The shortage of health-care workers is expected to last until at least 2010.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
LIBERTY -- The health-care field faces a personnel shortage in many areas, but one of the hottest is nuclear medicine technologist.
Salaries have escalated in the past year, because the job is in such demand across the country, said Angela Boyle, recruitment manager for Humility of Mary Health Partners.
The job locally pays $20 an hour to start, and candidates are being recruited with signing bonuses of thousands of dollars, she said Wednesday during a seminar at the Job Expo at the Holiday Inn MetroPlex.
The job fair, which featured other seminars and opportunities to meet with area employers, was sponsored by The Vindicator and WFMJ TV-21.
Boyle said some smaller hospitals in rural areas are having such trouble finding nuclear medicine technologists that they are paying $30 an hour.
People entering the field don't need a college degree, but they need to be certified. Humility of Mary, the parent company of St. Elizabeth and St. Joseph health centers, offers a two-year program to prepare people for the certification examination.
These technologists conduct heart tests and other assessments that use small amounts of radioactive materials to help diagnose and treat disease.
Many other health-care jobs are in short supply, and the shortage is expected to last until at least 2010, Boyle said.
The nursing shortage gets the most publicity, because nurses make up about 20 percent of health-care jobs, but other fields are in the same position, she said.
The average age of nurses in Ohio is 46, meaning that in the next decade a huge number of them will be retiring, Boyle said. Similar situations exist in the other health-care fields, she said.
Also, more workers are needed because demand for health care is increasing as people get older, technology gets more advanced and different types of health-care facilities open.
A disadvantage to working in health care is that it is a constantly changing environment because of new regulations and technology, she said. Dealing with suffering people also is stressful, and many jobs require people to work shifts, she said.
On the other hand, health-care workers know their jobs are helping people live better, she said.
"There is no work that can be more important or more fulfilling than health care, than making a difference in someone's life," she said.