By: Sarah Snyder
Despite an ailing economy, local hospitals are on the road to recovery. Over the past several months, they've been seeing a big increase in the amount of displaced workers applying for health care jobs, and that's helping get over a shortage.
Medical Center Hospital in Odessa says they usually get about 300 applications, but since the last quarter they've received 1,100 - that's more than triple the normal amount. And in the long run, hospital officials say it ultimately benefits the patients.
You wouldn't know it by his white coat, but just a few years ago, Stanley Holman was out on construction sites, laying tiles and bricks.
"I was in the construction field since I was a teenager and I started my own business when I was 18 yrs old," Stanley Holman said. "Being in the construction business is kind of like riding a roller coaster, it's either real good or real bad and at 40 years old, I decided I better find something more stable.
Now he's about to graduate with a nursing degree. Stanley is one of many West Texans who have moved into a recession-proof field.
"We've had an increase in nursing applications, in CNA applications, and a lot of that is just due to the fact that we have openings, most of the hospitals across the Nation have openings right now," Rhonda Lewallen, Medical Center Hospital Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, said. "Healthcare is in high demand."
It's a demand that's even bringing in workers from the West Texas oil fields.
The hospital tells us the local college level nursing programs are filling up fast.
NewsWest 9 also spoke with Midland Memorial Hospital and they've been inundated with applications too.
Typically they see about 300 applicants, but in just the past month they had 500 pour in. Many of whom are oil field workers looking for a new direction.