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» Medical Job Descriptions

In addition to our Career Development pages, we are continually developing our sites to offer you more resources.

Current Medical Job Descriptions include:

Allied Health Care Professional Jobs

Social Worker Jobs

Nursing Jobs

Dental Jobs

Doctor Jobs


Practice Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Practice nurses work in general practitioner (GP) practices providing assessment, screening, treatment, care and education to patients from all sections of the community, from infants through to the elderly.
Typical work activities include:
•    providing advice, consultation and information about a range of health conditions and minor ailments, referring to other members of the practice team as necessary;
•    performing investigatory procedures;
•    performing minor operations;
•    conducting first-registration checks;
•    setting up and running clinics for conditions such as asthma, diabetes and skin disorders as well as well-woman/man clinics;
•    giving contraceptive advice and fitting contraceptive devices;
•    offering cervical smear and pregnancy tests;
•    taking blood and urine samples, other specimens and swabs;
•    performing routine procedures, such as ear syringing, eye washing, applying and removing dressings, and treating wounds, etc.;
•    offering specialist information and advice in areas such as blood pressure, weight control, giving up smoking, heart conditions, etc.;
•    administering infant injections and vaccinations;
•    administering travel immunisations and offering travel health care advice;
•    offering first aid and emergency treatment, as required;
•    advising patients in respect of their continuing medical and nursing needs;
•    re-stocking and maintaining clinical areas and consulting rooms;
•    taking accurate and legible notes of all consultations and treatments and recording these in patients' notes;
•    updating/amending the clinical computer system with details of patient and treatments;
•    liaising with other practice nurses, GPs, reception and office staff.
To become a practice nurse generally requires two years' professional experience post training.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact of page


Midwife - Job description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Midwives provide advice, care and support for women, their partners and families before, during and after childbirth. They help women make their own decisions about the care and services they access. They care for newborn children, providing health education and parenting support for the first 28 days, after which care transfers to a health visitor.
Midwives are personally responsible for the health of both mother and child, only referring to obstetricians if there are medical complications, but are obliged by law to have a named supervisor of midwives to ensure safe practice. They work in multidisciplinary teams in both hospital and, increasingly, community healthcare settings.
Typical work activities
A midwife has a range of responsibilities, including the care of mother and baby, adhering to hospital policy and maintaining an awareness of issues such as health and safety. Typical work activities include:
•    diagnosing, monitoring and examining women during pregnancy;
•    developing, assessing and evaluating individual programmes of care;
•    providing full antenatal care, including screening tests in the hospital, community and the home;
•    identifying high risk pregnancies and making referrals to doctors and other medical specialists;
•    arranging and providing parenting and health education for the woman, her partner and family members;
•    encouraging participation of family members in the birth to support the mother and enhance both mother/baby bonding and family relationships generally;
•    providing counselling and advice before and after screening;
•    offering support and advice following events such as miscarriage, termination, stillbirth, neonatal abnormality and neonatal death;
•    supervising and assisting mothers in labour, monitoring the condition of the foetus and using knowledge of drugs and pain management;
•    giving support and advice on the daily care of the baby, including breast feeding, bathing and making up feeds;
•    providing advice and guidance on a safe and timely transfer home;
•    liaising with agencies and other health and social care professionals to ensure continuity of care;
•    engaging in professional development to meet PREP (post-registration education and practice) requirements;
•    participating in the training and supervision of junior colleagues.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact Top of page


Adult Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Gaining the trust and confidence of each patient is an important role for nurses, as they have more continuity of patient care than other members of the medical team.
Patients may have chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart/kidney problems, or serious acute conditions, such as heart failure, stroke, hepatitis or burns. They may be in hospital for surgery, admitted to accident and emergency with injuries, attending an outpatient clinic or undergoing tests and assessments.
Patient care is currently becoming more community- based, so there are increasing opportunities to work in the community. The aim is to avoid hospital admissions whenever possible by giving preventative treatment, and also to meet patients’ needs in the comfort of their own home and avoid the unnecessary travel associated with hospital appointments. It is possible for a newly qualified nurse to work in the community, although many gain a year’s hospital experience first.
In all contexts, nurses need to establish a good relationship with the patient and their relatives.
Day-to-day pressures and duties will depend on your role, but typical work activities can include:
•    writing patient care plans;
•    implementing plans through tasks such as preparing patients for operations, wound treatment and monitoring pulse, blood pressure and temperature;
•    observing and recording the condition of patients;
•    checking and administering drugs and injections;
•    setting up drips and blood transfusions;
•    assisting with tests and evaluations;
•    carrying out routine investigations;
•    responding quickly to emergencies;
•    planning discharges from hospital and liaising with community nurses, GPs and social workers;
•    communicating with and relieving the anxiety of patients and their relatives;
•    advocating on behalf of patients;
•    educating patients about their health;
•    organising staff and prioritising busy workloads;
•    mentoring student and junior nurses;
•    maintaining patient records;
•    making ethical decisions related to consent and confidentiality

