Albany- Nurses week starts Friday. As part of their efforts 8 nurses from Phoebe Putney plan to visit 6th, 7th, and 8th graders encouraging students to explore the possibility of a career in the medical field and discuss the desperate need for medical professionals.
At some point, we've all made a trip to the emergency room, or needed the help of a doctor or some other medical professional, but what if one wasn't available?
"The Georgia department of labor estimates that approximately 140 thousand health professionals will be needed in the year 2010," said Nedra Fortson, Phoebe Director of Clinical Informatics.
A need that has hospitals recruiting young students to consider career fields in nursing and other areas.
"Physicians, nurses and dentists are the most popular, but health careers span the gamete in terms of opportunities, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, athletic trainers all of those fields are considered health care professions," said Fortson.
The need is so severe, several students receiving their pins in Respiratory Therapy from Darton already have jobs lined up.
"I'm very excited knowing that I'm graduating and in two weeks I can start working, so that's very ecstatic for me," said Monica Smith.
Smith says, she got into respiratory therapy because her ten year old son suffers with asthma, but she said she also feels the need.
"There's a growing need for people with cardio pulmonary disease, from smoking cigarettes and all the tobacco products and stuff are increasing so the need for the work is very in demand now," said Smith.
Nancy Moye is graduating and also works as a respiratory technician and sees the demands daily.
"We need to increase the work force by at least 30 percent within the next five to six years to be able to fulfill the growing needs," said Moye.
She believes if more people don't consider a job in the health field eventually the older population will outpace the incoming health care professionals.
"As Americans grow older, the baby boomers are growing older and living longer then there's a great need for more health care workers," said Moye.
The Georgia Department of Labor estimates over the next five years, the state will need 30 thousand additional registered nurses, more than 12 thousand long term direct care staff, nine thousand licensed practical nurses, and thousands of other medical professionals to keep up with the demand.