Healthcare is the economic engine of the United States: one of the few places that shows consistent job growth even in the face of global economic doldrums.
But just because there are jobs doesn’t mean you would want them (no matter how much they pay). Healthcare reform, digital health and a global marketplace have thrown some things into flux. So healthcare has the most jobs and some of the most challenging jobs.
Her are my nominees for people who could take Sisyphus’ place pushing the boulder up the hill: working excruciatingly hard healthcare jobs you may just want to take a pass on.
CEO, publicly funded hospital. You are in a maze with no exit. Most publicly funded hospitals exist to provide care for their region’s uninsured. But with healthcare reform, there won’t be any uninsured. And because everyone in your area sees you as a hospital used primarily by people who can’t afford to go anywhere else, once people get insurance they’ll probably go somewhere else.
Your hospital is funded by Medicaid and Medicare dollars, which continue to get squeezed. You’re also funded through special subsidies to compensate for the uninsured, which will eventually go away. And even though the public subsidy from local government covers an infinitesimal portion of your budget, it opens your books to the general public and gives local politicians licence to flog you so they can boost their tough-guy reputation ahead of the next election.
If by 2022, you’re running a public hospital that is profitable and thriving, you should be hired to run Google.
Licensed practical nurse. You are the low person on the totem pole in a critically important profession that seems to never get enough respect. Plus, everyone lies to you. Years of students have been told this is the next great, sure-to-get-hired profession and there aren’t enough nurses to go around. Yet, it looks like there are actually too many nurses at the moment. The nursing shortage never seems to appear and at the moment your peers are getting fired in favour of better-educated registered nurses.
First-year associate, medical device venture capital fund. Welcome to the powerful world of venture capital. Medical device investing is down, the cost of developing medical devices is up and your competition for deals includes most of the major medical device companies in the country. Have we mentioned the medical device tax?
One of the sure paths to acquisition is getting an FDA-approved product. But that pathway has become so murky that some medical device startups don’t even plan for entry into the U.S. marketplace.
So why are there even job openings? Many of your contemporaries are jumping ship to grab bigger multiples in the white-hot digital health space. If your investment focus is not diabetes, cardiology or neurology, you should start sweating.
Pharmaceutical sales rep with 10-plus years experience. One day you woke up and all the requirements for the job had changed. No more free pens. No more buying lunch for medical students. Lead executives of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world say pharma advertising has lost its way, the up-and-coming drug firms don’t want your kind anymore, and the startups are building social networks that create virtual environments in which hospitals can engage sales reps from a distance and maximise their time and money. You’re not even sure what the last part of that sentence means.
On the bright side, Hollywood has taken an increasing interest in working pharma companies and the lives of sales reps into the story lines of its big-budget movies. The down side: it rarely ends well.
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