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What Does a Health Care Professional Do?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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The job responsibilities of a health care professional can vary significantly according to what type of professional he or she is. This term generally refers to anyone who works in the health industry to provide services to patients in a variety of settings. A health care professional may be a doctor, a nurse, a community health worker, or another type of practitioner. These professionals must be trained to be qualified to provide healthcare, which means a college education or certificate program must be completed before that person can work in the field.

When one thinks of a health care professional, a doctor usually comes to mind. Many types of doctors exist: surgeons, general physicians, specialists such as gastroenterologists or cardiologists, and interns. Of all the health care professional positions, doctors often have to go through the most schooling and on the job training. Medical schools allow students to focus on a particular area of medicine, but they also offer training that allows a doctor to become a general practitioner. Coursework such as anatomy, physiology, biology, pathology, and many more are covered during one's education at a medical school. The doctor's education continues once he or she begins working in a medical setting such as a hospital; he or she is likely to be an intern under the guidance of more experienced doctors for an extended period of time.

Other health care professional jobs are less in-depth but equally important. Nurses, for example, often staff hospitals and doctor's offices, and while they are not qualified to perform many of the functions a doctor will perform, nurses can perform some medical procedures. They will directly tend to patients as well, which can be a difficult job in itself. Orderlies and interns can also help nurses run wings of a hospital or doctor's offices, though these people are usually not qualified to perform any medical procedures.

Nutritionists, physical therapists, and mental health professionals also fall under the very broad category of health care professional. Physical therapists specialize in the human body and movement; people who are injured or who undergo surgery will often visit a physical therapist to undergo rehabilitation. Nutritionists focus on healthy diets and other practices necessary to maintain the human body; they will often work with overweight patients, athletes, and anyone else who wants to improve overall health. Mental health professionals can focus on a variety of topics; therapists can work with patients to work through difficult mental health issues, while other professionals may diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatment for those illnesses.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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