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What You Need to Know About Getting a Job in Healthcare Right Now

Providers are doing whatever they can to meet the surge of patients. Hospitals are asking doctors and nurses to come out of retirement. Medical schools are allowing students to graduate early to join the fight. The Federation of State Medical Boards is helping providers find talent by offering free access to its physician database.

Job seekers who don't have a medical degree can still land a job in healthcare. Providers are hiring dishwashers, cooks, bus drivers, customer service reps, housekeepers, janitors and many other non-medical positions.

Whether you're a nurse about to start your career or a server who was laid off a few weeks ago, there's a healthcare job you're qualified for. Read on to learn who's hiring, how they're hiring and the specific job titles available.

Healthcare Jobs for Displaced Medical Personnel

As COVID-19 cases mount, thousands of workers in non-emergency care and elective medical care are being furloughed or laid off. The reason: The pandemic is leading to the canceling or postponement of elective and preventative procedures in plastic surgery, dentistry, gynecology, urology and other specialties to focus resources on more urgent matters. Even patients with serious conditions aren't going to the hospital for fear of catching the coronavirus.

Many of the employees laid off or furloughed work for large healthcare systems or medical groups that specialize in elective surgery. These workers simply don't know when the demand for their services will return — and there are plenty of companies happy to take them on in the meantime.

The good news is that many of the support staff — nurses, doctors and office administrators — can find work in the healthcare sectors that are hiring. Most of the new jobs involve emergency and critical care.

In those areas, hiring has become so urgent that retired doctors and nurses are being asked to come out of retirement, and medical students are graduating early to begin work.

The Most Needed Jobs in the Coronavirus Fight

Among healthcare professionals, registered nurses (RNs) are on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight. Trusted Health has pulled together a real-time list of open positions and "high impact opportunities" for RNs who want to help with the pandemic. Each listing includes weekly pay, start date and a link to an application. If you'd like to see jobs available in your community other than nursing, you can turn to an online job board.

RNs are particularly needed in the following units:

  • Intensive Care
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Dialysis
  • Progressive Care 
  • Pediatrics
  • Emergency
  • Telemetry

Many providers are hiring right now, bypassing the interview process and only accepting applications from nurses who can start within two weeks. The jobs are extremely demanding with floating 12-hour shifts, guaranteed overtime and no time off.

Employers are loosening up requirements the best they can. While some positions require a year or two of on-the-job experience, others will hire nurses who just graduated and only possess a temporary license. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNA) are also in demand. Here's a state-by-state breakdown of RN licensure rules.

Additionally, because the coronavirus affects the lungs so severely, certified respiratory therapists (CRT) are also in high demand at medical establishments across the country. To become a respiratory therapist, you must have an associate or bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy, a certification and a license to practice in your state.

While the interview process might be more relaxed at the moment, all of these positions will require an updated resume. Additionally, a well-written cover letter can help you stand out from the competition.

Healthcare Jobs That Don't Require Clinical Experience

Nurses aren't the only healthcare workers in demand right now. From food service to administrative work, providers are bringing non-clinical workers on board to meet the needs of new patients. Here are a few key jobs that might be available in your community:

Customer Service & Administration

Customer service associates in the retail or restaurant business can seamlessly transition to a similar job in healthcare. In healthcare, customer service reps process payments, handle paperwork, address customer questions and maintain patient files. Since this is an entry-level position, healthcare experience isn't required, and you could use the job as a stepping stone to a high-paying career in hospital administration.

Speaking of, the administrative roles you come across will have tougher application requirements. You may need more related experience or in-depth knowledge in healthcare to be considered.

Here's a sample of available job titles:

  • Customer service representative
  • Receptionist
  • Customer concierge (at CVS Health)
  • Patient registration specialist
  • Medical biller
  • Medical transcriptionist

Food Service

Don't despair if you were laid off or furloughed by a restaurant — there may be a healthcare job for you. Nursing homes, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other places that provide inpatient care are filling roles that require your skills.

Many of the available healthcare jobs are an easy one-to-one match. Servers at hospitals, for example, perform many of the same tasks as servers at restaurants. Anyone with a high school diploma (or its equivalent) and a bit of training in dining services will qualify. A ServSafe Food Handler certification may be required.

Dishwashers and cooks who worked at restaurants will find similar roles with healthcare providers. You may come across a few unfamiliar job titles, such as food service aides, but if you read through the description, they're quite similar to other kinds of kitchen work. In the age of the coronavirus, all of these positions will require extensive training in cleaning and sanitation.

Here's a sample of available job titles:

  • Dishwasher
  • Cook
  • Food service worker/dietary aide
  • Waiter/waitress

Transportation

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the transportation industry into uncharted territory. Many transportation workers have lost their jobs. Thankfully, the healthcare sector can pick up some of the slack. Long-term care, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and mobile care providers are looking for people to drive their patients to and from appointments. For many of the positions, qualifications are simple: a valid driver's license and a high school diploma (or its equivalent).

Here's a sample of available job titles:

  • Patient transportation coordinator
  • Mobile clinic driver
  • Emergency services driver
  • Transporter
  • Home medical support driver

Custodial Work

Janitors, housekeepers and other custodians are on the frontlines preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Healthcare providers are on the hunt for workers who can professionally clean and sanitize their spaces. You likely have one in your area.

Work experience is preferred but not mandatory. You will receive on-the-job training for how to deal with trash, medical waste and sharp containers. Anyone who has worked in waste removal and sanitation will have no trouble transitioning to these jobs.

Here's a sample of available job titles:

  • Housekeeper
  • Custodian
  • Janitor
  • Sanitation tech
  • Environmental services
  • Laundry aide

How to Prepare Your Resume for a Healthcare Job

Whether you're a laid off healthcare worker or a server looking for a new gig, you should update your resume. Employers have fast-tracked the hiring process, but resumes remain a great way to set yourself apart from the pack.

If you're short on time, there's no need to go overboard revamping your resume. A few simple changes will go a long way. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

  • It's all about transferable skills. Moving from one industry to another requires highlighting skills you picked up in your previous work that will come in handy in the new role. These are known as transferable skills. For example, a manager at H&M in charge of payroll and scheduling can use those skills in customer service at a hospital. Showcase these skills in your professional summary, work history and skills sections.
  • Relevant work history gets priority. When you list your work history, you don't need to give every job equal weight. Maybe you worked at a hospital a couple of jobs back. This is a highly relevant experience in your future employer's eyes. Beef up that section with extra bullet points, and consider how you can tie them to the job description at hand.
  • Emphasize clinical training and coursework. It's a crazy time to be graduating from medical school. Some programs are even graduating students early so they can join the fight against coronavirus. Without much, if any, on-the-job experience, you should emphasize your clinical training and coursework. Here's an example of what an education section should look like for an entry-level certified nursing assistant position.

Employers are hiring fast, so get started as soon as you can. A resume builder will help you speed up the process. Ours is free and includes plenty of healthcare templates. Your resume is where you make your case that you'd be a major asset in the healthcare industry.

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Donald Sjoerdsma

Donald Sjoerdsma

Career Advice Expert

Don is a freelance writer with more than five years' experience in digital media. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Oprah.com, Yahoo! and HuffPost. While at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, his creative use of archival content was a driving force in the company's success on YouTube.…

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