Responsibilities of Health Care Workers

All health care workers carry a tremendous responsibility to assist and provide for the best possible outcomes for the patient. Sometimes that responsibility reaches to life or death circumstances, but most frequently relates to everyday health and wellness.

There is not room for mediocrity in health care, and health care professionals must demand excellence from themselves and their peers. The general public expects perfection, as evidenced by the high volume of malpractice cases each year.

Unlike trading in a car that doesn't live up to your expectations, you cannot exchange your body for a new one if it malfunctions or wears out. You depend on health care professionals to assist you in keeping your body fine-tuned and functioning at its best, and to repair it when necessary. You expect nothing short of excellence.

Take Care of Yourself

Because of the high degree of responsibility involved, health care professions are some of the most physically and emotionally demanding of all. This is especially true for nurses and doctors, which helps to explain the high level of burnout for nurses. This is an important fact to understand as you explore your options in the health care field. One of the biggest reasons that heath care workers leave the field after only one to three years is that they did not understand the impact it could have on their private lives. They became disenchanted with their jobs and quickly burned out.

Most health care professionals work long and varied hours. Sick people don't conveniently develop illnesses during banker's hours. Nor do they suddenly become well for holidays and vacations. Health care jobs in many instances span twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week. Depending on your chosen career, you may work any of several different shifts and possibly be on call for a significant portion of time as well. Health care doesn't take a break because you are sick, either.

There are no nonessential jobs in health care, and it takes a team effort to provide patients with the very best in care. The ability to be a team player and not have to be a star player is essential to the success of the effort. Not everyone can adapt to the fact that there is “no I in team.”

Take Care of Others

Health care workers are usually selfless and always put others first. In order to replenish themselves, however, they need to be able to take care of themselves. They need to understand that they have a responsibility to both themselves and their patients to do so. They are usually the worst patients, and they need to learn to become better at doing what they preach.


A positive outcome does not always indicate a cure or an improvement. Sometimes a positive outcome can involve a person dying in a dignified, pain-free manner. Health care careers often require the ability to think outside the box and see things from a different perspective.

Honesty and integrity are two primary and essential characteristics that health care professionals must possess. The ability to think on their feet, even under duress, and to make decisions goes without saying. The ability to accept responsibility and to be accountable for their decisions and actions is an absolutely necessity. Human beings make mistakes. Health care professionals have to do their very best to avoid mistakes, but sometimes they are unavoidable. In those instances, a health care worker cannot try to hide or cover up the mistake. They must report it, and be accountable.

They must also be honest and forthcoming about their skills and abilities. Health care presents a lifelong learning opportunity to all who work in the industry, but you must never exceed the scope of practice nor what you have been trained to do. In the learning process there will always be a first time, but not without proper preparation, education, and supervision.

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