Health Care Needs: Serving the Deaf
A recent report published by a UK medical news outlet serves as a reminder to the American healthcare system of the need to learn how to deal with the deaf effectively. The story illustrates how a 15-year-old British girl is on a crusade to make sure she can effectively communicate with healthcare workers and the rest of the hearing world she interacts with. This remarkable young lady realizes that if she continues to isolate herself only in the deaf community, she is risking a lot more than just her social life. Likewise, she’s encouraging her country’s healthcare sector to develop ways to better communicate with the deaf.
In the United States, we are more apt to be able to deal with all types of translation issues, whether we’re talking about American sign language, Spanish, Creole, etc. At the same time, having trained health-care workers who are fluent in American sign language would go a long way to helping the deaf community feel as though they can get quality healthcare services. This might be one area where healthcare locums could concentrate.
Becoming a Specialized Specialist
Healthcare locums have the advantage of a more flexible schedule as compared to their permanent staff counterparts. And because they typically can live without the overhead of maintaining a permanent residence, such workers usually have a little more money they can consider disposable income. Most use that money to pay off their college loans early, a sage decision. But healthcare locums who want to add specialty could dedicate some of the extra money and flexibility to learning American sign language.
Having that knowledge is one more resume enhancement that might make you more valuable to a staffing agency than someone without that skill. In an area like Rochester, New York, where the deaf population is statistically very high, having healthcare locums with American sign language experience filling in at local hospitals and clinics would be a godsend.
Never Stop Learning
Even if learning American sign language is not something that interests and individual, the one lesson that can be learned from the UK story is that lifelong learning should be part of any medical career. None of us knows everything about the area in which we work, but nowhere is this more evident than in the ever-changing field of healthcare. Methodologies change, diagnoses evolve, new treatments are developed, and so on. The more healthcare locums can keep abreast of what’s going on, the more employable they will be.
Interestingly enough, continuing education is one of the most significant benefits of working as a locum tenens worker. Just the fact that the locum travels and works at various facilities around the country gives him a learning experience not necessarily available to permanent workers. Each time a local works at a new facility, they bring the shared expertise from previous facilities and gain unique experience to add to their ever-growing library. Locum tenens work is one of the most significant opportunities for professional development in the healthcare industry.