6 Frontline Careers in Health and Medicine

6 Frontline Careers in Health and Medicine | HealthSoul

The essence of healthcare practices is to help people. Everything in the medical field revolves around that singular objective. With that said, some areas of health and medicine tie to patient outcomes more than others. 

These are the frontline careers where professionals interact directly with patients and when lives are on the line. It takes a certain combination of character traits and skills to do these jobs well.

For those who think they have what it takes, the following are six frontline careers in health and medicine to consider.

Licensed Therapist

Despite all of our advancements in scientific understanding over the last century, psychology remains a murky part of modern medical science. We’ve been able to name and define various conditions and disorders, but diagnosis and treatment hinge on expert observation rather than tissue tests, blood samples, or other tangible pieces of medical evidence.

It’s hard to quantify, but there’s no doubting the frontline role therapists play in modern healthcare. Whether it’s one-on-one private practice sessions or working with recovering addicts in a substance abuse treatment center, therapy involves confronting some of the more confounding aspects of medical science. Though not in a position to diagnose disorders or prescribe medication, therapists have to devise ways to help patients defeat their worst demons. It’s a responsibility that involves addressing the nuances of neurosis or getting to the root cause of addiction.

Registered Nurse

Nobody can deny the role doctors play in frontline medicine (and we’ll get to them later), but the minute-by-minute responsibilities of in-patient care fall on registered nurses. They are the skilled personnel tasked with fulfilling the bulk of treatment prescribed by physicians on duty, interacting with patients far more often than the doctors.

In addition to dispensing medicine, prepping patients, and monitoring vitals, registered nurses are expected to endure many emotionally-charged situations with the utmost professionalism. Whether it’s watching people die or having patients violently lash out in a delirious rage, RNs must respond as caregivers first and save their feelings for later.

Nursing Assistant

Nurses assist doctors, but the chain of command doesn’t end there. RNs rely on nursing assistants to fulfill a variety of tasks and responsibilities. The duties assigned to nursing assistants typically include things like helping patients clean themselves, get dressed, eat, and drink.

Being a nursing assistant might also mean cleaning bedpans and other tasks some may call dirty work. It’s not glamorous or sophisticated, but NAs nonetheless provide a critical role in healthcare. What’s more, most nursing assistants can get hired with basic training, certification, and a high school diploma, meaning it’s a vital occupation accessible to almost everyone.

Home Health Aide

By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older, and the same goes for most of the industrialized world. The expansion of senior living facilities will play a key role in successfully managing an uptick in the elderly population, but so will the hard work of home health aides. In many cases, the assigned home health aide is a family member of the person being looked after.

Most seniors who insist on living on their own will still need help. This is where a home health aide enters the picture. They’re like nursing assistants, but instead of working in hospitals or assisted living facilities, they’re self-employed or work through an independent service.


When it comes to frontline roles in health and medicine, few can compare to paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMT.) They’re the first responders responsible for getting sick and injured individuals treated and en route to the appropriate medical personnel.

Similar to the one-off circumstances encountered by therapists, paramedics are expected to problem-solve their way through an unexpected series of circumstances. There’s no telling what situation you’ll find yourself in as a paramedic or EMT. Sure, the majority of calls may fall into one of a handful of patterns and protocols, but there’s always the one or two that defy convention and require exceptional critical thinking skills to solve.

ER Surgeon

As alluded to earlier, there’s no debate about the frontline role doctors play in health and medicine. With that said, not every doctor is tasked with tackling life-or-death situations daily. That responsibility is mainly reserved for doctors and surgeons working in emergency care.

It’s anyone’s guess what sort of cases you’ll encounter as an ER surgeon. As a result, the hurdles to go through to become an emergency room surgeon are nothing short of formidable. Like many frontline roles in health and medicine, being an ER doctor or surgeon is not for everyone. Even if you have a passion for your job, you need the skills, tact, and stomach to become a surgeon in the ER.

There are countless critical roles in modern medicine. With that said, only a handful count as positions on the frontlines of health and medical treatment. Filling these roles is not for the faint of heart, but prove highly rewarding for those who choose to adopt them.