Patient Care

There are many amazing and fulfilling career opportunities in the healthcare field. One amazing facet of healthcare that many pursue is that of public health. However, some public health professionals find that they desire to have a more hands-on role with patients. 

Fortunately, transitioning from public health to patient care is well within the realm of possibility for healthcare professionals looking for a new path. To put this into perspective, it’s helpful to understand the skills that public health professionals have that can be useful in patient-care roles. 

Here are the transferable skills and career opportunities for those making the transition from public health to patient care. 

Transferable Skills

For public health professionals asking themselves if they should become nurses or step into another hands-on healthcare role, it’s important to understand one’s transferable skills. This will make it easier to feel motivated to make the leap and thrive in a new healthcare role. 

Here are some transferable skills that public health professionals possess. 

Strategic Planning

Professionals working in the public health space must constantly engage in the process of strategic planning. As a result, professionals in this space are typically extremely skilled at observing problems and formulating paths forward to overcome them. 

When it comes to patient care roles, this is a process that must be engaged in every single working day. In particular, these professionals must assess patients and craft treatment strategies that are the most effective for each individual patient and case. 

For this reason, professionals coming from public health roles are already primed to excel in this practice of formulating care plans and responding effectively to patient problems. As such, this is a highly transferable skill that can help public health professionals thrive as patient care professionals. 


Some key aims of public health professionals include changing legislation, making healthcare resources more accessible, and educating the public about health-related topics. To do any of these things effectively, these professionals must engage in robust collaboration with a range of different professionals to bring these visions to fruition. 

In patient care healthcare, collaboration plays an undeniably important role in helping patients achieve optimal health outcomes. For example, nurses must work with doctors and a range of specialists to coordinate care and ensure that patients are getting the best treatment possible. 

The fact that public health professionals are adept collaborators makes them the perfect candidates for patient care roles. This being the case, public health professionals can rest assured that they’d make great patient care professionals in a variety of medical settings and scenarios. 

Project Management

As has been noted, public health professionals typically spend significant amounts of time and effort bringing lofty and admirable projects to life. However, being able to do so successfully is incredibly difficult, involves many moving parts, and requires public health professionals to be amazing project managers. 

In patient care roles, professionals must guide patients through their healthcare journey over varying amounts of time. These journeys can involve patients getting care from different specialists, receiving different treatments, and engaging in self-care practices. In other words, patient care professionals must basically be project managers who help patients heal in a variety of ways over a long period of time. 

Public health professionals have the skills necessary to oversee these patient-centered projects and not be overwhelmed. This makes them ripe candidates for patient care roles that revolve around helping patients achieve the best health outcomes possible. 

Cultural Awareness

Though it wasn’t seen as an integral or important part of healthcare in America a few decades ago, today, cultural awareness has become a key tenet of patient care roles in the modern era. In particular, nurses and other healthcare professionals interacting with patients must understand patients’ backgrounds and cultural lenses in order to provide the best care possible. 

Today, many healthcare professionals work tirelessly to help marginalized groups of people access robust healthcare resources. As a result of this work, public health professionals typically develop incredible cultural awareness about a range of different types of people and groups. 

Given this background in understanding different cultures and people, public health professionals can provide amazing hands-on care to all types of patients. Consequently, public health professionals make perfect patient care professionals in the modern world that values cultural context in healthcare. 

Career Opportunities

While public health professionals may be certain that they want to step into a more hands-on patient care role, they may not know exactly what their options are. This being the case, it can be helpful to be exposed to different career opportunities that public health professionals have to enter healthcare in a different way. 

Here are different career options for public health professionals’ intent on stepping into patient care roles. 


Though it may seem like a big jump at first glance, many people across the world pursue nursing as a second career. To make this transition more feasible, many institutions offer nursing programs that cater to the schedules of full-time working professionals. 

Public health professionals already have a deep understanding of healthcare processes and previous educational qualifications. This being the case, they can easily thrive in nursing programs while still working in public health so that they receive an income during the process of becoming qualified. 

Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists are skilled healthcare professionals who assess and treat patients with ailments that relate to breathing. Much like nursing, programs that qualify one to work as a respiratory therapist are more accessible than ever before. 

Public health professionals looking for a hands-on and specialized role in healthcare can find exactly what they’re looking for in this stable and fulfilling career path. 

Radiation Therapists

Public health professionals looking to have meaningful impacts on the lives of the patients they care for should be aware of the profession of radiation therapists. These amazing healthcare workers use their expertise to help treat patients who have cancer or are at risk of developing it. 

Given the devastating impact that cancer has on the lives of countless Americans, public health professionals looking to transition into a patient-care career can find meaningful careers as radiation therapists. 

Public Health Professionals Have the Skills to Thrive as Patient-Care Professionals

Though patient care roles can differ greatly in day-to-day duties from roles in public health, both fields have a significant amount of crossover. For this reason, public health professionals have a range of skills that can help them find success in hands-on healthcare roles. This being the case, anyone curious about transitioning into a new career should explore the many patient-care professional options they have available to them. 

By Caitlyn

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