ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–From hospitals to nursing homes, and even in schools— New York State has been seeing a health care worker shortage.
“We certainly have had a shortage in Upstate New York pre-pandemic, but during the pandemic for a lot of reasons— burnout, vaccine mandates, reaching retirement age, the worker shortage in hospitals and nursing homes has gotten a lot worse,” explained Gary Fitzgerald, President and CEO of Iroquois Health Care Association.
Fitzgerald said vacant positions cause the healthcare system to slow down.
“Patients that usually went from the hospital to a nursing home, stay in the hospital which means there are beds in the hospital that are being used by patients that don’t need to be there and that backs up the emergency room, it backs up the ambulances,” explained Fitzgerald. “The system is all connected.”
In an effort to help meet Governor Hochul’s goal of growing the health care work force by 20% over the next 5 years, SUNY is investing in expanding its health care programs at its schools across the state.
Eleven of its colleges were recently awarded a one-time grant of nearly $250,000 from SUNY’s Nursing Emergency Training Fund to add to the number of spaces available in their nursing programs. Among those schools were SUNY Brockport, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and SUNY Empire.
“This funding goes directly to personnel services for facility hiring. So this helps us to expand the number of seats available for students to become a bachelors trained registered nurse,” said Kim Stote, SUNY Empire Dean of School of Nursing and Allied Health.
Stote said at her school, this funding will help serve up to 100 more students looking to enter the health field.