Arizona’s population growth and the building of new hospitals will mean a continued need for nurses and workers in the allied health positions for 2007, according to healthcare officials in the East Valley.
“Many of the jobs that are in high demand this year will continue to be in high demand in 2007. Medical imaging professionals are needed in many areas such as ultrasound, special procedures, and general medical imaging. There are also several different specialties in therapy that are much needed such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and respiratory therapy. The registered nurse will continue to be the most in demand position due to the national shortage and the high volume needs for these professionals in most patient care environments,” Amber Kovacs of Banner Desert Medical Center responded by email.
Renea Brunke, Director of Human Resources, Catholic Healthcare West East Valley, agrees. “Job opportunities for RNs and allied health in all specialties are expected to be excellent. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average due to the increased bed capacity and climbing daily census. Job openings also will result from the need to replace experienced nurses who leave the occupation, especially as the median age of the registered nurse population continues to rise.” She oversees Human Resources at both Chandler Regional Hospital and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, which opened earlier this year.
The Department of Labor projects a 27 percent increase in the number of wage and salary workers in health care between now and 2014.
Training for these jobs is available from a variety of educational programs in the East Valley. It may take a few months or a few years, depending on the job.
“Admission to most of these schooling programs takes time and may require being placed on a waiting list so planning, determination, and diligence are vital traits for anyone who desires to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare,” Brunke said.
The growth in healthcare services also means an increase in employment with related companies. LifeWise Health Plan of Arizona, a health, life and disability insurer, has doubled in the last year, said Cliff Klima, president and CEO. He has added a doctor and two nurses to oversee cases and assist with credentialing of doctors joining the group. He’s also added sales staff and expects to add more in the next year, including at the company’s new location in Tucson.
The competition is stiff to find workers for these jobs, especially sales, he said.
“We really compete with other cities and there are opportunities in the health insurance arena with other carriers in Arizona. We compete locally as well as regionally for talent. We do find sales people locally, fortunately, who have experience working with a brokerage firm or maybe they’re working with another health plan,” he said.
Median Arizona Hourly Wages
Registered Nurse $28.32
Respiratory Therapist $20.15
Speech-language Pathologist $29.04
Occupational Therapist $23.08
Physical Therapist $29.40
Radiologic Technologists and Technicians $20.64
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer $29.75
Surgical Technologist $18.84
Source: Arizona Workforce Informer Web site, 2005 data