Cover Story - Medical Training in High School

Some of the children playing in your living room today may very well be the doctors and nurses of tomorrow!

The health care industry is exploding and as our nation gets older the demand is skyrocketing.

In fact, the demand is so great there's expected to be a shortage of almost one million nurses over the next decade!

Training is now starting at the high school level to help prepare the health care workers of tomorrow.

In Boyd County Kentucky Medicaid Nurses Aide and EMT training is now available in the Vocational Tech Center.

Brent Biggs is a high school junior training to become a registered nurse. This is no longer a female only position. It's a trend in education that's happening in districts around the region.

The emergency for fire and ambulance crews around the country is a growing need for trained EMTS. South Charleston High School is the first school in Kanawha County to offer EMT training on the high school level.

One teacher said, "For these kids to be able to go into the pre-hospital setting and perform is going to be awesome."

Jennifer Bigler is going through the Medicaid Nursing Program. Her family members are also in medicine: it's in their blood.

Jennifer says, "It's just amazing, being able know you're the one out there saving all these lives.”

Some perspective here: the Southern Regional Board of Education which, includes the states of West Virginia and Kentucky, expects the nursing shortage to top 30% over the next 15 years. Part of that problem, is not only the need for nurses but the need for nursing faculty in colleges and universities across the country!

The jobs are there but there's no denying it's tough! Nursing also has a high turnover rate. In fact, in a survey published in an issue of Health Affairs, more than 40% report a feeling of dissatisfaction of being overworked.

A quick check of hospitals in our region shows all are recruiting nurses to fill the need.

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