This is the latest in a series of articles submitted by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority
As one of the largest employers in the Cayman Islands, the Health Services Authority offers opportunities for those seeking employment for the first time, as well as people looking for a career change.
The range of job possibilities at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town in Grand Cayman, for example, translates into jobs that cater to a variety of interests, skills and education levels.
Well-known options include cashiers, porters, medical technicians, food service workers, nurses and doctors. Other employment opportunities also exist in areas such as pharmacy, physiotherapy, radiology, psychiatry and as biomedical technicians.
New entrants to the job market may not immediately think about the health care sector when considering the fields in which to seek jobs, but many people are only an internship or course or two away from qualifying for employment at the hospital.
The HSA recently participated in the Careers, Education, Training and Jobs Expo 2012, organised by the Chamber of Commerce. At the expo, in an interactive display, HSA staff demonstrated how an ultrasound is performed and allowed people to view various cultures in a petri dish through a microscope. They also advised about the necessary study paths for different medical and health care specialties.
A new initiative by the HSA involves a volunteer programme for people over 16 years old and those seeking to do community service. Through this programme, participants may help others and also gain valuable exposure to specialist areas in the industry.
The HSA is looking for volunteers in patient care areas, patient financial services, administration, materials management, laboratory services, and as porters and drivers. Anyone interested may call 244-2604 for more information.
As for employment opportunities, the focus is on attracting candidates in areas where there are vacancies. However, there also many career paths to consider at the HSA.
The role of the pharmacist has evolved from one who simply fills prescriptions to that of an active member of the health care team. A pharmacist can be involved in any aspect of the preparation and use of medicines, from the discovery of their active ingredients to their use by patients. Pharmacists also monitor the effects of medicines, both for patient care and research purposes. The testing and special preparation of medicines in a hospital is the responsibility of the pharmacist.
To be accepted into a school of pharmacy, applicants need to take advanced chemistry, as well as courses including biology, physics and math. These programmes offer related bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
There is also a need for pharmacy technicians, for which the educational requirements are not as rigorous. Pharmacists supervise these staff members, who perform technical and clerical duties to assist in the operation of the pharmacy. These tasks include measuring, weighing and mixing drugs; preparing and labelling medicines; filling bottles and capsules with the correct quantity of medicine and issuing the medicine to the customer.
Students who have completed their GCSEs can apply for admission to a pharmacy technology programme, which teaches the knowledge and skills needed to prepare, distribute, label and package drugs, and to keep records. Formal educational programmes range from an eight-month certificate to an associate degree. Some pharmacy technicians can also learn their skills on the job.
The vocation of physiotherapy involves helping to diagnose and treat a much wider variety of medical issues than most people would realise, making every day on the job a unique and interesting one.
Among the conditions that physiotherapists deal with are back and neck pain, arthritis, sports injuries, stroke rehabilitation, paediatric problems and nerve injuries.
To get accepted into a physiotherapy programme, applicants need at least a B average in such courses as math, English, biology, chemistry and physics, though the specific requirements vary for schools in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom or Jamaica.
The programmes can lead to a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, and take anywhere from three to seven years to complete, offering courses in anatomy, physics, pathology and behavioural science, along with physiotherapy. After learning theory the first year, students move on to direct patient care supervised by a qualified therapist.
Physiotherapists should be good communicators, tolerant, patient, caring, have a good sense of humour, enjoy good health and be fit.
Within the field of radiography, there are a variety of specialisations from which to choose, including bone densitometry, CAT scan technologists, sonography, mammography, magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear medicine.
Those interested in becoming CAT scan technologists need to complete a radiography programme, which offers a certificate in radiologic technology, associate of applied science in radiologic technology or bachelor’s of science in radiologic technology.
Mammographers use low-dose X-rays to examine the breast for diagnostic and screening purposes, to find tumours and cysts, and to help differentiate between benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) growths. Due to the nature of this specialty, mammographers should be calm and sensitive, with a gentle disposition and a sense of humour. They are organised, efficient, and safety conscious, with a desire to help people.
MRI technologists are trained in anatomy, physiology, patient care and safety, and the physical principles of electrical and magnetic fields and their medical applications.
The hospital also has openings for biomedical technicians. Biomedical equipment technicians, also known as biomedical engineering technologists or biomedical equipment specialists, are highly skilled technologists responsible for ensuring medical equipment is functional, safe and properly configured.
These professionals install, inspect, maintain, calibrate, repair, modify and design biomedical equipment and support the systems to make sure they adhere to stringent medical standard guidelines. They also educate and advise staff and other agencies on basic physiological principles, theories of operation, and procedures for safe clinical application of biomedical equipment.
Most entry-level technicians enter the field with an associate’s degree in a related field or they spend about one year in full-time military training to obtain required job skills. A four-year graduate is an applied engineer who can perform the necessary medical equipment management duties, with practical experience usually gained through internships and on-the-job training. Medical device manufacturers also frequently offer continuing education.
By far one of the most highly trained of the professions is the psychiatrist. Of course, personality traits are important in psychiatry, with the best candidates being sympathetic and empathetic, as well as keenly interested in how the mind works.
A psychiatrist must first complete a degree in medicine and become a graduate doctor, then study for a further four or five years to complete the psychiatry degree. In total, at least 10 years of university study is required, but you can start preparing in secondary school by studying the sciences and taking part in extracurricular activities.
Psychiatrists work in many fields and can specialise to concentrate on children and adolescents, the elderly or the mentally disabled. They also advise government planning teams as social psychiatrists.
For more information on employment opportunities at the Cayman Islands Hospital visit the HSA website, www.hsa.ky, or check the new volunteer programme. For details on educational options, ask at your school, or enquire at the University College of the Cayman Islands or the International College of the Cayman Islands.