Playing Field to Medical Field: 6 Careers in Medicine for Former MVPs
By Ashley Brooks on 01/04/2017
You want a career that capitalizes on your natural abilities. One that allows you to leverage your existing skills so you can help others. As you start your quest for a new career, it makes sense to start with your areas of interest. For you, this area is athletics.
Now that you’ve decided to find a path other than playing in the big leagues or competing in the Olympics, you’ve set your sights on a different all-star industry: healthcare. You want to play a role in helping others stay healthy and feel their best.
It may have been a few years since your days on the playing field, but the skills you learned there can actually be transferred to a rewarding career in the medical field. We compiled this lineup of six careers in medicine that are perfect for sports enthusiasts like yourself.
6 careers in medicine perfect for former athletes
1. Surgical technologist
Surgical technologists are an important member of the surgery team. They prep the operating room (OR), sterilize equipment, get patients ready for surgery and assist surgeons during procedures by handing them instruments and maintaining a sterile environment.
Performing surgery takes a lot of collaboration among medical personnel. The teamwork skills you learned during your MVP days are valuable in this medical career. Surgical techs need to work with the entire OR team, from nurses to surgeons to anesthesiologists, to ensure a patient’s safety during surgery. Your athletic experience has taught you to coordinate seamlessly with others, especially in tense or high-pressure situations.
Check out this article to learn more: 4 Reasons Why Becoming a Surgical Tech Is Worth It.
2. Physical therapist assistant
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work with patients to help them recover their range of motion and manage pain after an illness or injury. They work directly with people, assigning exercises and stretches to help them regain movement. They carefully observe patients and work with physical therapists to develop the most suitable course of action for each scenario.
During your time on the playing field, you gained many skills that transfer to the world of physical therapy — you may have even worked with a PTA as a result of a sports injury. This active career will build on your knowledge of stretches and muscle groups. Your natural energy and support for your teammates will also come in handy while you encourage patients to push through exercises that may be difficult or painful.
Check out this article to learn more: 7 Signs You Should Become a Physical Therapist Assistant.
3. Registered nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) are the hardworking medical professionals who keep the healthcare world turning. They care for patients in a variety of settings, from clinics and home care to hospitals and nursing homes. They ensure that patients are safe and comfortable by checking vital signs, administering medications, keeping careful track of medical records and more.
No matter which setting a nurse works in, there’s no denying that teamwork and leadership skills are an essential part of the job. RNs often need to take charge and make quick decisions to provide the best care for their patients — but they also need to know when it’s best to step back and let doctors or specialists step in. Whether you were team captain or one of many team players, your athletic experience has given you a strong foundation to become an RN.
Check out this article to learn more: What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
4. Health information manager
Health information management (HIM) careers may not be a well-known branch of the medical field, but health information managers play a vital role behind the scenes of healthcare. These professionals manage personnel and coordinate health services. They also work with electronic health records and develop information systems for their healthcare setting.
Whether it was memorizing the playbook or rallying your team to work toward a common goal, you’ve got the experience it takes to delegate tasks and help develop others in a management role. You know what it takes to devise a strategy and coordinate many moving pieces, which is a fitting skillset for this position.
5. Medical coder
Medical coders assign codes to patients’ electronic health records as a way to organize their diagnosis and treatment history. These codes are also used to bill insurance companies and ensure that a patient’s medical history is up to date across any hospital or clinic they visit. Medical coders often act as the mediator between the healthcare providers and insurance companies.
You’re no stranger to working behind the scenes as a playmaker, helping your team formulate the best possible game plan. You’re used to getting the little details just right so you can help carry your team to victory. That attention to detail and ability to focus on a precise strategy could make you an all-star medical coder.
Check out this article to learn more: Why the Healthcare Industry Is Struggling to Fill Medical Coding Jobs.
6. Community health worker
These healthcare professionals provide an important role ensuring their community has access to the necessary medical services and health education. Community health workers discuss health concerns with local individuals and provide support and resources to help them manage existing conditions or get help with a new diagnosis. They also serve as a health advocate for their community members, calling for action and support for health concerns among those they serve.
Community health workers support others and offer them resources to improve their situation, much like coaches do for their players. You may not have been your team’s coach, but you probably still picked up plenty of coaching skills along the way, whether it was serving as team captain or mentoring younger teammates. Those experiences supporting and educating others will help you excel in this career.
Check out this article to learn more: What Is It Really Like Being a Community Health Worker?
Join the medical team
There’s no shortage of opportunities for former athletes who are ready to apply their skills in the medical field. Your competitive experience will serve you well in any of these careers in medicine.
But just as an all-star athlete undergoes rigorous training, you’ll need to prepare as well. Check out our School of Health Sciences page to learn more about the education that could help set you up for success!