By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- It's challenging to find healthcare workers who are willing to come work in the Basin. So, instead of trying to bring outsiders in, medical professionals are now trying to hold on to the future doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who are growing up right here and right now in West Texas.
Basin teens are stepping out of jeans and into scrubs. As part of the Permian Basin Youth Health Service Corps at Midland Memorial Hospital, they're getting a first hand look at what life in the medical field is really like.
Erica Lujan from Odessa High School says, "I'm going to shadow a sonographer and if I don't like that then I'll have the opportunity to see what else is out there."
Basin Healthcare Administrators are recognizing the need to develop their own future medical professionals.
"We try to bring students and professionals into West Texas [from elsewhere] and they won't stay," Elisa Williford with the Permian Basin Area Health Education Center, said.
Teens taking part in this new shadowing and volunteering program are quick to call the Basin their home and many of them want to keep in that way.
"These kids don't know any different. They were raised here. They'll be educated here. Our chances of keeping them here are better than bringing people in from New York or Chicago. They tend to stay a year or two and then leave," Williford said.
"I think [the program] intrigues them and makes them want to become one of our future employees, " Kim Kincaid with Midland Memorial Hospital's Patient Care Service Administration Department, said.
For information, please call the Permian Basin Area Health Education Center at (432)685-8306 or visit: http://www.westtexasahec.org/region_permianbasin/permianhome.aspx