The Different Health Care Job Roles including those that Require a Nursing Education

It can be difficult to know what to do when you are younger, and for a lot of people that doesn’t change as you grow older! The things you say when you are a child often revolve about what you find interesting —being a singer, being a dancer, etc. – but you realize that these careers aren’t for everyone as you reach adulthood.

One of the most popular and rewarding careers for women is healthcare. There are many different roles within healthcare, and it can be very confusing to figure out which one you prefer. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to some of the most popular careers in healthcare.

Healthcare Job Roles

To make it easy, I have broken down the guide into sections and subsections so that information can be quickly assessed.

Physicians (Doctors or Surgeons)

This is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when your think of healthcare. It is at the top of the list as these positions often take the longest time to qualify for, involving several years of education and several more in further on the job training. In short, here’s the difference between the two:

Doctors are either family/locally based general practitioners (GP) who don’t have a specialty in any particular field of medicine or hospital-based consultants who specialize in a certain field. A GP is often more suited to give you advice on general complaints and can refer you to a specialist if they think that is appropriate. The specialist physician will have a strong background in their field of practice and will be able to advise patients on specific conditions relevant to their field.

Surgeons specialize but are specifically trained to perform surgeries, where appropriate. Surgery is usually reserved for when medical treatments have not been effective or are known not to be effective.


Another one of the most common job roles in healthcare and often outnumber doctors in many hospitals.

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs – sometimes called orderlies) perform a small range of procedures in support of Registered Nurses, who are often their supervising colleagues. This includes taking blood pressure, moving patients and dispensing medications prescribed by other HCAs.

Licensed Practical Nurses are qualified to do the work of CNAs with the addition of being able to perform injections, preparing patients for surgery and changing dressing among other things. They are also supervised by Registered Nurses.

Registered Nurses are qualified to do the work of LPNs and CNAs but are also able to make nurse diagnoses. This role usually requires an undergraduate qualification.

Clinical Nurse Leaders specialize in leadership and care coordination. An MSN online program can give you the preparation needed to become a leader in the medical field, which will help you impact patient care in a positive way.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses specialize in one of the medical fields, for example, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners. This requires a postgraduate qualification which depends on the field you enter. For example, a nurse anesthetist requires a national certifying exam, which can be difficult to pass, Valley Anesthesia has more information about the course content and length.

Pharmacy Related Roles

There are a few roles related the pharmacy industry which is vital to support those in the medical field, including:

Pharmacists are required to have an undergraduate level of education specializing in medical drugs and their use. They don’t have the medical knowledge that doctors have but do have a lot of knowledge on specific types of drugs and their effects. Pharmacists and doctors can collaborate to ensure patients are given the best dosage for their medical needs.

Pharmacy assistants/technicians assist the lead pharmacist in their day to day duties. They work under the general guidance of the lead pharmacist and carry out a wide range of tasks, including providing patients with their medication and general advice about non-urgent and routine medicines.


These roles are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the healthcare industry, as there are more jobs than can be listed here! If you have a passion for caring for people, healthcare is a good choice but comes with its downsides. There is great responsibility that comes with the role, and it can be stressful during busy periods. Despite this, many people who work in the sector feel that the positives of helping people (for instance with pain relief) when they need it, outweigh the negatives when it comes to the job.