Lancaster Physician Spring 2021 - 28

L A N C A S T E R M E D I C A L S O C I E T Y.O R G

Perspectives

" We look at the needs of the community
and offer programs that will match the
demand for particular jobs, " Moeller said.
With nearly 20 percent of Lancaster County
residents at age 65 or older according to the
U.S. Census Bureau, there is no shortage of
jobs in health care.
Among high school students, who study
health careers at LCCTC's Willow Street
Campus, the most popular health care program is one that trains them to be nursing
assistants, Moeller said. The full-day program
is available only to seniors, who, in addition
to classroom learning, participate in clinicals
that involve some interaction with patients.
Students who graduate from the program
and earn the title of certified nursing assistant
normally have no trouble finding jobs at one
of Lancaster County's retirement communities
or in another setting, Moeller said.
Also popular among high school students
is the advanced health career program, a
half-day program that provides an overview
of health careers and includes opportunities
for students to observe within clinical settings.
" That's a great opportunity for our kids to
get out and see what health care jobs really
entail, " Moeller said. " It gives them a feel for
the different areas of health care. "
Other health care programs offered at
the Willow Street Campus are patient care
technician, dental hygienist, medical administrative assistant, medical assistant, and sports
medicine/rehabilitation technician.
LCCTC offers an acclaimed practical nursing program for adults at its Health Sciences
Campus, with students able to choose a 12- or
18-month program option.
The program, according to Moeller, is one
of the largest in the state and the center was
named as one of the best practical nursing
schools in the nation by Nursing Schools
Almanac, an organization that ranks schools.
Accredited by the Council on Occupational
Education, the program includes clinical
experiences for students, more than 95 percent

of whom pass board exams on the first try.
" That's a program we are very proud of, "
Moeller said. " It's a great opportunity for
students and it fills an important need within
the community. "
Looking to the future, LCCTC will continue to work with its advisory boards to keep
its programs updated and forward looking.
Board members keep up with what industry
certifications students may need and recommend changes to programs to keep them
current. For instance, explained Moeller, as
a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact
tracing may be added as a unit to existing
health care programs. Another area in which
board members recommended changes was
in billing and coding courses.
" We look at their recommendations and
add their changes to our long-term plans, "
Moeller said.
A problem LCCTC faces is finding space
to grow its health care programs to keep up
with demand for workers, which shows no
sign of slowing down.
" I think our long-term goal has to be to
enlarge our programs to meet demand, "
Moeller said. " And to do that we've got to
address our space issue. There's no doubt
that health care is a good career choice for
our students. "
Penn State Health
Some fear a shortage of
primary care physicians will
challenge the long-term viability of traditional primary
care, according to Monica
Johnson-Null, an orthopeMONICA
JOHNSON-NULL dic nurse practitioner who
works in Penn State Health's
Lime Spring Outpatient Center.
" We don't have nearly as many physicians
coming out of medical school as we used to,
but we're seeing an increase in the number
of advanced practice providers (APPs), "
Johnson-Null said. " I believe that's a trend
that will continue in the future. "

LANCASTER

28

PHYSICIAN

She attributes a shortage of primary care
physicians to the fact that many graduating
from medical school are entering specialty
fields that pay more than primary care. That's
understandable, she said, because most physicians entering the work force have incurred
large amounts of debt for their educations.
" It costs an awful lot of money to get to the
point where you're ready to start practicing
medicine, " she said. " That's a big burden on
many physicians. "
Many APPs, such as physician assistants
(PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and nurse
anesthetists (CRNAs), also incur significant
debt, but because those positions require less
education the amount is normally less than
that of a doctor.
APPs will be especially important in
fields where there are long wait times to
get an appointment with a doctor, such as
rheumatology, dermatology, and cardiology,
said Johnson-Null. APPs also are needed for
non-clinical positions such as those in law
firms or industry associations.
" APPs can constantly grow and find a niche
in whatever it is they want to do, " she said.
Along with an increase in the number and
scope of APPs, Johnson-Null predicted that
more workers will be necessary to fill jobs as
technicians, medical office administrators,
medical technologists, billing and coding
specialists, and others.
And she believes more women will be
moving into health care roles traditionally
held by men. The orthopedic field is dominated by men, she explained, but is seeing
a gradual influx of women doctors, nurse
practitioners, and PAs.
" I feel like there will be opportunities in
the medical field for people of every level of
training, " she said. " Health care jobs are not
going to go away. "



Lancaster Physician Spring 2021

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