Careers for Introverts in Healthcare: Ideas and Suggestions
Joey McDowell is an experienced writer and editor originally from the Dallas area. A firm believer in a well-balanced lifestyle, Joey applies this forward-thinking approach as the editor-in-chief of The Idea Trader. He travels extensively to find compelling stories and insightful individuals.
Being an introvert is likely something a person is born with. It is proven that an introvert’s brain functions differently than an extrovert’s brain. In other words, there's no escaping your own personality type.
But that doesn’t mean that a person who is an introvert can’t have a career in healthcare.
The stereotype for a healthcare worker is someone who wears blue or green scrubs, has a smile on their face at all times, and is always ready to help other people, answer their questions and attain to their needs.
At first glance, playing this role may seem like torture to someone who’s an introvert.
But the great thing about working in healthcare is that it is such a large field that everyone can find an area that would suit their personality, introverts included.
Being an introvert would make positions where you have to deal with patients on a daily basis very unattractive.
Luckily there are huge areas of healthcare that take place in a laboratory setting and have little to no interaction with patients.
The possibilities for a career in healthcare are not only for those who have graduated from medical school, nursing school, or have a degree in pharmacology.
Below are some examples for careers in healthcare that do not require medical school.
Pathology is the area of medicine that deals with the damage to the patient’s cells and tissues and interprets this damage as a diagnosis.
Pathology labs are usually calm places, there are rarely emergencies, and they almost never have patients. However, the impression that pathologists deal only with dead bodies is simply not true.
Almost all patients who undergo surgery need to have a pathologist look at their tissues, so most of the work is done for live patients, and will help in obtaining a concrete diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
To be fair, there are some people who have to deal with patients while working in a biochemistry laboratory, such as nurses or phlebotomists - the people who draw blood from the patients.
But, everything that comes after that doesn’t require any social interaction.
Working as a laboratory technician or as a biochemist can be very rewarding - there is almost no diagnosis that can be given to a patient without one form of laboratory testing or another, so the responsibility is great.
But the hassle of dealing with many people on a daily basis is avoided.
Data suggests that microorganisms that live in our bodies add up to 2-3 kgs (4-6 lbs) of the total mass of the human body.
A microbiologist is a professional who analyzes different kinds of samples for the presence of bacteria and viruses. They analyze how these microorganisms respond to different kinds of drugs and decide on what is the best course of treatment.
Without microbiologists, we would still be without effective medical prescriptions and accurate diagnoses.
Pharmacologists are people who are working on developing new drugs and improving existing ones. All testing must first be done in a laboratory setting, and without this testing, there can be no advances in pharmacology.
An introvert who is focused on their work can have much to contribute to this field, without ever being involved in stressful life or death situations.
However, not all introverts are sentenced to work in a laboratory if they want a career in healthcare. There are interesting prospects outside of the lab, too.
A radiologist is a person who interprets images taken of a patient's body with a variety of imaging techniques, from plain X-rays to CT scans, to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and numerous others.
Unless dealing with ultrasonography (where the radiologist performs the ultrasound on the patient), usually the radiologist doesn’t have to have direct contact with the patient. They analyze the images and report on their findings, correlating them to a diagnosis.
An epidemiologist studies how and why diseases appear.
There are epidemiologists who work in a clinical setting and deal with individual patients, but there are also epidemiologists who look at the population as a whole, do research, work with statistics, and develop models and strategies for combating diseases.
Almost all healthcare practices work with code that's used to calculate bills and expenses accurately.
A medical coder is someone who goes over the patient’s file and the physician’s notes and decides which service use which code.
This is a complex and very detail-oriented job that requires knowledge of not only medical records and procedures, but legal regulations and even economics.
Without proper documentation, no patient can be treated appropriately. As time passes, the need for more and more detailed documentation increases.
That’s why many physicians have opted for recording their notes as audio, instead of writing them down. That’s where a medical transcriptionist comes in.
A transcriptionist is the one who listens to the notes, writes everything down and makes sure that the documentation is complete.
The examples above are just a small fraction of career options in healthcare. We encourage our readers to do extensive research of their own to find a profession they connect with.
Although the term “introvert” is a relatively modern one, history tells us that some of the most accomplished and successful professionals working in healthcare were introverts, and that never stopped them.
Personality does not have to define your life. In fact, personality should be a hint as to how you can make your life better, one step at a time.
Do your best to find what makes you tick. And as you get to know yourself better, you also have the opportunity to learn how best to play to your strengths, not just in your career and professional life, but in day-to-day life in general.
Preferring not to socialize extensively with others shouldn't be a limiting factor when it comes to living your best life. Ultimately, it's up to you, despite your quirks and preferences and personal difficulties.
If you have a deep underlying desire to help your fellow human beings, there’s no reason why being an introvert should stop you.