Project Description Narrative:
Projections suggest that the number of healthcare providers in Wisconsin is insufficient to meet the current and future needs of Wisconsinites. Demand for healthcare is increasing due to increases in infectious diseases such as COVID, chronic illness, and the aging population. In Wisconsin, the proportion of the population 65 years or older, who utilize three-to-four times as much healthcare as younger adults, is projected to increase by 14%.
These shortages will also likely exacerbate the current inequities in access that are found in many rural and urban health professional shortage areas in Wisconsin. Recent projections suggest that the number of new entrants needed in the Wisconsin health workforce in 2035 will not be met by the current education and training infrastructure.
One approach to filling the gap in healthcare professionals is to utilize the medical skills of veteran medics, corpsmen, and medical technicians (MCMTs). The Wisconsin Department of Veteran Affairs reports that approximately 3,000 military service members return annually to Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, because their training and experience do not translate to the civilian education and licensing requirements, many veterans with significant healthcare experience are unemployed, underemployed, or take positions outside of healthcare.
This project aims to develop an accelerated pathway for MCMTs to obtain licensed employment in healthcare while pursuing education in their desired healthcare career. Because Heroes for Healthcare has been most successful in assisting veterans who wish to become nurses, this pilot will largely focus on nursing education. However, all work will be completed with the goal of translating that work to other professions, such as surgical technicians, anesthesiology assistants, and physician assistants.