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact Top of page


District Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

A district nurse provides nursing care to patients during periods of illness/incapacity in non-hospital settings, usually in their own homes, in residential care homes or in health centres. Patients may include people who are housebound, the elderly, the terminally ill, the disabled and those who have recently been discharged from hospital.
A fundamental part of district nursing is promoting healthy lifestyles and health education/teaching. District nurses also offer emotional help and advice to patients and their families and teach basic care-giving skills where needed.
They also have to manage teams of nurses and do more complex patient assessments, especially for those with long-term conditions.
Typical work activities include:
•    accepting referrals from GPs and hospitals;
•    assessing, managing and planning the care of patients;
•    offering emotional support to patients and their families and carers, and teaching basic care-giving skills;
•    establishing links with patients' families, carers and other health professionals;
•    checking that patients, families and carers understand forms of treatment and how medication should be administered;
•    identifying social care problems and referring to appropriate organisations where necessary;
•    checking temperature, blood pressure and pulse readings, administering drugs and injections, setting up drips, cleaning and dressing wounds, taking blood and urine samples;
•    collaborating with colleagues from a range of disciplines;
•    checking patients are responding well to treatment;
•    prescribing aids, as required;
•    liaising with other services on the patient's behalf, e.g., meals on wheels, intensive home care
To become a district nurse generally requires two years' professional experience post training.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact Top of page


Dentist - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Dentists are health care professionals who provide preventive and restorative treatments for problems that affect the mouth and teeth.

Most dentists work as self-employed practitioners in general practice, providing dental care to the public under the National Health Service (NHS) and/or privately. Others work in salaried posts within a variety of specialisms in hospital dentistry, community dentistry, the armed forces, corporate practices, industry, or university teaching and research.

A general dental practitioner (GDP) typically leads a team made up of dental care professionals (DCPs) and treats a wide range of patients, from children to the elderly.

Typical work activities

Most dentists work in dental practices where, in addition to the dentist(s), the dental team may include a receptionist, dental nurse, dental hygienist, dental therapist and dental technician. Some practices also employ practice managers so that dentists can concentrate on clinical work.

A dentist is typically responsible for:

  • educating patients on oral health care;
  • examining teeth and diagnosing patients' dental conditions, using tools such as X-rays;
  • assessing treatment options and agreeing treatment plans with patients;
  • carrying out agreed clinical treatments, such as treating gum disease, restoring teeth affected by decay, etc.;
  • maintaining patients' dental records;
  • recruiting, training and managing staff;
  • managing budgets and maintaining stocks of equipment;
  • keeping abreast of new developments through structured continuing professional development (CPD);
  • marketing services to potential clients.

Hospital dentists usually treat patients who have been referred by a general dental practitioner (GDP) and therefore provide dental care that is more specialised and complex. Additional postgraduate qualifications are required for career progression.

Dental officers working in the Community Dental Service (known in England as the Salaried Primary Dental Care Service (SPDCS)) are employed by primary care trusts and provide dental care to adults and children with special needs and disabilities, as well as providing school visits.

Dentists in the armed forces hold a commissioned rank and provide a comprehensive range of dental services for armed forces personnel and their families, both in the UK and abroad.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact Top of page


General Practitioner - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

General practitioners (GPs) provide primary and continuing medical care for patients and are usually the first contact for patients needing medical services. They take account of physical, emotional and social factors when diagnosing illness and recommending the required treatment. Patients may be referred to hospital clinics for further assessment and/or treatment.

GPs may run specialist clinics within the practice for patients with specific conditions. They increasingly work as part of a team alongside other health care professionals to discuss care options for patients and their families and help patients to take responsibility for their own health.

