Describe the changes that have taken place in the distribution of health care personnel among various occupational categories.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and dental technicians were virtually nonexistent before 1950; currently the BLS predicts that we will be adding about a quarter million jobs between those two fields in the next ten years.
In 1900, there were about twice as many doctors as nurses in the US. Currently there are about four times as many nurses as there are doctors. This represents a major shift in how health care is delivered; nurses do a wide variety of tasks, some of which were reserved for doctors in past decades, and the increasing professionalism and specialization of the nursing field has led to an overall increase in the percentage of medical professionals who are nurses.
New equipment and techniques have caused some shifts within the health care field over time; for instance, the development of ultrasound diagnostics created the need for technicians specially trained to use the equipment and interpret the results.
As the population ages, more people have been shifting into geriatrics and related fields such as orthopedics, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Increasing evidence that diet and health are inseparably related has increased the number of medical professionals moving into nutrition and fitness related fields.
The population is aging and we are living longer due to advances in medical science/technology. These facts create job security for any health care provider regardless of particular occupation. The distribution of health care personnel across every occupational category have increased and will continue to do so. In the years to come an increased number of physicians, nurses, medical assistants, medical office workers, laboratory technicians, dental technicians, optometrists, and the like will be needed. Occupational outlooks for every category of health care worker continue to be promising. Colleges, universities, and technical schools continue to expand programs geared towards the health care worker.