Healthcare professions for introverts

introvert healthcare professions



I want to be a doctor. I want to be a nurse. As children, we cling to dream professions without any regard to how our personalities will hinder or help our pursuit of a career. As teens and young adults, we are usually nudged toward pursuing professions that are financially lucrative. Becoming a nurse or doctor is usually suggested at least once.

Why this constant focus on healthcare as a profession? The need for doctors, nurses, and other health professionals has been growing rapidly and will continue to grow. The Bureau of labor statistics projected the healthcare sector will add 4.2 million jobs between 2010 and 2020.

As an introvert, I imagine actually entering the workforce as a doctor or a nurse would be mentally exhausting. The constant need to converse with patients. Patients who are strangers. Patients who are strangers who have stressed relatives that keep asking concerned questions. Oh, and did I mention you’ll need to interact with your co-workers as well? Cue mental exhaustion and the need to recharge your energy levels.

You might be thinking, I’m an introvert and I’ve always wanted to be a nurse.

Determined introverts can successfully have a fulfilling nursing or doctor career. You just aren’t as intuitively predisposed to excel at the social aspect of the job as extroverts. To successfully maintain a nursing or doctor career, you’ll need to find and implement a few tips and tricks to slow down the depletion of your energy levels and increase how fast you can recharge your energy levels. And if I were you, I wouldn’t wait until you have successfully completed your degree program to test out those tips and tricks. Better to know before you get too far into a degree program, if you’ll be able to have a fulfilling job as a nurse.

But here’s a bit of good news: not all healthcare professions require a constant stream of social interaction with patients. Determined introverts might want to consider pursuing one of the careers listed below.

Health Informatics

Introverts can flourish in health informatics. While nurses and doctors work directly with patients, health informatics work in the background gathering and analyzing data to equip other medical professionals with the knowledge to improve patient care, clinical decision-making, and public health.

Health informatics can be employed with the government, academia, hospitals, clinical practices, and various healthcare oriented businesses like pharmaceutical companies.

The median salary for this profession is $62,115. While no degree is required for some health informatics positions like health information management clerks, a degree in healthcare informatics will qualify you for higher level positions and make finding a job in the field easier.

Radiologists

Radiologists specialize in taking medical images with X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRIs. The need to converse with patients comes in brief spurts as they explain the risks and procedures associated with the medical scans. After the procedure, they are responsible for interpreting the data and reporting their findings to either the doctor or the patients. Although they do need to spend time around patients, a good chunk of that time they are not expected to actively converse with the patient.

Radiologic Technologists can expect to make at least $37,060 a year. The radiology profession has been projected to grow by 26% from 2012 to 2022 creating 84,000 new jobs. Individuals who wish to pursue this career will need to either earn an associate or bachelor degree in radiology.

Medical Equipment Repairer

Want to eliminate almost all patient interaction? Medical equipment repairer might be the job for you. These specialists are adept at fixing and troubleshooting advanced medical equipment like a CAT scanner or an MRI Scanner. They are also the individuals who perform routine maintenance on the machines. Within this profession, the equipment repairers usually specialize in either performing physical or software focused repairs.

The need for medical equipment repairers is expected to grow 30.3% from 2012 to 2022. The median salary for the profession is around $44,180. In order to qualify for this job, you will need at least an associate degree in biomedical technology or engineering.

Transcriptionist

You can’t get further away from patient interaction than a transcriptionist. Transcriptionists are responsible for listening to recordings taken by medical professionals and typing them into written reports and correspondence. They also at times edit transcribed reports and collaborate with doctors when they believe a transcription they are editing has an inaccuracy. These professionals either work full-time at companies, hospitals, or physician’s offices or work from home as a self-employed freelance transcriptionist.

Transcriptionists can expect to earn around $30,000 a year. Individuals do not need a post-secondary degree to pursue this career. Formal educational training in medical transcription could improve your chances of finding employment in the field though.

As introverts, we should consider how the social aspect of a job will affect our career happiness and productivity. While a career as a nurse or doctor might require too much social interaction for many introverts, they can still pursue different careers within the healthcare field.

Are you an introvert? What’s your personality type? We recommend this free, quick test from our partner Personality Hacker.

Read this: Introverts’ top 3 career challenges





10 Comments

  • Really appreciate these ideas! I’ve been looking to transition out of my current field, and some nice leads here.

  • Samantha Stauf says:

    Kelly, I’m glad the article gave you a few ideas. 🙂

  • Mandy says:

    Laoratory medicine is another good option!

  • Daniel says:

    I work as a hospital chaplain, which does require social and emotional energy from me as a highly sensitive introvert. I have some freedom to manage the pace of each day, but I especially have to manage my rest and recovery time away from work.

  • Jolene says:

    thanks so much for the ideas! i am looking to enter the healthcare field but being an introvert has always worried me if i would ever be able to hold a healthcare job. this has definitely upped my confidence!

  • Linnea says:

    i have the perfect health care profession for introverts. I should know, I am an introvert and work in a hospital. I am a clinical social worker. I work on the unit, but tucked away in my own office. I see patients and families, but retreat to my office to write assessments. It’s perfect. You need a masters degree in social work (msw).

  • Mav says:

    I’m an introvert and a respiratory therapist. The vast majority of my patients are sedated and on ventilators, so they aren’t trying to make small talk. I do interact with families and patients sometimes, but by the nature of my job I usually don’t have to stick around very long and chit chat. When we are talking, it’s about their care. It sometimes can be draining but I make sure to always take food breaks by myself to recharge.

  • qienushi says:

    I’m currently studying BS Psychology minor in Medicine, and I’m loving it as an outgoing INFJ (with an emphasis to the introvert attribute). I get to help people, no small talks, and it’s a one-on-one thing. Also, I enjoy reading psychological journals to further my understanding of, well, everything. I recommend this, though be prepared because there is an insane number of readings heading a psychology major’s way!

  • I think introverts have a lot to offer and can find rewarding careers in healthcare. I work as a nurse practitioner in a clinic and am talking to people a lot of the day, but the conversation has a purpose and is helping them. Intuitive types can really pick up on details and do a good job of making a diagnosis and treatment plan. I do find extra talk with my coworkers to be draining and have learned that I need downtime at lunch and at the end of the day. I think each person has to decide how much interaction and talking that they can handle well.

  • Tiffany says:

    You could also consider a career in Laboratory Sciences. CLS//MLS it’s called. Radiologists still have patient contact. Laboratory professionals work almost exclusively in the lab (though they can find jobs outside the lab if that suits their personality).

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