So Many Options
Gary is a twenty-year-old man who is interested in beginning a career in the medical field. He is meeting with a guidance counselor at the community college where he is taking prerequisite courses. Gary is asking the counselor what his options are if he wants to pursue some kind of direct patient care position that doesn't require high costs and many years of schooling. The counselor begins to explain to Gary the different types of health services.
What Are Health Services?
Health services consist of medical professionals, organizations, and ancillary health care workers who provide medical care to those in need. Health services serve patients, families, communities, and populations. They cover emergency, preventative, rehabilitative, long-term, hospital, diagnostic, primary, palliative, and home care. These services are centered around making health care accessible, high quality, and patient-centered. Many different types of care and providers are necessary in order to offer successful health services.
Gary didn't realize how many health services options have been around him. He usually uses his primary care physician, who is a medical doctor, for his medical needs. He's a young and healthy man, so he hasn't had to deal with other, more involved health services. However, he does have a grandmother in a long-term care facility that he visits every couple of weeks. The guidance counselor continues explaining the different types of health services that are available.
Types of Services
Health services cover many different types of medical issues. Many people think of primary care, outpatient care, and emergency care when they need an illness managed or are generally not feeling well. However, there are more health services that are dedicated to certain illnesses or issues. These health services include:
- Mental health care
- Dental care
- Laboratory and diagnostic care
- Substance abuse treatment
- Preventative care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Nutritional support
- Pharmaceutical care
- Prenatal care
Not everyone will need each health service, while others will need several in order to have their health care needs met. Gary begins thinking about what services he has used in the past. He uses his primary care physician, has been to an outpatient urgent care walk-in center, the emergency room, and the dentist. He understands why the other health care services are also important.
Now Gary is really interested to see what he can do in the health services field. He asks his counselor what type of training college can offer him.
Types of Providers
There are many different types of health services providers, such as primary care providers, nurses, specialists, and pharmacists.
Primary care providers include:
- Generalists, such as medical doctors (MD) and doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO), who focus on family practice, internal medicine, or pediatrics
- Obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYN), who focus on pregnancy, reproductive health, and prenatal care
- Physician assistants (PA), who work in a partnership with an MD or DO
- Nurse practitioners (NP), who work as primary care providers and can prescribe medication. They focus on reproductive health, family medicine (FNP), adult care (ANP), pediatrics (PNP), or geriatrics (GNP).
Other nurses include:
- Licensed practical nurses (LPN), who are licensed by the state to provide care to patients
- Registered nurses (RN) are graduates from a nursing program and licensed by the state after passing a state board exam. They have more privileges to provide care to patients than LPNs.
- Advanced practice nurses (APN), such as nurse practitioners (NP), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), certified nurse midwives (CNM), and clinical nurse specialists (CNS), have had additional training in specialized nursing and medicine-related fields. A CRNA is able to administer anesthesia during surgeries or tests. A CNM can practice in reproductive health for prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postnatal care. A CNS has had training in a specific area such as oncology, community health, or psychiatry.
Lastly, we have a variety of specialists, or doctors specializing in a specific branch of medicine, that include:
- Anesthesiologists (anesthesia)
- Dermatologists (skin disorders)
- Urologists (urinary tract disorders)
- Psychiatrists (mental health problems)
- Oncologists (cancer)
- Cardiologists (cardiac/heart problems)
- Nephrologists (kidney problems)
The guidance counselor explains to Gary that he hasn't reviewed all of the health services options available, but has provided him with a great starting point. At this time, Gary is interested in becoming a registered nurse because it will allow him to obtain his degree from the community college and provide him with opportunities to advance his career when he's ready. He's been seen by a nurse practitioner before and thinks that it may be an option later on after he has discovered what nursing is all about.
Let's review. Health services supply many options for health care consumers through emergency, preventative, rehabilitative, long-term, hospital, diagnostic, primary, palliative, and home care. The goal of health services is to make health care accessible, high quality, and patient-centered. Basic health services are known as primary care, outpatient care, and emergency care. Other types of health services include mental health care, dental care, laboratory and diagnostic care, substance abuse treatment, preventative care, physical and occupational health, nutritional support, pharmaceutical care, transportation, and prenatal care.
There are many different types of health services providers ranging from medical doctors, obstetricians/gynecologists, and physician assistants, to nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced practice nurses, to pharmacists, and specialists. Examples of specialized health services consist of anesthesia, dermatology, urology, psychiatry, oncology, cardiology, and nephrology.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is for your information only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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Director of Health Care Services Role Play
In this lesson, we learned about all of the different medical needs of a population of people and the providers of medical care in an organized health care system. In this lesson extension, you are going to role play as a a director of health care services. Let's look at several medical-based scenarios.
- A child has a fever and has red, itchy bumps on the skin and lacks an appetite.
- A child has been playing in the grass and is sneezing.
- A 75 year old male slipped in the kitchen and hit his head on the edge of the counter. He has a gash in his head and is bleeding a lot.
- A 20 year old female has stopped eating and has been stealing things to get money to purchase illegal drugs.
- A 40 year old male is 50 pounds overweight and wishes to lose weight.
- A pregnant woman is about 6 weeks away from the baby's due date. She is experiencing contractions and pain in her legs.
Pretend you work for a medical advice phone line. On the first hour of your shift, you receive a call for each of the scenarios above. Direct them to the type of medical care they need and what medical professional they would need to provide treatment. For example, if a child has a earache with a fever you would suggest they visit a medical care facility and see a pediatric MD or DO. Refer back to the lesson for the lists of types of services and types of providers that will fit the needs of the patients.
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