Steve Johnson, Executive Director for Community, Governmental, and Legislative Affairs, told SurfKY News the effort to recruit doctors is an aggressive one.
“The physician recruitment team is always looking for ways to reach out to those interested in medicine,” Johnson said. “Physician recruitment is as fierce as basketball recruitment.”
Friday’s invitation to WKU students was the result of a four-month planning process to host the meeting, and Johnson said it made sense to invite WKU students first since they are relatively close to the hospital. Inviting students from other schools like University of Louisville and University of Kentucky is something the administration wants to do in the future, he said.
During their visit, pre-med students had a chance to see radiology and surgery suites and review a recorded DVD of a recent surgery case. Visits to the hospital’s operating rooms, hospitality areas, and other areas of the hospital were also on the schedule.
The guest group kicked off its visit with a welcome by Owensboro Health CEO Phillip Patterson, who told the students the statistics regarding medical careers demonstrate a challenge for the future.
“A quarter of a million physicians are likely to retire in the next six years,” he said, noting that approximately 32 million are expected to enter the healthcare system this year.
By 2020, the US is likely to face a shortage of nearly 92,000 physicians and an additional 38,000 five years after that, Patterson said.
Patterson told SurfKY News the goal of the tours is to begin the process of encouraging the students to remain in the area after obtaining their degrees, or to move here if they live somewhere else.
“We need to get them to want to come back, and not go elsewhere in the country,” he said.
Photos provided by Dennis Beard
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