LSUA played host to students looking to enter healthcare field

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:38 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On Friday, Dec. 16, 52 students from 21 schools around Cenla were exposed to a variety of areas in the medical environment that LSUA offers on their campus.

The program is part of a 14-year partnership between LSUA and the Central Louisiana Health Education Center. A partnership that has helped to prove that students who are educated close to home, are likely to stay and work close to home.

Dr. Haywood Joiner, LSUA’s Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, said events like these are essential in attracting students to study locally, giving them a better chance of joining our local workforce.

“So, we are letting them explore through hands on activities,” said Joiner. “They are exploring all of the different nursing and allied health programs that are offered at LSUA. And again, in an effort to try to entice them into going into one of these professions and returning to Central Louisiana to practice.”

Currently, Central Louisiana has openings for 550 registered nurses and a need for another 170 allied health professionals. Students who attended Friday’s event were able to witness procedures firsthand.

Situations they are likely to face pursuing a career in healthcare: receiving lessons in phlebotomy, blood spatter analysis and touring an Air Med helicopter.

Graduation is still a few years away for these 10th and 11th grade students. But with little margin for error in the medical field, Joiner said starting them now ensures they will ultimately make the right career choice.

“This is an ideal opportunity for them to explore the healthcare options,” said Joiner. “If healthcare is not for them, then there are other programs that they can explore. But at least it is an option for them to get hands on activities and see whether or not healthcare is what they want to go into.”

Just last week, Dr. Paul Coreil, Chancellor of LSUA, revealed plans to build a three-story, 55-hundred square foot facility in downtown Alexandria, next to the A.C. Buchanan Allied Health building on Jackson Street.

This new addition could potentially add more than 1,000 students who are pursuing healthcare careers, furthering the push to fill vacant healthcare jobs in Cenla.

“So as needs are identified, we feel that we are in a position to go ahead and develop those programs,” said Joiner. “So that students will not have to leave Central Louisiana in order to get into those professions.”

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