If you are drawn to the idea of helping other people in your work, then a career in health and social care is a perfect fit. For those with a passion for making a positive difference to people’s lives, it ranks as one of the most rewarding fields you can choose to work in.
It is also one of the most diverse. When people think about jobs in healthcare, they automatically think doctors and nurses. When they think about careers in social care, they think social worker.
But those are just the tip of the iceberg. Even if you put aside training to be a doctor or surgeon, which involves a lengthy education in medicine and specialist training beyond, there are still numerous career paths available. And taking a degree in health and social care will open doors to them all.
Like most bachelor honours degrees, a BSc in Health and Social Care can be completed in three years. At Regent’s College London, we offer flexible study options for students of all ages, including weekday, evening and weekend classes, with a blend of in-person and digital learning to help people of all backgrounds fit learning around the rest of their life.
Our BSc in Health and Social Care is accredited by the University of Bolton and delivered by a passionate team with extensive professional experience across the sector. Our aim is to prepare students with the knowledge, skills and values required to enjoy a rewarding and successful career in any health and social care role they choose.
Our health and social care graduates end up taking an impressively diverse range of career paths. Here are five roles outside of nursing and social work that the course will give you an excellent head start in.
Community development is a fascinating field which involves working with communities to resolve identified issues and drive positive change. As well as challenges associated with things like crime and deprivation, typical projects a community development worker might get involved with include substance abuse support, improving access to services for the elderly and disabled, family planning, health education and so on. So there is a strong link to both health and social care.
A key role of a community development worker is to act as a link between individuals, families and communities and a wide range of public, private and third sector services. So as well as excellent communication skills, you need a thorough grounding of the health and social service landscape – something a health and social care degree is perfectly placed to provide.
Health care has two sides to it. One is treating and caring for people when they are ill, which is the service professionals such as doctors and nurses provide. But the flipside to that is preventative health care, a key part of which involves providing education and information to help people make healthy life choices.
This is what health promotion specialists do for a living. Covering areas such as diet and exercise, substance misuse, hygiene, sexual health and mental health, a health promotion specialist’s role is to communicate public health policy. This not only requires extensive knowledge of the latest evidence-based understanding of what keeps people fit and healthy, but the skills to get those messages across to the wider public at both individual and community level.
People need support with day-to-day tasks such as eating, dressing, getting out and about and looking after their homes for a wide range of reasons. Care workers are on the front line of providing this support, both in people’s own homes and in care settings. But every care worker operates to a personalised care plan prepared for each individual. It’s an occupational therapist’s job to put these plans in place.
As an occupational therapist, you have to have a broad understanding of the reasons why people need support in the first place, be it illness, injury, old age, mental health issues or anything else. You also need an equally in-depth knowledge of what can make a positive difference in each individual case, including things like assistive technologies and how to adapt living and working environments appropriately.
An education welfare officer’s primary responsibility is to work with schools and parents to ensure that a) all children attend school and b) they get any support they might need in school. There is quite a lot of crossover between education welfare and social care work (and welfare officers will routinely work side-by-side with social workers), the key difference being that the former focuses solely on a child’s welfare in relation to education.
As such, as an education welfare officer you need to have a strong understanding of social policy and the legal considerations that go with that, plus expertise in working with children and families and safeguarding. You also need excellent communication skills, including the ability to provide counselling and support to families in difficult circumstances and to work as part of an effective multidisciplinary team.
There are various different roles related to mental health care that a degree in health and social care can lead to, including becoming a mental health support worker or nurse. But one of the lesser known options is to work as a mental health advocate.
People suffering from serious mental illness can often find it difficult to communicate their views and concerns with the professionals trying to provide care and support to them. They might, for example, not understand or agree with decisions made on their behalf, such as admitting them to hospital.
A mental health advocate’s role is to work on the patient’s behalf, listening to their views and concerns, providing relevant information in an appropriate way and ensuring that care decisions are taken, as far as possible, with their understanding and consent. It’s a role that often requires you to work with people with more complex mental health needs, so expertise in mental health support and the legal rights of the patient are essential.