GPs who are partners in a practice are also responsible for the running of the practice, which involves a range of administrative activities, such as employing staff, managing contracts and working within strict budgets.
Typical work activities

Typical work activities include:

    * responding to medical/health problems presented by patients including history taking, diagnosis, investigation, treatment and referral as appropriate;
    * maintaining confidentiality and impartiality;
    * commissioning health care by liaising with medical professionals in the community and hospitals;
    * promoting health education in conjunction with other health professionals;
    * organising preventative medical programmes for individual patients;
    * providing specialist clinics for specific conditions or for certain groups, e.g., diabetes, smoking cessation, new babies;
    * meeting targets set by the government for specific treatments, e.g., child immunisations;
    * discussing the development of new pharmaceutical products with pharmaceutical sales representatives;
    * managing resources to service targets as effectively as possible - for example, using ‘Choose and Book’;
    * using IT skills - some practices have one partner who specialises in the use of IT within the practice, but all will be expected to have basic abilities for work such as maintaining patients' records using specific packages;
    * keeping up to date with medical developments, new drugs, treatments and medications, including complementary medicine;
    * observing and assessing the work of trainee general practitioners (GPs) and  medical students and teaching at medical schools or hospitals;
    * maintaining a portfolio of continuing professional development (CPD) activities.

Partners in a practice may decide to expand their career portfolio and specialise in a specific area of medicine, such as obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry or orthopaedics. They may also specialise in areas such as IT, human resource management, medical education, or training.

Dentists in the armed forces hold a commissioned rank and provide a comprehensive range of dental services for armed forces personnel and their families, both in the UK and abroad.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page 


Hospital Doctor  - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Hospital doctors apply medical knowledge and skills to the diagnosis, prevention and management of disease. They work in wards and out-patient clinics, predominantly in the public sector (National Health Service), but also in the private sector. As well as treating patients, they refer them to a wide range of other health care professionals, including nurses, radiographers, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Hospital doctors work within a number of specialties, of which the most common are:

    * anaesthetics;
    * emergency medicine;
    * general medicine;
    * general surgery;
    * obstetrics and gynaecology;
    * paediatrics;
    * psychiatry;
    * trauma and orthopaedics.

Typical work activities

Specific tasks depend on the specialty; a surgeon's daily tasks are significantly different from those of a doctor working in accident and emergency (A&E) or a general physician. However, the following responsibilities are likely to be carried out, regardless of the doctor's specialty, on a daily or weekly basis:

    * monitoring and providing general care to patients on hospital wards and in outpatient clinics;
    * admitting patients requiring special care, investigations and treatment;
    * examining and talking to patients to diagnose their medical conditions;
    * carrying out specific procedures, e.g. performing operations and specialist investigations;
    * making notes, both as a legal record of treatment and for the benefit of other health care professionals;
    * working with other doctors as part of a team, either in the same department, or within other specialties;
    * liaising with other medical and non-medical staff in the hospital to ensure quality treatment;
    * promoting health education;
    * undertaking managerial responsibilities such as planning the workload and staffing of the department, especially at more senior levels;
    * teaching (junior doctors and medical students), as well as auditing and research.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page


Health Visitor  - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife with post-registration experience who has undertaken further training and education in child health, health promotion, public health and education. Health visitors work as part of a primary health care team, assessing the health needs of individuals, families and the wider community. They aim to promote good health and prevent illness by offering practical help and advice.

The role involves working within a community setting, often visiting people in their own homes. It primarily involves supporting new parents and pre-school children as well as elderly people and those of any age who suffer from a chronic illness or live with a disability. Working as a health visitor may also include tackling the impact of social inequality on health and working closely with at-risk or deprived groups.

