A clinical profession typically entails interactions with patients. Besides the traditionalist view of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and optometrists, hospitals are now using equipment more complicated than ever and the expanding arsenal of tools at the doctor’s disposal also requires a vast variety of experts to manage the growing complexity within a clinical setting. This section details but a few currently employable positions easy to enrol into following a Bachelors. Many require a couple years of postgraduate study, whereas some can be entered through a training programme directly at a District Health Board and they might be nice and fund your part time study at the relevant institution.
Surgical procedures require an anaesthetic team to monitor and sustain anaesthesia during the course of the procedure. With the global incidence of surgical procedures set to rise, the demand for anaesthetic teams are set to increase.
Anaesthetic technicians play a crucial role in ensuring all the equipment required for anaesthesia are maintained orderly and functioning. Despite the widespread use of anaesthesia, its mechanism is not well understood. The peri-operative incidence of anaesthetic complications such as nausea, vomiting, and awareness remain high such that equipment for measuring anaesthesia need to be used (e.g. Total intravenous anaesthesia and Bispectral Index (BIS) monitor).
Anaesthetic technicians continue to play an important role in the anaesthetic team and with increasingly complex equipment bound to enter the market, this role does not appear to be in an over-abundance any time soon. By completing a one year full-time diploma at the Auckland University of Technology alongside interning at a District Health Board, the job can be easily entered.
The importance of aural competence underlies huge downstream ramifications of more serious complications such as mental state and cognitive decline both of which are reversible with preventative measures such as hearing aids in elderly patients. With increased exposure to environmental noise pollution, more people are at risk of developing hearing loss and the burden of hearing loss is projected to continue to grow despite hearing loss already globally ranked 4th in 2015 for Years Lived with Disability. The 2 year Masters of Audiology programme is highly rated at the University of Auckland with 100% employment rate after graduation thus far. Whether working locally at a District Health Board or going abroad, the skillsets acquired are extremely sought after. However, competition is fierce with only 16 applicants accepted each year.
Medical Imaging Technologist
With complex technologies like X-Ray Computed Tomography, ultrasound, and MRI machines being more extensively utilised for advanced diagnosis procedures, technicians are in higher demand than ever to operate said machines. Entering this job requires a 1-year Post Graduate Diploma in Health Sciences from the University of Auckland specialising in one of the technologies. Typical work environments include hospital settings and working closely with the medical team to assure proper machine usage and reliable diagnosis.
In New Zealand, there are eight branches of clinical physiologists according to the Clinical Physiology Registration Board (CPRB): cardiac, echocardiography, respiratory, cardiac sonography, renal dialysis, sleep, clinical exercise, and neurophysiology. Clinical Physiologists typically augment the medical team’s ability to diagnose patients and prepare the best possible treatment plan through specialist equipment unique to each specialty. Most of these specialisations typically require a one year diploma from a registered institution. For example, a Post Graduate Diploma in Medical Technology from the University of Otago is a prerequisite for registration as a Cardiac Physiologist. Sleep physiology requires a Post Graduate Diploma also from University of Otago Wellington and Renal Physiology specialists require a Graduate Diploma in Health Science and Technology from the Manukau Institute of Technology. These details are readily available from the Clinical Physiologists Registration Board (www.cprb.org.nz).
Medical Laboratory Technician
In a similar vein to Imaging Technologists, many medical tests require laboratory technicians to run chemical, haematological, microscopic tests on bodily fluids. This service is fundamental to the healthcare system. Entering this job requires wet lab experience or a 1 year graduate diploma from Auckland University of Technology.
The impact of dietary lifestyle is a hugely important factor in health particularly in the modern age. Dietitians work in both the private and public sector being employed to educate and advise on dietary matters ranging from client patients to catering services. Currently, a 2-year Masters of Health Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics is available at the University of Auckland.
With the explosion of knowledge about the genetic code and its implications for health, the field of personalised medicine is bound to expand in the near future. Genetic Counsellors are specialists in such a field where they advise patients on their personalised predisposition to certain diseases or illnesses based on the patient’s genetics. Currently, training to become a Genetic Counsellor requires a Masters degree offered in Australia at the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.
Health Services Management
Not particularly a clinical job, but vital for laying the foundation of all clinical jobs, health service managers ensure clinics, hospitals, and the entire region within a District Health Board maintains daily functional capacity. Currently, the Masters of Health Leadership is offered at the University of Auckland and paves the way for one to enter this important career pathway.