Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2006
Health care offers a diversity of technical occupations
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
The exodus of baby boomers from health-care professions and advances in medical technology are opening up a wide range of career opportunities for young Canadians, says Gerard Lewis, president and CEO of Catholic Health Association of Canada.
As retirement begins to outpace recruitment, Lewis advises that health care is much more than doctors and nurses.
"The mandate of CHAC is to strengthen and support the ministry of Catholic health-care organizations and providers," Lewis told the WCR during CHAC's annual convention May 5-7 in Edmonton.
Both Catholic and secular hospitals have begun to experience effects on human resources. Recruiting and retaining doctors, nurses, administration and technicians has become an issue.
In Canada, about 7,500 nurses graduate from nursing schools every year. But the need is 12,000. In 2010, the United States will look to recruit some one million nurses to replace nursing staff who are also part of the baby boom generation. They will likely look to Canada to help fill the void.
"When people think of health care, they tend to think only of doctors and nurses, but there is a wide range of professions," Lewis said. "We must work closely with our members explaining why Catholic health care is appealing."
A high school student who does not consider a career as a doctor or nurse should not exclude the medical profession. Perhaps he or she is technically savvy. Lewis said they could be highly beneficial to the medical industry.
"There are inventions in use today to help people who had a stroke or are in an Alzheimer's condition who, unfortunately, have difficulty communicating how they are feeling."
For example, if they are incontinent and soil themselves, how does the staff know unless the patient is uncomfortable?
"There are sensors discretely taped to the inside of the leg that transmit information to the nursing station that there is excessive moisture in that particular location. The nurse knows immediately that an individual is now uncomfortable. The timeliness of their response is altered, as a result. Their discomfort is no longer the first signal."
Monitors are now placed inside the bed that tracks a patient's vital signs.
"What we can do with these tools is exciting."