(BRECKENRIDGE) – As Home Care and Hospice Month is commemorated nationwide in November, the Big Country has a need for qualified nurses to aid patients who want health care in the comfort of their homes.
Marchelle Taylor, a vocational nursing program director at Texas State Technical College, said graduates are encouraged to work in clinical settings first before moving into home health.
“Home health care is pretty independent, and new graduates don’t have the experience to work independently,” Taylor said. “Many do after getting some experience in clinics, nursing homes and hospitals.”
In Texas, there are more than 319,000 Medicare beneficiaries who use home health, according to the Alliance for Home Health. More than 60 percent of them have at least five chronic conditions.
In early November, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas in Abilene had more than 80 openings in the 19-county region for nurses to work in home health, hospitals and other medical facilities. Steve Collins, a business and resource consultant at Workforce Solutions, said there is a nursing shortage in the region indicated by the number of open job positions.
Job experience is important, said representatives of two Stephens County home health agencies.
James Curtis, a TSTC nursing alumnus and branch office manager at Renew Home Health in Breckenridge, said knowing the county’s nurses helps him fill job openings when needed. The business works with clients in a 45-mile radius of Breckenridge.
“I require one year of experience,” Curtis said. “You never know what kind of situation you can get into.”
Kim Mahan, an administrator at Beyond Faith Homecare and Rehab in Breckenridge, has hired TSTC alumni in the past. The business is a branch of the Graham location, which serves clients in a 50-mile radius.
“One of the struggles with the staff coming here, especially on the home health side, is the documentation,” she said. “It is extremely stringent. There is a lot of documentation that is involved in home health.”
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.