The world of healthcare is changing. It’s becoming smarter and better connected. Yet people are still composed of the same blood, organs, muscles, and bones. The core abilities needed for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are the same. New technology and communication methods make aspects of the job easier, but also require a more modern, IT-savvy medical student.
A health informatics degree has become essential. Health informatics is the use of computing, networking, and organization to share health information. It is one of the fastest growing areas of health care. It enables better informed medical professionals and is revolutionizing the field.
Image via Flickr by Medill DC
How do you get your high school students ready to enter the new medical world? Knowledge and preparation are key. Medical school is still a long process, but approaching it with fundamental skills and a plan makes it easier. Students aspiring to careers in medicine should graduate high school strong in the following disciplines.
Science and Observation
Students still need to practice sound scientific method, be able to repeat experiments, understand the human body, and know the interactions of chemicals. A classic education in biology, chemistry, and anatomy delivers this knowledge. They also must be able to navigate the web for medical information.
A doctor needs a curious mind. Throughout school, students must be encouraged to watch, record, and recall. The difference between a medical professional with knowledge and one that solves problems is observation. They need to see the situation clearly, understand it, and find a solution.
Communication and Empathy
Students need to communicate their ideas in words. They must write essays, papers, and letters that are clear and descriptive. They need courses in expository prose more than creative writing. They also need to recognize how online language use is different. They need social media skills and proper digital citizenship.
Many brilliant minds lack the empathy to work with the masses. A bright student must also be a social one, able to earn trust and speak with anyone. They need to ask the right questions and deliver bad news in a sensitive way. They should get involved in various activities, meet diverse people and seek leadership roles.
Information Technology and Analytics
The last generation of healthcare workers didn’t need this. Today, understanding of software, hardware, and networks is vital. Students must know what to do when their computers don’t cooperate. When lives are on the line, medical professionals don’t wait for the IT guy.
Access to more information leads to sifting through mountains of data. The successful modern medical professional can spot patterns and anomalies in those mountains. Students need strong math skills, familiarity with spreadsheets, and experience solving complex equations.
Students will need to sell their ideas, products, and organizations. They need practice with persuasive language, advertising, and speech. They should participate in writing, acting, and debate.
Although medical school may be ominous now, the rewards are innumerable. Skills learned from years of practice and labs result in the opportunity to change lives in the hospital. The years of study won’t be easy, but with knowledge of traditional science and modern health informatics your students can earn promising medical careers.