BATAVIA — Technology may advance in health care, but the human factor remains the same.
Nurses have formed a vital part of patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic and they’ll continue to do so beyond.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced nearly $200,000 in state funding for United Memorial Medical Center during a visit to the facility on Wednesday morning. The funding will support the training of Licensed Practical Nurses.
“There are a lot of people out there who want to go into nursing but they have to make sacrifices,” Hochul said.
President Dan Ireland Of United Memorial Medical Center noted the difficulties prospective staff often face, in terms of meeting both the expense and schedule. They often have the passion, skill or aptitude, but can’t afford classes, have families or aging parents they need to care for at home.
“These funds will make a difference,” he said. “They will make people be able to move on that pathway and follow their passion. And then it allows us to bring those folks back and have them here at the hospital.”
The money will fund and support the training of about 10 nurses, he said after the news conference.
The prospective nurses will take classes through the Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing, a training program operated by Rochester Regional Health.
“They’ll have tuition fully paid — all their tuition and fees — as well as a stipend that covers about 20 hours of employment, said Executive Vice President Dr. Deborah Stamps of RRH. “They’ll be able to reduce their hours.”
The program has clinical rotations in Batavia, with classes at the Wegmans Center for Workforce Development.
There’s a need for health care staff and training, she said. The average age of a nurse is 58 years old, she said, with pending retirements and new services being offered.
So the need is growing constantly, in a career which has physical and emotional components.
So the funding is welcome.
“It’s really great and it allows people to stay where they work, so they’re able to progress on the workforce track, as well as being able to stay close to home and care for their families,” Stamps said.
“You would with the pandemic more people would not want to come into nursing, but I think it’s been a boost to the profession,” she said. “It’s just so giving of yourself, and that’s what people want. You don’t want to just go to a job where you check off a list — you want to make an impact. Being able to do that is just great.”