Facing a shortage of pediatric specialists, several children’s hospitals are developing programs that bring potential future health care workers into the hospital to see what it’s like.
For years, children’s hospitals have experienced shortages in pediatric subspecialties and surgical specialties.
One of the most pressing health care needs of children and adolescents today is pediatric mental health. Even with a growing demand for this specialty, a 2017 report from the National Council for Behavioral Health cites data that shows 77 percent of counties nationwide are underserved, with more than half of states facing a serious shortage of child and adolescent psychiatry services.
The report also predicts that demand for psychiatry services will outpace supply by as many as 15,600 psychiatrists—or 25%—by 2025. So, the crisis is expected to deepen. And this is only one area of pediatric health care where the provider shortage is hampering access for children and families, highlighting a critical need for recruitment.
Recruiting tomorrow’s health care workers
Some children’s hospitals across the country are working today to attract tomorrow’s health care workers through educational programs and internships designed to introduce youth in their communities to the many career opportunities that exist inside a children’s hospital. The goal is to keep children healthy while educating them on the worlds of career possibilities in pediatric health care.
“We're investing in our future by planting the seed of the many different careers that can be found in health care, and most importantly, of how marketable you are,” says Maria Rivera, manager, Community Engagement & Workforce Education, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “Wherever the students go, even if they decide to relocate, there will always be health care careers.”
The different careers include physicians, nurses and others in a health care provider role, but programs like Rivera’s also shed light on opportunities inside children’s hospitals that students might not otherwise consider—from social work and IT to public relations and legal.
In the fall issue of Children’s Hospitals Today magazine, read more about the programs of three children’s hospitals focused on educating the next generation of health care workers:
- Lurie Children’s Hospital recruits high-school students between the ages of 17 and 19 from 40 Chicago public schools for a six-week summer internship that offers hands-on experience. Many program alumni are later hired.
- Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego offers a series of medical academies during the summer and on weekends for high-school students from all around the country and the world.
- Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio partners with a local public high school to bring students into the hospital setting for real-life experiences—and to bring expertise from the hospital into the classroom to show how lessons in subjects like math and English be applied to a job in pediatric health care.
Learn more in the fall issue of Children’s Hospitals Today magazine in late October.
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