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Healthcare Practitioner – The Meaning Of Healthcare Practitioner And 10 Steps To Becoming One

Healthcare Practitioner – The Meaning Of Healthcare Practitioner And 10 Steps To Becoming One

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a healthcare practitioner, recognizing its vast scope and diverse opportunities? This blog aims to delve into the role and responsibilities of healthcare practitioners, offering insights into their work. Continue reading to discover valuable information and all the necessary resources in this field.

What Is Healthcare Practitioner?

A healthcare practitioner is licensed to practice in various healthcare settings, delivering essential services to individuals. They encompass many professions, including osteopaths, nurses, podiatrists, dentists, chiropractors, clinical psychologists, optometrists, nurse-midwives, etc.

These professionals are recognized as authorized providers by universities or employee group health plans, allowing individuals to substantiate their claims for benefits through their medical certification.

What Does a Healthcare Practitioner Do?

The responsibilities of a healthcare practitioner can differ based on their specific type and specialization. Below are a few illustrations of tasks that a healthcare practitioner may undertake:

  1. Engaging in patient consultations
  2. Conducting health condition assessments
  3. Administering medical examinations
  4. Developing treatment strategies
  5. Prescribing medications or alternative treatments
  6. Collaborating with nurses and other healthcare professionals to ensure high-quality patient care.

How To Become a Health Care Practitioner

Below are the key steps to pursue a career as a healthcare practitioner:

1. Consider The Healthcare Career You Would Want

Every healthcare practitioner’s career may necessitate additional education or specific work requirements to meet the qualifications for that particular role.

For instance, while many healthcare practitioner positions require completion of medical school, certain positions may only require a bachelor’s degree or specialized education. It is important to carefully consider the career path you wish to pursue and determine the specific practitioner position that aligns with your goals.

2. Your Bachelor’s Degree Is Needed

While some healthcare practitioners’ roles, like nurse practitioners or holistic health practitioners, may have lower educational requirements, most positions in the field necessitate obtaining an advanced degree from a medical school. Many medical schools typically require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, such as biology, psychology, or social work, is advisable to meet the prerequisites for medical school admission.

3. Take The MCAT Exam

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized national examination used by many medical schools to evaluate prospective students’ critical thinking abilities and scientific knowledge.

Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Osteopathic Medicine (DO) programs accept the MCAT. To prepare for the exam, one can obtain study guides, take practice tests, and consider hiring MCAT tutors. These resources can help develop a strong foundation and enhance performance on the MCAT.

4. You Must Apply To a Medical School

Once you have completed the MCAT and obtained your scores, you can begin the application process for medical schools. There are two primary types of medical schools: MD (Doctor of Medicine) and DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) programs.

MD programs are the more prevalent path for healthcare practitioners, but you also have the option to pursue a DO degree, which emphasizes a more holistic approach to medical care. It is important to carefully consider which degree aligns with your career goals and then apply to the appropriate program accordingly.

5. Complete a Medical School Program

Enrolling in a medical school provides invaluable knowledge and skills that can enhance your ability to meet the healthcare requirements of future patients. Typically spanning approximately four years, the medical school curriculum covers various subjects, including disease diagnosis, pharmacology, and anatomy.

Additionally, practical courses may be offered to facilitate hands-on learning of diagnostic procedures and medical techniques. Attending medical school equips aspiring healthcare professionals with the necessary tools and understanding to excel in their future practice.

6. Choose a Field To Specialize On

Although it is possible to become a medical practitioner without specializing, many professionals opt to concentrate their expertise on a specific medical condition or a particular area of the body.

Choosing a specialization can impact graduation requirements and the range of hospitals available for residency placement. Throughout medical school, exploring different specialisations and identifying the areas that pique your interest is advisable.

This thoughtful consideration can help guide your decision-making process and ultimately shape your career path as a healthcare professional.

7. Take a Licensing Exam

Upon completing medical school, you can take a licensing examination to obtain a medical license, which formally designates you as a physician or a healthcare practitioner. However, you may be required to complete a residency program to practice medicine.

MD professionals typically take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), while individuals with a DO degree undergo the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX). These licensing exams are essential to becoming a licensed and practising physician in their respective fields.

8. Register For a Matching Service To a Residency Program

Upon successfully finishing your medical school education and passing the licensing exam, you must complete at least one year of residency to acquire the qualifications to practice medicine. To secure a residency position, medical school graduates participate in a residency matching program.

This process typically involves submitting applications to specific hospitals, enrolling in a matching service, and interviewing residency program administrators. Factors influencing your residency choices include your scores on the licensing test, chosen specialization, whether you hold an MD or DO degree, and your overall academic performance in medical school.

9. Consider Getting a Board Certification

Obtaining board certification is not a mandatory requirement to become a medical practitioner. However, these certifications enable you to practice specific specialities or utilize medical equipment.

More than 24 medical boards offer certificates in 145 different specialities. Certain healthcare professionals, such as nurse practitioners, may need board certification even if they haven’t undergone medical school education.

If you specialize in a specific area of medicine, it is advisable to research the specific requirements for board certification in your respective region or field of practice.

10. Continuously Taking Classes

Most healthcare practitioners, including those who do not require medical school attendance, engage in continuing education courses to enhance their medical knowledge and fulfil licensure requirements. These classes inform practitioners about new medical technologies, techniques, and best practices.

Information regarding continuing education courses can typically be obtained through the workplace, by contacting previous educational institutions, or by conducting online searches for methods available in the respective area. Participating in these courses allows healthcare professionals to stay updated and maintain their competence in the evolving field of medicine.

Jael Okwuchukwu

I am Okwuchukwu Jael, a writer, educator, and musician from Enugu State. Teaching, both academic and musical, is a passion of mine, and I specialize as a Western pianist. Currently, I am employed as a blogger at Writer's King LTD, combining my love for writing and desire to share knowledge with a broader audience.

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