The health visiting service is dynamic and health-focused and able to respond flexibly to a range of service and community needs. Health visiting is underpinned by four principles that guide and direct professional practice. These are the search for health needs, creating awareness of health needs, influencing policies affecting health and the facilitation of health-enhancing activities.
Typical work activities

Activities vary according to the nature of the individual role but may include:

    * using specialist healthcare interventions to meet the health-related needs of individuals, families, groups and communities as well as assessing and evaluating their effectiveness;
    * working as part of a primary care trust team, which may also include community nursery nurses, health visitors’ assistants, healthcare assistants and community staff nurses;
    * listening to, advising and supporting people from all backgrounds and age groups;
    * advising and informing new parents on issues such as feeding, sleeping, safety, physical and emotional development, weaning, immunisation and other aspects of childcare;
    * delivering child health programmes and running parenting groups;
    * working in partnership with families to develop and agree tailored health plans addressing individual parenting and health needs;
    * managing parent and baby clinics at surgeries and community and children's centres and running specialist sessions on areas such as baby massage, exercise and child development;
    * working collaboratively with children’s centres, schools, preschools and action groups in the local community;
    * providing emotional support regarding issues such as postnatal depression, bereavement, disability, family conflict and domestic violence;
    * identifying the health needs of neighbourhoods and other groups in the community in order to contribute to the development of a community health profile;
    * working with local communities to identify and tackle their own health needs and encouraging members of deprived or vulnerable groups, including the homeless, to participate in their own health care planning;
    * running groups dealing with a specific health aspect, such as smoking cessation, and supporting self-help groups or those with particular needs, such as working parents;
    * promoting adult health by offering advice, practical support and group work on a range of issues including healthy eating, stress management, sexual health, contraception and drugs and alcohol awareness;
    * supporting government initiatives to tackle child poverty and social exclusion, such as Sure Start  and Home Start ;
    * agreeing local health action plans as well as managing and leading interdisciplinary teams involved in their delivery;
    * diagnosing minor conditions and prescribing low-level medication;
    * supporting and training new health visitors and support staff;
    * maintaining and updating client records;
    * collecting, collating and analysing data to ensure that specific health targets are being met and creating health policies regarding the provision of health care;
    * planning and setting up health promotion displays;
    * generating and maintaining effective interactions with relevant external agencies, including other healthcare professionals, social services, local housing departments, the police, teachers and probation officers, and utilising appropriate referral procedures;
    * maintaining the standards and requirements of professional and statutory regulatory bodies, adhering to relevant codes of conduct, understanding the legal and ethical responsibilities of professional practice and maintaining the principles and practice of client confidentiality.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page


Learning Disability Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

 Learning disability nurses support people with learning disabilities, usually in a multidisciplinary team, and are concerned with their clients' health in the widest context. They help clients of all ages to live their lives as fully and independently as possible, while respecting their rights and dignity.

Learning disability nurses work with clients and their families and carers to assess their needs and draw up care plans, monitoring the implementation of recommendations. They work with other nurses and health and social welfare professionals to help clients with basic living skills and social activities to ensure they lead as normal a life as possible.
Typical work activities

The focus of learning disabilities nursing is on influencing behaviours and lifestyles to enable a vulnerable client group to achieve optimum health. The aim is that they should be able to live as equal citizens in an inclusive society where their rights are respected.

Learning disability nurses have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities to work in partnership with people of all ages who have learning disabilities, and with their families and carers, in order to help individuals to develop individually and fulfil their potential in all aspects of their lives, irrespective of their disabilities.

Learning disability nurses are mainly based in community or residential settings.

Tasks typically involve:

    * using expert communication skills to engage with vulnerable people;
    * interpreting and understanding behaviour to develop individual care packages;
    * coordinating client care programme reviews with other health and social welfare professionals, and completing appropriate paperwork;
    * organising home visits and attending GP clinic appointments to monitor and discuss progress with clients, their carers and their GP;
    * planning activities, social events, and holidays with clients (in residential care settings);
    * liaising with hospital admissions staff to plan clients' care needs on admission and discharge (e.g. housing and medication);
    * advocating on behalf of people with learning disabilities and encouraging self-advocacy;
    * carrying out group work with clients on issues such as problem solving, anxiety management, healthy living and aggression handling;
    * supporting staff and carers in the community;
    * organising emergency admissions;
    * completing management plans and reports;
    * assisting with tests, evaluations and observations;
    * maintaining awareness of local community activities and opportunities;
    * supporting the agenda for equality and equal access to all community and public services.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page


Mental Health Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Mental health nurses work with children, adults and older people suffering from various types of mental health problems. As a registered mental health nurse (RMN), you may work with clients in their own homes, in residential units, in the National Health Service (NHS) or in private specialist hospital services and secure units. The work involves helping people to recover from their illness or come to terms with it in order to maximise their life potential. Mental health nurses liaise with psychiatrists, occupational therapists, GPs, social workers and other health professionals to plan and deliver care using a multidisciplinary client-centred approach.
Typical work activities

