PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - As the pandemic rages on, the need for healthcare workers continues to climb across the country and here in Oregon.
Industry leaders say that the need for nurses is at an all-time high. Companies that hire healthcare employees say that they are struggling to get positions filled.
“We hire heroes. We really do. People on the frontlines,” said Blake Thiess, the director of talent acquisition for Prestige Care.
Prestige Care owns and operates a number of senior and assisted living facilities in the western United States. A majority of those are in the Portland metro area.
Thiess says just about anyone who is looking for a new career could find a job in the healthcare industry.
“We are hiring, not only entry level clinical people, like certified nursing assistants, LPN staff RNs, but anybody that would come in to provide care to a senior,” he said.
He says his company is struggling to get positions filled.
Across Oregon, many healthcare facilities and companies have created incentives to try and attract employees.
“Anything ranging from certified nursing assistants, I know a few of our buildings here in the Portland metro area are providing a $5,000 sign-on bonus for full-time team members, and that mirrors for staff LPNs and staff RNs,” he said.
Though there is a struggle to hire healthcare professionals, there is also a promising sign. The pandemic has led to a large influx of students interested in nursing.
“We have about 17% more applications to our on ground nursing programs than we had pre-pandemic. We changed all of our programs and opened new ones based on lessons we learned during the pandemic,” said Dr. Kim Dupree Jones, dean of the Linfield School of Nursing.
Linfield University says that there is an increase in incoming students who want nursing degrees, but also people who are already working careers, but decided to change to nursing because of the pandemic.
“A lot of people have used some time away from, I’ll just call it the treadmill of your normal career and your normal life, to think about is what I’m doing with most of my day, is that really feeding my soul?” said Jones.
That fulfillment is the reason Thiess says anyone who wants a fulfilling career should switch to healthcare.
“What we do at the end of the day matters. We are loving and caring for people in their time of need. What higher calling than that?” he said.