Lancaster Physician Spring 2021 - 27

SPRING 2021

Other states with high demand include
California, New York, Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, Illinois, and Arizona.
Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) projects a 15 percent jump
in employment in health care occupations
between now and 2029-a rate much higher
than that of most occupation groups. In fact,
according to the BLS, the health care field is
expected to add more jobs than any other field.
Lancaster Physician reached out to representatives of Lancaster County health
care systems and schools to ask about
upcoming career opportunities, staffing
needs particular to Lancaster County,
training requirements for different jobs, and
other factors affecting health careers. Their
answers provide some interesting perspectives regarding challenges and opportunities
for health care jobs and careers.
Penn Medicine Lancaster
General Health
A well-functioning health
care system depends on
employees who work successfully in roles that vary
greatly in scope, responsibility, education, training,
Alexandra
Jorgensen
and compensation, explained
Alexandra Jorgensen, chief human resources
and organizational effectiveness officer for
Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.
A lack of workers in one area is bound to
affect other areas of care.
" When they say it takes a village, that
surely applies to health care staffing, " Jorgensen said. " There are a lot of people in
a lot of different roles needed to care for
our patients. "
Health care positions range from the most
highly trained and specialized physicians to
the maintenance staff who keeps facilities
clean and operational for patients and staff,
with many jobs of varying levels between.
It can be challenging, Jorgensen said, to
assure that jobs at all levels are filled, particularly in an area like Lancaster County,
which is a popular retirement destination

and as a result has an increased number of
older residents who require greater care.
Currently, LG Health is challenged with
recruiting bachelor-level nurses, a dilemma
shared by many health care organizations.
Demand for registered nurses with bachelor's
degrees continues to increase as more hospitals
require the degree for new nurses.
Increasing the number of bedside nurses
who hold a bachelor's degree or higher is
one criterion in Lancaster General Hospital's
Magnet recognition, a noted distinction conferred by the American Nurses Credentialing
Center that is shared by less than 9 percent of
hospitals nationwide. LGH achieved its fifth
consecutive Magnet recognition in March.
" It's certainly an honor to have this designation as it speaks to the level of patient
care we provide, " Jorgensen said. " But it does
mean it's challenging to recruit and hire as
many bachelor-prepared nurses as we'd like. "
Another area of concern to Jorgensen is the
need to replace retiring baby boomers, who
make up a large percentage of the work force.
" Nationally, boomers make up about a third
of our practicing physicians and a large portion of the rest of the work force, " Jorgensen
said. " The upcoming work force can't replace
the number of baby boomers retiring. "
In an effort to retain older workers, LG
Health is working to accommodate the
needs of those looking to work fewer hours
or otherwise alter their jobs.
" We need to be creative and work with
baby boomers in order to accommodate their
wishes, " Jorgensen said.
LG Health also is actively recruiting certified nurse anesthetists, a vital position for
which candidates are in short supply.
" They are invaluable and without them we
are unable to do surgeries, " noted Jorgensen.
Recruiting and hiring for advanced practice
roles like certified nurse anesthetists and physicians is time consuming and expensive, and

LANCASTER

27

PHYSICIAN

not something a health care system takes lightly.
" We need to keep working all the time to
fill these very important roles, " Jorgensen said.
LG Health encourages prospective employees to consider its Bright Futures program,
which provides opportunities for entry-level
workers to continue their educations and
move into more advanced positions. Trades
people, including electricians and plumbers,
are always needed, as are housekeeping and
food service employees.
Jobs in health care are certainly available,
and workers in many areas in high demand,
Jorgensen noted. Young people could benefit
from considering both clinical and non-clinical health care careers, as the need for workers
will continue to grow.
Lancaster County Career &
Technology Center
Health care programs
offered through Lancaster
County Career & Technology Center (LCCTC) are
popular with both high
mike
school-age students and
moeller
adults, according to Mike
Moeller, supervisor of curriculum and special
projects. In fact, he said, high school health
programs are at 90 percent capacity for the
next school year and some programs, such as
that to train dental hygienists, garner far more
applicants than there are positions available.
" We actually had 80 applications for 15
spots, " he said of the dental hygienist program.
" There's definitely a lot of interest in health
careers, and that's a good thing because health
care is Lancaster's number one industry targeted for increased employment, " Moeller said.
LCCTC staff works closely with advisory
committees made up of health care professionals from throughout the community to
plan and administer its health care programs,
always with an eye to meeting the employment
needs of the industry.
Continued on page 28



Lancaster Physician Spring 2021

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