Each month we shine the spotlight on a specific career in care. These roles span health and social care. Information is provided on the opportunities provided in this career and the type of skills and attributes required.
Many people will have radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. Radiotherapy is the use of high energy radiation such as photons, gamma rays or protons to kill and shrink tumours. The radiation is delivered externally using a linear accelerator or internally through a procedure called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy. Therapeutic radiographers are those in the health profession who provide this treatment.
Speech and language therapist
The role of a speech and language therapist (SLT) is to improve the quality of life, health and wellbeing for people with communication difficulties and/or dysphagia (eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties).
An orthoptist specialises in diagnosing and managing a variety of eye conditions, typically around how the eyes work together, visual development and eye movements.
Occupational therapists (OTs) help people to live as independently as possible by helping them overcome barriers caused by disability, illness or injury.
Mental health nurse
With one in four people in the UK experiencing mental health problems every year, mental health nurses are vital in supporting patients to recovery.
Service managers are responsible for the strategic, financial and day-to-day running of health and social care settings – for example a hospital department, GP surgery or group of care homes. Tasks vary depending on the specific service but often include analysis of service performance, the implementation of policies and improvements, liaising with stakeholders, management of staff and recruitment, setting and managing budgets, and maintaining high quality and value for money.
A consultant is a medically qualified doctor who has completed further training into a specialist area. Consultants can specialise in more than 60 areas including oncology, paediatrics and surgery. Consultants also have opportunities in research, teaching and management. Consultants have a passion for improving people’s lives by delivering medical and non-medical interventions in people’s homes, within the community and in hospitals. While challenging, medicine is an incredibly rewarding and varied career that gives individuals the opportunity to make a real difference to patients’ lives.
Registered nurses play a central role in the healthcare team and provide skilled treatment to patients in various medical settings (community and hospitals) within multiple specialties - from child to adult, learning disability to mental health, promoting health and wellbeing, and helping to improve quality of life.
Operating department practitioner
ODPs work with patients before, during and after surgery to provide high quality and individualised care. Before surgery (the anaesthetic phase), ODPs must prepare a wide range of specialist equipment and drugs as well as communicating effectively with the patient and clinical team.
Podiatrists can assess, diagnose, treat and advise on foot problems for adults and children. This can be routine foot care such as corn, hard skin and nail care, or prevention and treatment of people at higher risk of foot problems such as those with diabetes. It can include assessment of foot pain and how the foot contributes to this, or how a person’s feet can cause pain in other areas of the body. A podiatrist is also trained in minor surgery for ingrowing toenails.
Senior care worker
Senior care workers work alongside care staff in delivering all aspects of personal care, but also have additional responsibilities such as administering medication, allocating tasks within the care team, and providing support and supervision to members of the team.
Care workers support people with all aspects of their day-to-day living, including social and physical activities, personal care, mobility and meal times. You could work with lots of different people including adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, substance misuse issues, mental health conditions and older people. Care workers can work in a care home, in people’s own homes or in the community.