Not all health care careers require a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences. The vast majority of these careers, however, require skills in effective social interaction, critical thinking, and problem solving. Whether or not you are a physician, nurse, health educator, or hospital administrator your ability to communicate effectively with people from diverse economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds plays a major role in how successful you will be. An undergraduate degree in sociology provides you with the opportunity not only to develop these skills through written and oral course projects, but also by understanding the social influences that enable effective interpersonal and organization communication to occur. Courses such as Race, Class, Gender, Medical Sociology (SOC 334) and Sexuality (Soc 300), Development of Social Theory (Soc 310), Social Psychology (Soc 350), and Society and Technology (Soc 430) are especially helpful in developing these skills.
Because medical and health professionals work in a social environment, they are faced with making a wide array of decisions that are influenced by political, cultural, economic and ethical factors. Having a background in sociology provides important tools to effectively address such dilemmas as providing culturally relevant health care, how best to influence sexually active teens to practice safe sex, how to prevent kids from buying cigarettes from neighborhood markets, how best to staff a hospital with limited resources, or how influence legislators to vote for health care reform legislation.
WSU graduates from our sociology program have pursued direct service careers as doctors, nurses, medical social workers, and public health educators. Their BAs in sociology also make them competitive for administrative and advocacy careers in health related non-profit organizations, mental health services, substance abuse centers, public and private hospitals, and within veterans’ affairs.