Ever watch a movie or drama series revolving around a hospital and wonder if some of the jobs the extras portray are actually real? Or have you ever wondered who drew the illustrations in medical textbooks? You’re about to find out! Some of these jobs may be a surprise to you and some may not. Here, we compile 14 of the oddest jobs in the world of healthcare.
1. Pimple doctor
If you have been to a salon for a facial before, you would have experienced the satisfaction of all your blackheads or pimples being extracted. One doctor in California, has taken this to the next level. Dr. Sandra Lee aka Dr. Pimple Popper, is a dermatologist who specialises in extracting blackheads, whiteheads and cysts from any body part – and she films her procedures for YouTubers around the world to savour. Her videos range from simple blackhead extraction on the nose to the removal of large lipomas on the arm. If you can stomach watching her videos, she would succeed in her aims of providing people a better understanding of how to take care of their skin and creating awareness of various skin conditions and diseases.
2. Travelling phelbotomist
A phelbotomist is just a fancy medical-sounding term for a vampire. Alright, that is an exaggeration. Phelbotomists draw blood for a living to help with donations, transfusions or other research. You can find them in blood donation drives, hospitals and clinics. However, they are not limited to one facility and can instead work as travelling phelbotomists, going wherever work is available – even on a plane. Most of their time is spent on reassuring patients who are squeamish about needles. Their career is also a long and in-demand career and can earn up to USD 40,000 a year.
3. Sleep technologist
No, it does not mean experimenting on different methods of sleeping. Instead, a sleep technologist is paid to watch you sleep – which can be creepy. But it might help if you have a sleeping disorder as they specialise in processing, monitoring, and recording data during a person’s sleep cycle. They use all sorts of polysomnography equipment that help them figure out the cause of sleep disorders – even snoring.
4. Egg broker
A team of professional egg brokers consist of a medical facility and staff orchestrating and matching donors to childless couples who are seeking alternative solutions. More formally, they are known as the “Task Force Advisory Group on Assisted Reproductive Technologies” that has been organised to oversee the medical professionalism of the egg-donating industry. These workers include infertility specialists, ethicists, obstetricians, gynecologists, and nurses. They usually break many hearts of egg donors as most couples only seek for “attractive women under the age of 29” and with SAT scores above 1,300 as egg donors. Genetic prejudice is an obvious factor here.
5. Space psychologist
No, they do not assess the mental health of planets. While many space psychologists begin with the dream of being astronauts, however they may not be cut out for the journey. Instead, they advise selection panels about which astronauts are best suited for a particular team or mission. As a trip to space has high risks and the possibility of never returning to earth, space psychologists also provide counselling to support the emotional and mental health of the crew before, during and after the flight.
In movies, a scene of a heart surgery always has a person handling machines in the background. That would be a perfusionist. They operate heart and lung machines that substitute the functions of the respective organs of the patient while they are being operated on.
There is a Certified Clinical Perfusonist (CCP) qualification that is required to carry out this job. They do not have to work full-time hours and usually work on an on-call basis. The annual salary of a perfusionist can range between USD 105,000 to USD 129,000.
A scatologist is a nice term for a poop doctor. It isn’t the most glamorous of careers, however the study of excrement can reveal a lot about an individual, including his or her habits, overall health and presence of disease. The bacteria in faeces provide a non-intrusive sampling of an individual’s gut flora and fauna, which can be used to determine its health. For example, poop transplants can be an effective means of treating intractable gut infections by reestablishing a healthy bacterial equilibrium.
8. Snake milker
Also on the list, is the snake milker – while not exactly a job of a healthcare professional but it does relate to improving healthcare.
Snakes do not produce milk but they do produce venom. While it might sound highly inaccurate, snake milkers are actually animal care specialists who extract the venom of poisonous snakes. The venom is deadly on its own; however it is also a life-giving substance and the main ingredient in snakebite antidotes and a wide range of medicines.
