ECU hosts health career fair in the eye of significant challenges

ECU hosts health career fair in the eye of significant challenges
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:16 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The U.S. is in the middle of a nursing shortage after nearly 100,000 left the field across the county during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nandini Vishwakarma, an ECU student says, “There was a lot of shortages in other jobs and then in healthcare, it’s really hard for people to be working in that area so I think it’s a given that it went down.”

ECU hosted a health career fair Thursday, during a time healthcare professionals say is vital.

ECU Employer Relations Associate Director, Daniel Stevens, told WITN, “They’re interacting with employers, finding internships, experiential learning opportunities, and finding those post-graduation career opportunities. It’s a service to employers because they’re looking for that talent now.”

Thousands of nurses left the medical field during or after the pandemic due to burnout or fatigue, which led the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to say the future of the U.S. nursing workforce may be threatened.

“I don’t think I’ve ever really seen myself not doing anything healthcare-related. I just want to help people and I really love science, and that our health is the most important for us to move forward as a species,” Vishwakarma said.

That’s why Vishwakarma says her passion has only grown as she prepares and looks forward to a career in nursing. “It’s important to keep that passion because we’re what the future needs as healthcare professionals and research and technology wise so it’s important to build that passion. You can’t go on without it.”

Stevens also told WITN his year had a great turnout. 100 people came in the first hour of the fair alone.

Here in the East, According to ECU Health, there are still shortages. However, the number of openings is getting smaller due to the number of international nurses and positions filled.

In North Carolina as a whole, the state is short 5,000 to 8,000 nurses per year, according to the North Carolina Nurses Association.