With competitive pay and flexible schedules, demand for healthcare workers remains strong

Over the next decade, healthcare occupations will grow faster than any other industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Take a quick look at any job search website, and you’ll see just how many current job openings are available in the healthcare field.

“Careers in nursing and patient care are not only in demand, they are also among the best jobs available,” said Heather Franci, Chief Nursing Officer, at Penn Highlands DuBois and Service Line Director for The Heart Center, The Lung Center, Brain & Spine, Oncology Services.

“Nurses and patient care occupations offer highly competitive pay and benefits,” said Franci. “Schedules and work hours are flexible too, and parents can often leave the workforce to raise a family and then return to the profession.”

There is a wide variety of opportunities in healthcare, from the types of jobs to the types of work environments. The demand is high across the field, but careers in nursing and patient care are particularly sought after. The following list of careers are available in nearly every healthcare setting.

Nurses: When you hear the word nurse, you may picture an individual who assists a physician in a hospital or doctors’ office. But there is a wide range of nursing careers, from entry-level practitioners to doctoral-level researchers. Depending on the type of nurse, responsibilities can include everything from diagnosing patients, assisting surgeons during surgical procedures, administering medications and treatments, providing health education to patients and families, performing triage in emergency room settings, assisting mothers through labor and delivery, managing care plans and insurance coverage and maintaining medical hardware and software.

In addition to hospitals and doctor’s offices, nurses work in schools, nursing care facilities, ambulatory care services, patient homes, private care facilities, long-term care facilities, industrial environments, outpatient care centers and more.

Nursing assistants: Certified nursing assistants, also called CNAs, help patients with activities of daily living and other healthcare needs, such as obtaining vital signs, feeding patients, measuring and recording food and liquid intake, dressing wounds and more. CNAs are an important part of ensuring a nursing unit operates smoothly. They work in hospitals, long-term residential facilities, rehabilitation centers and adult daycare centers.

A certified nursing assistant career can also be a great steppingstone to becoming a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and many nursing students work as CNAs while in school.

Phlebotomists: An important member in any healthcare setting, a phlebotomist specializes in drawing blood. Most phlebotomists work in hospitals, doctors’ offices or healthcare centers, but they can also work at medical and diagnostic laboratories, universities, blood banks, life insurance companies and within patient homes.

Phlebotomists not only have to be skilled at drawing blood, preparing stains and reagents, cleaning and sterilizing equipment and taking a patient’s vitals, they must also have excellent people skills. Many patients are uncomfortable with needles or blood, and a phlebotomist must explain the procedure and offer comfort and reassurance.

Lab technicians: While lab technicians may not come into contact with patients very often, they play a vital role in delivering healthcare. Lab techs perform mechanical, technical or diagnostic tests in a scientific laboratory to help doctors detect diseases or illnesses and determine treatment options.

Penn Highlands Healthcare provides residents with access to the region’s best hospitals, with each facility being the largest employer in its hometown. Careers at Penn Highlands offer work-life balance, with time to enjoy the charming aspects of the area, including easy commutes, friendly neighbors and plenty of space to explore. To learn more about career opportunities at Penn Highlands, visit