They also educate people on healthy eating habits and planning balanced meal plans.
9 . Emergency Medical Technician
Emergency Medical Technicians are generally referred to as EMTs. They are the first responders in emergency calls when patients need urgent medical care. A major part of their job description is ensuring that the patient is safely transported through the ambulance or helicopter. Emergency Medical Technicians act quickly in assessing a patient’s condition and providing quick and proper treatments. They are usually required to administer intravenous fluid or provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
10 . Lactation Consultant
In many instances, new mothers encounter problems during nursing. There can also be situations where they cannot produce enough milk to support the newborn. Lactation consultants are allied health professionals trained to deal with these issues. These professionals often work in birthing centers, clinics, and hospitals.
This list is not exhaustive, as there are many more allied health professions in the healthcare industry like occupational therapists, physician assistants, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, among others.
As can be seen from the brief overview given above, Allied Health Professions fall majorly into two categories – assistants and technologists/therapists. Allied health professionals are involved in providing specialized support to the needs of the people. Considering the sensitive nature of the job, allied health professionals can consider getting allied health insurance coverage. The profession of allied health care providers is wrought with risks, and a small mistake can often come with huge repercussions. Allied health insurance can provide allied health professions insurance cover for public liability and professional indemnity.