The medical field is characterized by tiers of employment. Certifications lead to specialization and larger job responsibilities as people move from simply dealing with patients to leadership roles within a hospital or other medical institution. Achieving these roles involves education, practice, and the ability to learn on the job with lives hanging in the balance.
Attaining a license to practice medicine is the first career objective for doctors and other medical personnel including nurses, emergency medical technicians, and medical assistants. Licensing by state boards of medicine only comes after a period of schooling and testing. Graduates often find employment in hospitals where each works to hone his or her skills, which may lead to further specialization.
Specialization for medical personnel often involves additional schooling. Doctors can spend up to four years learning a specialty such as oncology or anesthesiology. Nurses and emergency medical technicians may learn additional techniques on the job or through additional study, and they may need special certifications to perform functions in departments such as neonatal units, cardiology wards, and intensive care units. Specialization leads to more responsibility and higher pay.
The final destination for many medical personnel arrives at achieving a leadership role within a hospital or medical institution. For medical doctors, becoming head of a department such as radiology, diagnostic medicine, or other field is a career goal that comes with the responsibility of hiring other doctors to staff the department. Nurses rise to lead an entire staff of an emergency room with similar responsibilities for hiring and implementing strategies to maintain quality of performance.
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