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Sharon Hospital Interns

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

Health care careers are promising both in terms of the projected demand for new jobs from growth as well as the need to replace people who leave the system. The expected growth among the health care worker population is expected to be much higher  than the average for all occupations in the remainder of this decade.

Compensation levels for those in the health care field provide another positive outlook. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for health care practitioners and technical occupations (RNs, physicians, surgeons and dental hygienists) in May of 2021 was $75,040 — higher than the median annual wage for all occupations ($45,760) and higher still than healthcare support occupations, such as home health and personal care aides and occupational therapy assistants ($29,880).

In all, overall employment in the health care field is expected to grow 13% through 2031.

The supply for this new cadre of health care workers undoubtedly will come in some measure from today’s high school students who are showing an interest in the field.  Earlier this month, five Housatonic Valley Regional High School students, two who are members of the 2023 graduating class and three rising seniors, participated in a paid summer intern program at Sharon Hospital. The students, featured in a story (See story, page A1.) by one of our own summer interns, Emma Spindler, hersellf a rising senior at Kent School, have expressed interest in range of fields, including surgery, physical therapy, radiology and nursing.

The hospital invited the students to participate in a week-long internship to gain early-on insights into the health care field through seminars and interactive opportunities.

Matthew Austin, public relations director at the hospital, said “There are so many more pieces to the puzzle than just doctors and nurses,” including case managers, dietitians, radiologists, and many others. The students were introduced to different specialties every day, and learned from hospital staff across several departments, including cardiology, radiology, infection control, and pharmacy.

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, which provides resources for job seekers and employers to promote a more highly-skilled workforce, provided the interns with pay and education, relieving Sharon Hospital of any costs. Austin told the Journal’s Spindler that he hopes “through this exposure...[the students] will consider health care down the line” and “return to Sharon Hospital” when they do so. In fact, the hospital already has one of the students returning as an employee in its dietary department.


Healthcare scholarships


In another positive outlook for future health care demands, the Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Litchfield County, which provides primary services including skilled home health care, hospice and home and community assistance programs across the county, will host a reception this coming Tuesday, Aug. 1, for ten local students  who are planning to pursue a career in health care.

Each student will be the recipient of a $10,000 per year scholarship. The Salisbury Visiting Nurse Association (SVNA) Endowment Fund offers a scholarship to those who wish to pursue a career in healthcare. The SVNA board of directors says it is committed to leaving a legacy by supporting individuals who will become healthcare professionals and serve the community. We should all be impressed by these high school apprentices and also salute Sharon Hospital, HVRHS, the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, the Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Litchfield County and the SVNA board of directors for supporting the next generation of health care workers.

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