WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Winston-Salem and Forsyth County will need to increase the health care and research workforce by about 1900 positions over the next four years just to keep up with demand.
The Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC) at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce recently conducted a study among local employers and educational institutions in an effort to determine the needs of the triad’s growing health care and research industries. The survey also sought to determine ways to recruit and retain workers in these fields.
Surveys were distributed to administrators in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County at hospitals and health care systems, community colleges and health science schools, biotech companies, regional commercial laboratories, long-term care facilities, independent physician’s practices, chiropractic clinics and veterinary offices.
Nineteen of 88 identified careers in health and research professions were surveyed including nursing, medical laboratory technicians, pharmacists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, radiation technologists, respiratory therapists and research technicians.
“Currently, these employers are actively recruiting 522 full-time and 161 part-time positions in these fields,” said Michael P. Lischke, Ed.D., MPH, director of the Northwest AHEC at Wake Forest. “Over the next nineteen months, we’re projecting a 17 percent growth in these seven major areas of health professions. Employment for registered nurses, radiation technologists, research technicians and nursing aids/assistants lead the list. By November of 2006, we predict the need for 1,895 new positions in health care and research in our community.”
According to the survey, the need for registered nurses, radiation technologists, research technicians, medical lab technicians and clinical laboratory scientists will account for the growth of employment needs over the next four years.
The Northwest AHEC is an educational and training program designed to enhance public health in a 17-county region by improving the supply, distribution and quality of health and human service personnel, especially in primary care, through community/academic partnerships.
Contact: Jim Steele, Mark Wright or Bob Conn, 716-4587.