The Difference Between Clinical and Non-Clinical Medical Jobs

Woman typing on mri monitor keyboard
Blend Images/ERproductions Ltd/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The difference between clinical and non-clinical jobs is fairly simple. Just because you work in clinic or a hospital doesn’t mean your role is “clinical”. The term has to do with whether or not you treat patients or provide direct patient care of any type, in which case your job is “clinical”.

Examples of Clinical Roles in Healthcare

  • Physician
  • Hospitalist - A hospitalist is a physician who specializes in the care of hospitalized patients and whose practice is in the hospital, not in an office. Hospitalists are board certified in internal medicine and well-versed in the unique needs of the hospitalized patient.
  • Physician Assistant - The PA provides a broad range of health care services that were traditionally performed by a physician. The PA can conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, provide education for patients and family, assist in surgery, give medical orders and write prescriptions.
  • Nurse Practitioner - A Registred Nurse (RN) who has completed a master’s degree and advanced practice certification in the management of acute and chronic medical conditions to include diagnostic testing, medication management and monitoring, patient and family education and follow-up care.  Nurse practitioners (NP) provide the same level of care provided by primary care physicians and can serve as a patient’s regular health care provider.
  • Registered  Nurse -  The RN manages patient care and assumes primary responsibility for the care of the patient and directs the care provided by other caregivers.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse - The LPN assists with the coordination and implementation of the plan of care as delegated by the RN. The LPN is licensed to administer specified medication, take vital signs and perform many patient care procedures.
  • Nurse anesthetist - An advanced practice nurse who has specialized education and training in anesthesia. A nurse anesthetist works with an anesthesiologist to comprise your anesthesia care team.
  • Patient care technician - The PCT assists with the care of our patients as delegated by the RN by taking vital signs, collecting blood samples for testing, and inserting urinary catheters. The PCT also provides personal care to patients.
  • Surgical assistants - Certified personnel that assist surgeons during a wide variety of surgical procedures, including orthopedic, vascular and general surgery.
  • Allied health professionals ( medical assistants, techs, therapists, etc.)

Examples of Non-Clinical Roles in Healthcare

Non-clinical roles are those which do not provide any type of medical treatment or testing. Non-clinical roles include medical billers and coders, transcriptionists, hospital executives, receptionists, and anyone who works “behind the scenes” at a hospital such as Human Resources, IT, administrative assistants, etc. Some non-clinical workers do interact with patients but do not actually provide medical care. There are a lot of other non-clinical roles in the medical industry such as:

  • Medical transcriptionist - Medical transcriptionists keep records and stay entirely behind the scenes.
  • Medical case workers - Medical social workers work in hospitals and other health service locations. They serve as case managers, therapists, or work with patients to guide them through their care and treatments.
  • Pharmaceutical reps
  • Medical recruiters
  • Medical device sales
  • Biomedical engineers

Continue Reading