What is a healthcare paraprofessional?
Healthcare paraprofessionals are healthcare workers that handle certain tasks while enabling other medical professionals to do their jobs effectively. The responsibilities of healthcare paraprofessionals usually revolve around tasks that are either administrative or medical in a basic sense. For example, paraprofessionals may monitor durable medical equipment to ensure its proper function and upkeep. In other cases, they may provide support by administering basic treatments such as first aid.
In terms of responsibility, healthcare paraprofessionals usually handle less intensive tasks than nurses as they receive less schooling. Depending on local regulations, healthcare paraprofessionals may be limited in the complexity of the medical tasks they are able to assist with due to the lack of formal education usually required for the position.
Healthcare paraprofessionals are found in a variety of medical settings, including group practices, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and retirement homes.
Why are healthcare paraprofessionals important in healthcare?
In any medical setting, there are a variety of tasks that need to be completed to administer effective patient care. Many of these tasks can be completed only by highly specialized medical professionals, such as in the case of surgeons conducting surgery.
However, not all tasks fall into this category—for example, communicating with a patient’s family about the patient’s status does not always require the time of a doctor. For these tasks which are less skill-intensive, healthcare paraprofessionals play a vital role by handling them and therefore freeing up the time of other healthcare professionals. Overall, healthcare paraprofessionals keep medical systems running well and are an imperative part of many healthcare settings.