March 16, 2023 – With a current national shortage of healthcare workers and a predicted growth in the number of available jobs for the next decade, ARH is stepping up to find more ways to expose high school students to the medical field.
Recently, ARH employees Dylon Baker and Susan Kendrick visited the Floyd County School of Innovation in Martin, Kentucky to talk to students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare. Baker, System Director of Talent Acquisition, told students about the varied careers that exist in the system and the many opportunities that go beyond direct patient care. He said, “One reason we need students like you going into the healthcare field is because we are an underserved community.” Baker talked about the challenges that sometimes exist in recruiting people who are not originally from Central Appalachia and that the students in the room could be the ones to fill vacancies in the future and make healthcare for their communities sustainable.
Baker challenged students to look at potential future employers, to research and see how those companies reinvest in the communities where they are, and to compare that to ARH. He explains, “We understand that investments like this are critical in increasing enrollment in these pathways and ensuring the success of the students once they get into the program. This belief is what led to the creation of the ARH Healthcare Scholarship at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. We want to encourage you to continue your pursuit of a career in healthcare and to know that we are investing in you. The scholarship is worth up to $15,000 and is designed to eliminate financial barriers for students in our region who are interested in the nursing program.”
Susan Kendrick, director of emergency services at Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center, spoke to students about the nursing program and working in the field.
Kendrick told students, “In May, I will have been a nurse for 33 years and I’ve worked in several areas from being a certified substance abuse nurse to critical care to being a travel nurse to emergency care.” Kendrick says, “It’s tough…tough every day, but it is so worth it.”
Kendrick explained to students that she sees the role of nursing as one that makes a difference. In addition to providing medical care, Kendrick says, “Every day you try to make a difference in someone’s life. And on those really hard days when there’s a loss, you try to take care of the family. Sometimes you just sit with them, sometimes you cry with them.”
That approach to nursing is the drive behind Kendrick and her staff collecting stuffed animals for children who find themselves in the emergency department. It’s also the reason Highlands Regional Medical Center has painted the ER, added a mural and is working to make it more welcoming, more comfortable.
Kendrick says the ER staff is a family and she encouraged students to visit the hospital and talk with staff in different departments to have a better understanding of the various jobs in the field.
Investing in today’s youth and future employees is one step ARH is taking to ensure we are the premier destination for quality care, a driver of advancement and development, and a leader in health for the communities we serve.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.