Snake milkers extract or ‘milk’ the venom from a snake’s fangs, following which, the venom can be made into a freeze-dried powder for research laboratories to produce anti-clotting or blood thinning drugs for blood clots, heart attacks and high blood pressure.
9. Master sniffer
Another on the outlier list is George Aldrich. No ‘nasalnaut’ or Master Sniffer can outrank George Alrdich who is a chemical specialist in the Molecular Desorptioin Analysis Laboratory at White Sands. His job is to keep the US space corps from the crime punishable by death of smelling bad.
Simply put, his job consists of sniffing a variety of chemicals and substances to ensure that they are not dangerous for a space vehicle. These missions ensure that the space project goes all the way to completion. Aldrich may have started out as a human guinea pig, but has since then been profiled on the news and publicised as the “Neil Armstrong of nasal performance”.
10. Sex surrogate
Prostitution is rife amongst medical students and it is no wonder the medical industry creates a legal version of it known as the International Professional Surrogates Association for surrogate partners and the therapists who back them.
The role of a sex surrogate is simple. After each session, the surrogate reports on the behaviour of a sex therapist’s patient to the therapist and together they discuss ways to address issues like sexual intimacy problems, impotence, sexual addiction and adult virginity – when psychological counselling and medication are not working anymore. The sex surrogate provides planned intimacy and in extreme cases, sex.
Despite that, IPSA founders are careful to distance themselves from prostitution, since sex is not usually required and the more important issue is how the patient responds to the therapist’s treatment. After the movie “The Sessions”, Cheryl Greene became the world’s most famous sex surrogate as the movie portrayed her to have helped over 900 people in sexually healing ways, all by using the same formula – intimacy.
11. Art or music therapist
Looking at a piece of art or listening to your favourite music has the power to calm you down in any situation. Similarly, both art therapy and music therapy have been clinically proven to improve behaviour patterns of individuals that have problems revolving around depression, anxiety, dementia and fine motor skills. This sort of therapy applies to both adults and children. It has also been shown to be effective for stimulation, motivation and communication.
12. Laughter therapist
Not so keen on art or music? The saying “laughter is the best medicine” probably came as a motto from a laughter therapist. But indeed, laughter has been found to reduce stress and boost the immune system, which is probably why comedians do so well. Wait a minute, then isn’t a laughter therapist and a comedian the same?
Jokes aside, laughter therapists actually lead exercises that help patients have deep, joyful laughter similar to what babies experience instead of hollow jokes and comedy. This helps the depressed patients to climb out of depression and suicidal thoughts.
13. Wound-care specialists
Got a wound? Dab a bit of antibiotics, seal it up and you’ll be fine, right? Unfortunately, infected tissue has to be removed in bigger wounds to improve healing and wound-care specialists are trained to do that. Besides working in hospitals and nursing home, wound-care specialists also travel and treat patients at their homes.
This field is relatively new and primarily dedicated to caring for bedsores. In the United States, bedsores cause 60,000 deaths per year and cost USD 1 billion annually, so effective care of bedsores is crucial. Wound-care specialists ensure that bedsores do not lead to death.
14. Medical illustrator
The “Atlas of Human Anatomy” is a famous medical book for school children and medical students alike. Its illustrator, Frank Netter, was a surgeon and an artist and is considered one of the most gifted medical illustrators. He was once dubbed the “Michelangelo of Medicine”.
Medical illustrators are a small group of artists who specialise in combining their medical and scientific knowledge with art and design skills to visually translate and explain medical and scientific information in a way those in the medical field — and patients and students — can understand. It is estimated there are no more than 1,200 working in North America and even fewer worldwide.
They are not just limited to documenting the biology of organisms and surgical procedures, but also graphically represent medical information and create art for a range of purposes such as surgical training, science journals, pharmaceutical company materials, science education programs, legal proceedings and textbooks. They also sculpt training models and prosthetic devices, design computer-based educational programs and create animations. MIMS