If there is one industry that stands to represent 2020, it is undoubtedly healthcare. As the United States and the entire world came face to face with a deadly pandemic this year, doctors, nurses and others in the healthcare field have shown up and saved lives.

Healthcare workers always have been in high demand. That trend will not only continue but grow as demand for expanded medical services rises and our population continues to age. If you or someone you know has been considering entering the medical workforce, there is no better time to get started.

In the Lincoln Trail region, there are numerous employers ready to hire hard-working, compassionate individuals in the healthcare field. Baptist Health Hardin, Catholic Health Initiatives, LHC Group and Spring View Hospital alone currently have more than 60 openings for medical professionals, most being registered nurses.

The Kentucky Career Center-Lincoln Trail is a one-stop-shop for career training and job placement. Partnering with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, KCC-LT works with individuals considering a medical field position, evaluating your interests and skill levels to help you find the ECTC medical program right for you.

ECTC offers programs in radiography, medical information technology, medical assisting, emergency medical services and nursing among many others.

Over the past decade, there has been a gap in the nursing workforce, with boomers retiring faster than the rate of new nurses being trained.

Before COVID-19, it was estimated that in 2020 Kentucky would need more than 38,000 new nurses. After the rise of COVID-19, that number has only increased the demand for nurses in our community. RNs earn an average regional annual salary of $60,000 and enjoy great benefits and a fulfilling mission.

To get started in ECTC’s RN program, participants need to have completed a math course meeting the associate of arts or associate of science degree requirement, psychology (PSY 110), and Anatomy and Physiology I (BIO 137). Participants also must be on the Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry and be certified in CPR for the Healthcare Professional by the American Heart Association.

The two-year nursing program includes continuing with general education requirements and nursing courses. The nursing courses include off-campus components applying nursing knowledge and skills in hospitals and other clinical settings.

Following graduation from ECTC’s RN program or a similar program, graduates will need to take the National Council Licensure Examination RN Exam known as NCLEX. Upon successful completion of the exam, graduates will be licensed to practice as an RN. From there, newly certified nurses can visit KCC-LT’s website or social media pages to connect and find the latest listings for local jobs in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other health-related businesses.

For more information on how you or someone you know can make a lasting impact in our community through healthcare, visit elizabethtown.kctcs.edu or LTcareercenter.org. Although KCC-LT’s physical locations are currently closed, various services are available for residents interested in starting a career in the medical field.

Even when our world is at its healthiest, communities are always in need of kind, knowledgeable medical workers to provide care and support. Learn how you can make a difference and help those in need today.

Myra Covault is vice president and chief human resources officer at Baptist Health Hardin and a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. She can be reached at mcovault@hmh.net.