Healthcare vacancies rise

There has been a rise in vacancies for healthcare workers in Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley.
There has been a rise in vacancies for healthcare workers in Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley.(WEAU)
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA VALLEY, Wis. (WEAU) - The amount of healthcare worker vacancies is on the rise in Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley.

We need healthcare workers to give people in the community the care they need, which is why increasing vacancies is concerning to local medical employees.

“Healthcare, like all industries right now, is struggling to get workers that we need to fulfill our mission,” Marshfield Medical Center Chief Administrative Officer, Bill Priest, said.

Director of the Healthcare Workforce Training Institute, Paula Gibson, says they are also seeing more of a need for healthcare workers than there has been in the past.

“We’re also seeing more need. There’s more providers out there, there’s more clinics, more hospitals,” Gibson said.

Marshfield Medical Center-Eau Claire Chief Administrative Officer, Bill Priest, says this need has grown because of the pandemic.

“I think COVID has changed the world for everybody a little bit and in healthcare, um much like a lot of industries, we just didn’t have a lot of people come back to work,” Priest said.

Gibson says one of their goals at the institute is to educate kids at a younger age about the different paths they can choose in healthcare.

“They get interested and if we can nurture that interest and that inspiration into helping them realize, I can do this, and giving them that direct path of what they need to do,” Gibson said.

Priest says that they are trying to be more proactive about filling these vacancies through students too.

“We’ve always partnered with the schools and the colleges, UWEC, and Chippewa Valley Technical College, and other places to help get on the front end of where that workforce is coming from,” Priest said.

Priest says it is crucial to have more people working in healthcare professions because it impacts the quality of care community members are receiving.

“Healthcare is a people business and you have to have the staff to deliver the care that we deliver,” Priest said. “We have to have the support staff to make sure we do it in a safe, effective, way.”

Although healthcare professions require resiliency, Gibson says the people you care for make the profession rewarding. Her student told her first hand.

“What I didn’t realize though is what I would encounter in the smiles in the patients that I’m caring for,” Gibson said. “He goes, now that’s why I want to be in healthcare, it’s for the people not the paycheck.”

Gibson held an open house at the Healthcare Workforce Training Institute in Chippewa Falls on Thursday, July 14, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to help expose community members to healthcare education.

Priest encourages people to consider working in healthcare. He says it’s a field that will always be around in the future.

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