Typical work activities include:

    * caring for patients who are experiencing acute mental distress or have an enduring mental health problem;
    * assessing and talking to patients about their problems and discussing the best way to plan and deliver their care;
    * building relationships with patients to encourage trust, while listening to and interpreting their needs and concerns;
    * ensuring the correct administration of medication, including injections, and monitoring the results of treatment;
    * responding to distressed patients in a non-threatening manner and attempting to understand the source of distress;
    * applying the 'de-escalation' approach to help people manage their emotions and behaviour;
    * preparing and participating in group and/or one-to-one therapy sessions, both individually and with health professionals;
    * encouraging patients to take part in art, drama or occupational therapy where appropriate;
    * organising social events aimed at developing patients' social skills;
    * preparing and maintaining patient records;
    * producing care plans and risk assessments for individual patients;
    * ensuring that the legal requirements appropriate to a particular setting or group of patients are observed;
    * working with families and patients' carers, helping to educate them and the patient about their mental health problems;
    * promoting a 'recovery' based approach to care.

In the community, the role may also involve:

    * coordinating the care of patients;
    * liaising with patients, relatives and fellow professionals in the community treatment team and attending regular meetings to review and monitor patients' care plans;
    * visiting patients in their home to monitor progress;
    * assessing patients' behaviour and psychological needs;
    * identifying if and when a patient is at risk of harming themselves or others.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page


Paediatric Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

A paediatric nurse works with children of all ages suffering from many different conditions. They play a key role in assessing children's nursing needs, taking into account their medical, social, cultural and family circumstances. Paediatric nurses then plan and deliver care in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, homes and in the community, as well as during transfers between these settings.

Paediatric nurses care for and support children and young people and work alongside their families in conjunction with other health care professionals.
Typical work activities

It is important that a paediatric nurse understands the particular needs of children and how these change through each developmental stage. Being able to communicate appropriately with children and their parents or guardians is a key part of the job, as is working in partnership with other health care professionals to ensure continuity of care.

Typical work activities vary according to the role, but they may include:

    * assessing, observing and reporting on the condition of patients;
    * preparing patients for operations and procedures;
    * recording pulse, temperature and respiration and keeping accurate records of these observations;
    * setting up drips and blood transfusions;
    * maintaining and checking intravenous infusions;
    * administering drugs and injections;
    * assisting with tests and evaluations;
    * responding quickly to emergencies;
    * explaining treatment and procedures to enable parents or guardians to consent to treatment;
    * supporting, advising and educating patients and close relatives;
    * engaging in and promoting multidisciplinary teamwork, including working alongside specialist doctors and nurses, health visitors, social workers, radiographers and physiotherapists;
    * observing strict hygiene and safety rules and ensuring that visitors also observe any rules on the ward or unit;
    * writing reports and updating records before completing a shift.

More senior roles may include:

    * teaching skills to student nurses and doctors and other health care professionals;
    * organising staff and workload to ensure shift cover, possibly across more than one ward.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact Top of page


Speech and Language Therapist - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Speech and language therapists work closely with infants, children and adults who have various levels of speech, language and communication problems. They also work with people who have swallowing difficulties. Therapists assess the clients' needs before developing individual treatment programmes to enable each client to improve as much as possible. Treatment plans often involve those with whom the client has a close relationship, for example family, carers or teachers.

Speech and language therapists usually work as part of a multidisciplinary team, alongside other health professionals such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. They may also liaise with professionals in education and the social services.
Typical work activities

Tasks typically involve:

    * identifying children's developmental speech and communication difficulties/disorders;
    * assessing and treating swallowing and communication difficulties arising from a variety of causes, e.g. congenital problems (such as cleft palate) or acquired disorders after a stroke or injury;
    * devising, implementing and revising relevant treatment programmes;
    * advising carers on implementing treatment programmes and training other professionals in therapy delivery;
    * assessing communication environments;
    * monitoring and evaluating clients' progress;
    * working with clients on a one-to-one basis, and in groups, to deliver therapy;
    * writing and maintaining confidential client case notes and reports, as well as information for clients, carers and other professionals;
    * managing a caseload taking account of priority cases, waiting lists, successful outcomes, referral and discharge of service users;
    * working with others to improve the effectiveness of service delivery.

