Health care fares a little better than most industries during this recession. However, the pace of job growth is considerably slower than usual and Wisconsin hospitals report a gain of only 700 jobs over the first six months of this year.
Judy Warmuth, RN, Ph.D., vice president of workforce at the Wisconsin Hospital Association, says she doesn’t want people to avoid pursuing a profession in health care. “We know there will be increased demand and we know we’re going to need those health professionals in the future. So my biggest message is be patient; those jobs are there; those jobs will be back. Wisconsin needs health care workers; they’re great jobs. Stick with us.”
Warmuth says more new hirings will take place as the economy gets better, and as current employees retire. In addition, she says it’s very important for the state to collect workforce data so we have an idea of what types of occupations are needed. “These are really tough economic times and we can’t afford to prepare too many of one kind of practitioner and not enough of another.”
According to the group’s just-released 2010 Hospital Workforce Report, more than 20 percent of the laboratory technologists, medical records technicians and pharmacists working in hospitals are at or near retirement age. Among nurses renewing their license in 2010, 46 percent were over 50 years old.