Partnership in Omaha comes at perfect time for medical field needing more professionals

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 4:45 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A necessary partnership has developed in the Omaha-metro as the next generation of medical experts watches the effects of a worldwide pandemic on patients and staff with overwhelmed hospitals in need of more trained professionals.

Camila Delgado Garcia just may be the next friendly face helping you during your next hospital visit.

“I’m actually starting my CNA training next month,” she said.

Garcia is a 17-year-old high school senior with a passion for helping others and, thanks to a half-million-dollar grant from CHI Health, her training will be free.

“Really the impetus of which was addressing the health care workforce staffing shortages which have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ashley Carroll, CHI Health.

It’s a brand-new partnership between the hospital and the Latino Center of the Midlands, an organization fostering community well-being and workforce education.

When Camila discovered the opportunity, she called it a sign.

“It was a very critical, very pivotal for me so that I could find out that I need to go into the medical field and that’s where I belong,” said Garcia.

And she’s already been putting in the work. The new collaboration has allowed her to shadow several positions in the healthcare field, helping her to decide which one she fits best.

“This is a really good investment of my time. I got to meet a lot of people. I got to talk to so many families. I got to have meaningful conversations with coworkers,” she said.

This partnership comes at a time when CHI continuously deals with the effects of a nationwide staffing shortage coupled with a growing number of hospitalizations. But the high numbers aren’t the only factor in offering top-tier care.

“But also to address the critical need to diversify our workforce to reflect the communities that we serve,” said Carroll.

And Camila agrees. Growing up, she spent a lot of time in the hospital and says she rarely felt comfortable because of cultural gaps.

“It would be very rare to see people that looked like me,” she said. “People that were brown or black. Someone that I could communicate with without having to translate very difficult things to parents and forth which was very hard at a very young age.”

CHI calls the new partnership a win for the community and says they want students from all backgrounds to have access to the vast opportunities the medical field has to offer.

“With certifications in CPR and training as community health workers and they’re gonna be paid for their time,” Carroll said.

CHI Health states they currently have 120 open CNA positions in Nebraska and southwest Iowa and that they plan to hire at least 200 more in the next year.

Currently, they have 12,000 employees throughout 14 hospitals and just over 15 clinics nationwide.

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