Therapists operating at more senior levels may be involved in the following:

    * conducting personal development reviews with colleagues;
    * supporting/supervising newly qualified speech and language therapists and speech and language therapy assistants;
    * setting organisational and personal objectives;
    * planning and delivering training sessions;
    * contributing to the implementation and evaluation of projects and developments;
    * undertaking clinical audit through the collation of statistical, financial and other data relating to service delivery;
    * participating in research projects.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page


Physiotherapist - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Physiotherapists treat patients with physical difficulties resulting from illness, injury, disability or ageing. They treat people of all ages including children, the elderly, stroke patients and people with sports injuries.

Physiotherapists work with patients to identify and improve their movement and function. They help promote their patients' health and wellbeing, and assist the rehabilitation process by developing and restoring body systems, in particular the neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. They devise and review treatment programmes, comprising manual therapy, movement, therapeutical exercise and the application of technological equipment, e.g. ultrasound. Physiotherapists also provide advice on how to avoid injury.
Typical work activities

Physiotherapists work in a range of settings, including hospitals, health centres, industry, private practice and sports clubs. They treat a wide variety of conditions, such as injuries and fractures (including sports injuries), orthopaedics and joints, strokes, post surgical rehabilitation, intensive care or terminal illness, abdominal conditions, obstetrics and gynaecology, chest conditions, posture and movement, neurological conditions, learning difficulties and mental illness.

Treatment involves encouraging exercise and movement by the use of manual and mechanical techniques, such as therapeutic movement and exercise therapy, massage, manipulation and electro and/or hydrotherapy.

Typical work activities include:

    * working with patients to identify the physical problem;
    * developing and reviewing treatment programmes;
    * assisting patients with joint and spinal problems, especially following surgery;
    * helping patients' rehabilitation following accidents, injury and strokes;
    * supervising physiotherapy assistants;
    * writing patient case notes and reports;
    * collecting patient statistics;
    * educating and advising patients and their carers about how to prevent and/or improve conditions;
    * keeping up to date with new techniques and technologies available for treating patients;
    * liaising with other healthcare personnel to supply and receive relevant information about the background and progress of patients, as well as referring patients who require other specific medical attention.

Physiotherapists often see patients for several consultations over a period of weeks or months.

Included with the permission of AGCAS and Graduate Prospects. For the latest version of this publication see For permission to reproduce, contact Top of page


Dietician- Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

A registered dietitian is uniquely qualified to translate scientific information about food into practical dietary advice for people on normal and therapeutic diets.

As well as providing impartial advice about nutrition and promoting a healthy diet, dietitians offer advice on food-related problems and are involved in the diagnosis and dietary treatment of disease.

Many dietitians work in the National Health Service (NHS) (see NHS Careers ), where their role is varied. They may focus on specialist areas, such as diabetes or children's health, and may also work in community settings. Other dietitians work in the food industry, sport, the media, education and research.
Typical work activities

Work activities vary widely between individual jobs and the areas of employment. For example, community dietitians and those working in public health may see a much wider range of patients in a variety of settings.

The activities a dietitian may be involved in include:

    * educating and advising a wide range of patients with diet-related disorders on the practical ways in which they can improve their health by adopting healthier eating habits;
    * translating the science of nutrition into everyday information about food;
    * calculating patients' nutritional requirements using standard equations based on assessments of blood chemistry, temperature, stress, mobility and other relevant factors;
    * analysing the nutritional content of food (including new products, if you work in the food industry);
    * delivering group sessions to a variety of audiences, including children and patient groups;
    * working as part of a multidisciplinary team in hospitals or in a community setting to gain patients' co-operation in following recommended dietary treatments;
    * educating other healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, biochemists, social workers, care workers and community workers) about food and nutrition issues;
    * writing articles for local and national newspapers and newsletters;
    * advising hospital catering departments about the specific dietary requirements of patients;
    * running clinics in hospital outpatients departments or general practitioners' (GP) surgeries for patients who have been referred by hospital consultants, GPs or health visitors;
    * advising athletes and sportspersons on how diet can optimise performance and recovery from exercise;
    * educating sportspersons to understand the physiology and biochemistry of different types of exercise and the role nutrition has in these processes;
    * writing reports and case notes and maintaining accurate records;
    * carrying out visits to people's homes, including nursing homes;
    * accessing funding provided by bodies such as Sure Start in order to set up and run projects in schools and the local community;
    * participating in dietetic student training programmes;
    * participating in training, supervision and team meetings;
    * preparing information packs, flyers and other promotional materials;
    * promoting healthy food choices and disease prevention by increasing awareness of the link between nutrition and health;
    * advising the food and pharmaceutical industry.

