Many professional are finding that the current job market is hard to navigate in finding steady positions with reasonable pay. Public health careers are still able to offer a number of positions in many fields, and this allows you to benefit from your educational background and personal aspirations.
Child welfare is one of the larger focuses in healthcare, and this begins at the level of pregnancy. Maternal child health workers are able to educate communities on proper health and safety precautions both before and after birth. If you are interested in guiding new mothers and children into wellness, then a career in maternal child health could be very rewarding.
What Is Maternal Child Health?
Maternal child health is concerned with the wellbeing of mothers and children both during pregnancy and after birth. This position addresses the educational interests of expecting women, and helps to guide and train them through a positive birthing and child rearing experience. Maternal child health workers may offer emotional and physical counseling, but will also gather information from the community to determine what types of health services and interventions will be most beneficial to this population.
If you are working in maternal child health, you would have the following expectations as a part of your job:
- Counseling mothers to be on proper health habits that will benefit both mother and child.
- Educating mother about childcare, including such aspects as breast feeding.
- Taking comprehensive client histories to identify any potential issues.
- Conducting group and individual sessions with pregnant women and mothers.
- Leading community teaching sessions about delivery and proper care for a newborn.
In the field of maternal child health, these professional skills can also help you perform your job:
- Compassion: You will need to be able to empathize with the concerns and changes that expectant mothers are experiencing and be able to guide them through healthy decisions.
- Teaching skills: Much of this job will include educating mothers on how to support their own welfare as well as the health of their child. You must be able to provide comprehensive information that is easy to understand.
- Communication: It is vital that you are able to connect with your clients in an honest and meaningful way that inspired further interactions.
- Clinical knowledge: In educating your clients, you must also be able to answer questions and quell concerns about health and welfare of the mother and child.
Nature Of The Work
Maternal child health workers may occupy positions in a number of settings. Some employees will work in hospitals and public care clinics, while others will work for community birthing centers. Often, maternal child health workers will also be a part of non-profit organizations which promote child welfare. If you are employed by the public health department, you will often see your clients in an office setting, and hold sessions on either a one on one or a group teaching basis. Along with counseling clients, you will also be required to submit reports about population health, give updates on intervention outcomes, and provide suggestions for further healthcare actions.
Education And Training
If you are interested in entering the field of maternal child health, then you will need at least a Master’s degree, although some applicants will also take the course of completing four years of medical school and following a specialty in pediatrics and labor. For the first educational option, you should follow an undergraduate study program that focuses on biology, physiology, and developmental sciences, and continue in a Master’s in either education or prenatal and maternal welfare. For pursuing a medical degree, you will also need to complete a residency in prenatal specialty.
Both educational paths will require clinical credit hours and licensing. With a graduate degree, you will need to complete a one to two year internship and become licensed as an educator. For the course of pursuing a medical degree, you will need to become licensed to practice medicine, and certified in maternal and child health after completing your residency.
Maternal child health positions have a good salary outlook. Entry level positions can start out around $55,000 and the median salary for this line of work is around $75,000. If you hold a medical degree, you may be able to make well over $100,000 per year, and the demand for employees in this sector of public health is very high.
The expectations for job creation over the next decade are close to a 21% increase in employment. This includes both community care positions, and public healthcare through hospitals and outpatient facilities. This rewarding job can offer you a steady salary and a lot of job security. If you are interested in helping mothers and children in need, then a career in maternal child health is for you.