A regional group highlighted the demand for healthcare professionals at a recent meeting.

A healthcare professional and leader of a 31-community organization dedicated to a higher standard of education and income in south-central Missouri, said the demand for healthcare professionals far exceeds supply.

Cynthia Weatherford RN, BSN, MBA, and president of SOAR, called for area superintendents and counselors to understand the first-hand information  from the hospitals and healthcare industry as to the earning potential  and the high demand for careers in the healthcare field.

In a recent meeting held by the SOAR board of directors, healthcare experts discussed the acute shortage of these healthcare professionals in the area. Pati Sandhaus, PHR, manager of human resources at Ozarks Medical Center, discussed the value of a career in the field. 

Superintendent Bill Hall spoke of a more comprehensive training program with area colleges and other post-secondary level groups. Specifically, the need for full funding of the Missouri State University-West Plains nursing program is apparent. Cox College is very helpful with its bachelor’s program, but the class size is small, he said.

Discussions from leaders in the healthcare fields included making well known the availability of the training institutions to attract the leading students from area high schools. Financial incentives are available that may not be well known. After certification the salary schedules are very attractive, ranging upward to the six-figure amount for traveling nurses and other professionals.

Another suggestion from the meeting is for area high schools to organize health clubs. The clubs, much like the Future Farmers of America is organized around agriculture vocations, would educate and  familiarize young students with the many opportunities to serve people in one of the oldest and finest professions.

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