Efforts Made to Recruit Workers into Healthcare

Article excerpt

Intensified recruitment, special programs, and higher salaries are being put to work as shortages in nursing and healthcare specialties continue.

There were 1.6 million registered nurses in 1988, according to a report recently sent to Congess by Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan. But the Association of Academic Health Centers, representing about 100 major health complexes in the United States, estimates that an additional 137,000 new nurses are needed to fill current vacancies in hospitals and nursing homes.

A recent salary survey by Working Woman Magazine puts the national pay average for nurses at between $37,000 and $40,000. Pace University in New York says the starting salary in the metropolitan area is $35,000.

Pace's Leinhard School of Nursing in Westchester County and New York City says it is launching an all-out effort to find and train new nurses, recruiting not only in high schools but in other disciplines and careers. One of its programs is nursing summer camp for pomising high school candidates in Westchester. Another project, in cooperation with a group of New York City schools, enables hospital workers to upgrade their careers through nursing education. Lienhard also has a combined degree program that lets a degree holder in one field complete requirements for an initial nursing degree in as little as a year.

Other healthcare specialties experiencing shortages include:

- Laboratory technicians. Dr. Betty Hatten, chairman of the University of Oklahoma's Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department, cites a survey that shows that 9.3 percent of medical technologist and 13.6 percent of cytotechnologist positions across the country are vacant.

She says low enrollments, overwork, burnout, and low salary growth are among the causes. In cytotechnology (analysis of cells to diagnose cancer and other diseases), technicians are restricted by new federal rules on how many slides they are allowed to review in one day.

- Genetic counselors. According to a representative of Sarah Lawrence College, there are only 950 genetic counselors certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics, more than half of whom received their training at the Bronxville, N. …