YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nursing is a career that is not going away, and neither is the demand for qualified nurses.
WKBN 27 First News looked into the nursing shortage taking place around the country and here in the Mahoning Valley. One local facility that is feeling the crunch is Shepherd of the Valley, which has nearly one dozen openings that it needs to fill.
Shepherd of the Valley has four openings for registered nurses and two openings for licensed practical nurses. It is holding a job fair on Wednesday, September 30 at its corporate office in Austintown in the hopes of filling some of these vacancies.
Celina Williams, human resources director, said there is a lot of interest in nursing, but finding qualified applicants is becoming a challenge.
Trish Ahlswede, residential care coordinator at Shepherd of the Valley, is a veteran nurse with 30 years under her belt. She has seen a lot of changes in her field, but she said there has always been a demand for nurses. The field, she said, is not an easy one.
“Nursing is a constant learning and evolving profession,” she said.
Williams said baby boomers who have worked as nurses are starting to retire, so their jobs are open, and some of those same baby boomers are now living in facilities like Shepherd of Valley.
“We need more staff to care for them, so that’s creating more positions, but then the number of people going to school and graduating and successfully completing the program is not equal to what is required,” she said.
Williams said there are also many businesses looking at the same pool of nurses to fill openings.
Ahlswede said there are many possibilities in the nursing field outside of working in a hospital, such as long-term care facilities.
“That is where is health care is trending right now,” she said. “That’s where reimbursements are trending right now.”
Youngstown State University’s School of Nursing said its nursing classes are small; it only graduates 100 registered nurses each year. The classes are intentionally kept small, however, because of all of the intense medical education that is required to become a nurse.
State Tested Nurses Aide jobs are also in demand.
Training to become an STNA is a shorter program – about nine weeks, according to the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center – but it’s intense training that deals with direct patient care.
Beverley Richey, RN and lead instructor of the Medical Assistant program at MCCTC, said an STNA has many job responsibilities, as well as employment opportunities.
Richey said she thinks it is becoming harder to find STNAs.
Shepherd of the Valley said it also struggles to fill these positions.