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Oklahoma students learn about careers in health care

Students from several schools across the Oklahoma City metro learned Friday about a variety of careers in health care during a career fair at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: March 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm •  Published: March 2, 2013

Oklahoma faces not only a shortage of primary care doctors but also has a lack of occupational therapists and physical therapists, said Jim Durbin, executive director of the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center.

One of the issues Oklahoma faces is that colleges that train these types of medical professionals don't have enough space or resources to meet the demand, he said.

And there currently isn't any movement to do anything about it, he said.

“They've been cutting their budgets, not adding to them, because of the state budget issues as well, and so we're trying to keep people aware that these problems exist, but until there's some more resources at the state level to expand that education pipeline, there isn't a whole lot that is going to be done,” he said.

Durbin said students should consider getting a bachelor's degree instead of an associate degree if they can.

More and more hospitals are looking for people with bachelor's degree level training, he said.

“With the Affordable Care Act expanding access to care to tens of thousands more Oklahomans and with the baby boomer group aging, we know that the demand for nurses is going to increase,” he said. “We're just not there yet for a variety of reasons.”

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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Sometimes it's a very sterile environment, sometimes it's a scary environment, but there's a very human aspect to it, and I think this gives them a different comfort level.”

Teresa Featherly,
nurse recruiter at Mercy Hospital

and one of the fair's organizers


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