Originally from San Diego, Melinda's first career was in the hospitality industry, working in exciting restaurants on the West Coast. A lifelong home cook, she turned to nutrition studies when chronic health issues left her with more questions than answers.
The healthcare industry will continue to grow as the population ages, and more people experience higher healthcare needs. The turmoil of the pandemic has also strained the industry, leaving job openings as the situation normalizes. Many people have shifted in their roles or chosen a new job, increasing the demand for new employees in all kinds of positions. Furthermore, people have postponed surgeries and other medical care to avoid taxing an over-taxed system, resulting in pent-up demand.
For all of these reasons, now is a good time to be pursuing entry-level roles in the healthcare world. While other roles may pay higher levels for those already in healthcare, the industry is currently competitive enough that incoming people will find good prospects and salary opportunities.
One example of an entry-level role that you can train for quickly is the role of Sterile Processing Technician. Learn more about how this role plays a vital part in fighting infection inside hospitals, making it a rewarding way to serve while also being a role that is in constant growing demand in Portland, OR. Learn more about becoming a sterile processing technician and how many sterile processing technicians Portland needs these days.
Dr. Vileka Fisher is a licensed Naturopathic Physician, midwife, and an adjunct faculty member at Portland Community College. They graduated from NUNM in 2021 with a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a Certificate in Natural Childbirth. They achieved the state requirements for board certification in natural childbirth/Naturopathic midwifery by completing a rigorous two-year internship in Naturopathic midwifery at a busy primary care and birth center facility located in Portland, Oregon. In addition to her doctorate, Dr. Fisher has a Master of Science in nutrition from NUNM and a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Corban University.
Nursing is an excellent example of a field where a general, far-reaching curriculum creates the foundation for the career. However, many nurses choose a role where they rely on a subset of their skills most of the time. Perhaps they are working with patients frequently who need specific procedures done but don't require blood draws or IVs as often. After all, some healthcare settings have dedicated phlebotomists specializing in blood draws and other similar skills.
However, as a nurse, you may eventually want to move up or move on to a different setting, and knowing what will make you most attractive as a candidate for advancement or a new, in-demand role can be difficult. Nurses can distinguish themselves with phlebotomist certification, such as Portland Community College's phlebotomy technician program.
Hospitals and other clinical care facilities can only operate because they maintain meticulous attention to cleanliness. People expect hospital spaces to be clean to prevent complication risk due to exposure to outside bacteria or viruses.
As a result, healthcare settings employ Sterile Processing Technicians who are very well versed in how to completely, carefully, and quickly sterilize clinical spaces to be ready for use by another patient. For people who are naturally clean and sanitize every surface in their home, this can be a natural fit as a career. It is a rewarding chance to do good with your natural tendency toward cleanliness and an opportunity to enter the healthcare field with only a short training program.
Let's look more in-depth at the role of becoming a Sterile Processing Technician and how a one-term training course can jumpstart a career in the healthcare field.
You may imagine a 'career in healthcare' beginning with a decade of schooling and interning with a hospital, plus years in residency. However, there are many different roles within a hospital or clinical setting. It turns out that even for long-term, well-paid work, you can often receive training and certification within a year or two, and phlebotomy is a great example.
Oregon and Washington have recently dealt with shortages of phlebotomists who provide necessary services in almost any clinical setting you can imagine. Studying to become a phlebotomy technician at Portland Community College is a great way to start an entry career in phlebotomy. From there, you can grow your skills and experience and enter your ideal work setting.
Many people envision that college classes are for significant shifts, from being in high school into a career for the first time or from one field into a different field. However, Portland Community College hosts various programs that help trained and educated professionals move to the next level within their fields or expand their job responsibilities.
A great example is the collaborative work within the Foundations of Clinical Research program. This program is offered once a year, with more limited enrollment. Most medical professionals in this program are already registered nurses or have even higher credentials but are looking into how to participate in research studies or how to get involved in clinical research conducted at their hospitals or other healthcare settings.
Let's dive in and see how this program helps professionals expand their skills and widen their career opportunities, even mid-career!
Living in a diverse area like Portland, you're likely to encounter people from other countries than you. People who speak different languages and who have different norms for how they receive healthcare.
Courtney is a functional nutritional therapy practitioner and yoga instructor. She earned her master’s degree in applied behavioral science/counseling in 2002 from Bastyr University with the intention of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist, but instead started a family of her own and stayed home for several years until her youngest started kindergarten. In 2013 she continued her studies at the Nutritional Therapy Association and works in a family functional medicine clinic in Portland, Oregon. In 2017, Courtney rounded out her education by becoming a registered yoga teacher, and currently specializes in teaching yoga to seniors.
Kira Freed, MEd, MScN, is an adjunct faculty member at Portland Community College, teaching in the Functional Nutrition program. She also has several roles at her alma mater, National University of Natural Medicine, as the Teaching Kitchen Coordinator, a Professional Teaching Assistant for the Nutrition program, and as a Food as Medicine Everyday educator.