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Dental Hygienist- Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Dental hygienists educate patients in the care of teeth and gums. They also demonstrate cleaning techniques and provide advice about the effects of diet. This role is increasingly important as the emphasis in dentistry changes to prevention of dental decay.

Typical activities include:

    * working closely with dentists to carry out clinical treatments recommended by the latter, such as scaling and polishing to prevent and control periodontal (gum) disease;
    * taking impressions and radiographs (if trained to do so) and carrying out some minor treatments under supervision;

Dental therapists (who also qualify as dental hygienists) can carry out some additional treatments to the above, such as simple dental restorations.

Hygienists must be qualified and enrolled with The General Dental Council  in order to practise in the UK. They can work in all areas of dentistry, including specialist/general dental practices, hospitals and the NHS salaried dental services. Entrants usually have prior experience as dental surgery assistants or qualified dental nurses, and will therefore be familiar with dental procedures. Training can be undertaken at all dental hospitals in the UK and also at specialist schools in Portsmouth, Salford and Southend on Sea. There are full-time courses leading to either a diploma, which takes 27 months, or a BSc in Oral Health Science, which follows a standard three-year programme.

For more information see Dentist.

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Community Health Doctor - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

Community health doctors are employed by primary care organisations to provide medical services needed to fill any gaps in the service provided by general practitioners (GPs). In many cases, they also offer an alternative for any patient who may not wish to see their GP.

The work is based in a community health centre (run either by an NHS trust or by companies such as Community Health Partnerships ) with other health care professionals offering a range of services that may include podiatry, counselling, dentistry, dietetics, physiotherapy and speech therapy, amongst others. Community health doctors may also run specialist clinics at community centres, such as family planning, child health, diabetes and asthma. If a local GP practice is experiencing high levels of patient demand or is or short-staffed, community health doctors may also run clinics for that practice.

Individual work with patients within community health can be similar to working in a GP practice, but you will not have the same organisational and administrative responsibilities as a GP, who also has to deal with the management and running of the practice.

Community health doctors often find their way into this role through their vocational GP training. Whilst there are no formal community health specialist training programmes, you would be expected to have the relevant qualifications and training. For example, to run a family planning clinic you would need a family planning qualification.

For more information see General practice doctor.

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For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page


Occupational Health Nurse - Job Description (To search for similar jobs, click here)

An occupational health nurse (OHN) practises within the workplace and contributes to the health and wellbeing of employees. OHNs may work in large businesses and organisations, for private consultancies, as part of an occupational/environmental health and safety (EHS) team or, depending on the size/nature of the employer, alone. Many set up their own successful consultancies.

Occupational health nursing practice is an important part of a public health strategy and is influenced by a range of health and safety legislation.

Typical work activities include:

    * working within a multidisciplinary team;
    * assessing the work environment for potential health and safety problems;
    * policy development;
    * designing, developing and delivering new health promotion initiatives;
    * conducting a range of risk and health assessments;
    * delivering a range of health and health and safety related training programmes;
    * contributing to accident follow up;
    * maintaining employee health records;
    * monitoring employee exposure to hazardous chemicals and undertaking statutory and non-statutory health surveillance;
    * undertaking a role in attendance management;
    * developing return to work strategies following serious injury or a period of prolonged ill-health;
    * advising on disability issues in the workplace;
    * advising employers on how they can achieve compliance with health and safety and employment legislation;
    * keeping up to date with legal and professional changes associated with public health and occupational health and safety.

Occupational health nursing is a stimulating specialty with the potential for autonomous practice for those with experience. To become an occupational health nurse generally requires two years' post-registration practice and a specialist qualification in occupational health nursing practice.

For more information see Adult nurse.

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For permission to reproduce, contact  Top of page

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