What do you want to be when you grow up? A recent Harris Interactive poll suggests that half of students in grades 9 through 12 are not considering a career in science or healthcare.  For teens between 13 and 15 the number is actually 60%.  As someone who is responsible for Human Resources at HCA, these stats definitely caught my attention.

While I can’t speak as well for careers in science, I can tell you that healthcare is a growing industry that is creating new jobs and opportunities every year.  I worry that students think of careers in healthcare as becoming either a doctor or nurse. But let me assure you, that is not the case. Yes, it’s true a good number of the careers in healthcare today are at the bedside. HCA is one of the largest employers of nurses and we’re always looking for good people to fill those roles. But not everyone on the team wears scrubs and carries a stethoscope.

Ever wonder how medicine gets to a patient? Or how we know exactly when you need to arrive for surgery?  What about our information systems that store medical data? And how do hospitals make sure they have all the equipment they need? To deliver on our responsibility of quality healthcare it takes good people in registration, housekeeping, billing, supplies, medical records and information technology partnering with our doctors and nurses.

Now let me highlight one opportunity in particular, Electronic Health Records (EHR). The U.S. healthcare system is in the midst of a historic transformation. Today, there is a huge demand for people with a technology and clinical background to help build the systems that will allow patients and doctors to access patient health records from anywhere. In a recent Modern Healthcare survey, 60% of healthcare leaders indicated they would be adding IT staff in the next year. This is an exceptional opportunity for qualified job seekers at a time when finding a job can be challenging.

Imagine being admitted to any hospital and the staff there being able to pull up several years’ worth of your medical information based on past visits with your primary physician or other hospitals. More relevant patient information and data will help doctors and nurses provide better care for patients. If you had a hand in building the system that makes that possible, just think of how many millions of lives you would improve without ever working at the patient’s bedside.

This is an exciting time to be a part of an industry that touches so many people throughout their lives. What do you think? What are some of the obstacles that keep people from working in healthcare? I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below. We also have some great resources at the HCA career site if you’re looking for more info.