Feeding the Pipeline of Future Health Care Professionals

Aug 5, 2019Andrea Vasquez

When it comes to groundbreaking medical research and one of the most culturally diverse arrays of patients seen by the hour, the Texas Medical Center in Houston continues to be at the forefront of innovation.

As the largest medical complex in the world, TMC sees 10 million patients per year and has more than $3 billion in current construction projects. In 2018, Houston saw more than 4,000 health care jobs created due to the notable population growth throughout the region.

Because of the growth the region has seen and the ever-changing technology in the medical field, San Jacinto College health science programs remain a leading resource to meet the need of certified medical professionals by fostering a successful health science student and faculty recruiting pipeline.

Many of the College's efforts start at the high school level. Recruiter T.J. Perez says that providing opportunities for younger students to experience what a health science education looks like can make a big difference once they start thinking about pursuing a higher education and the careers that come with it.

"Our recruiters often collaborate with the College's shared educational planners that are based in our local high schools to provide health science group tours at the campuses," said Perez. "These tours help promote a variety of health programs, and students get to see firsthand what an actual in-session health science class looks and feels like. This gives them the opportunity to engage with the college students who are taking classes in their health science field they are interested in. High schools that have HOSA-Future Health Professionals student organizations also arrange College tours of various medical programs, including nursing, respiratory care, surgical technology, and sonography."

While all of the College's health science departments host K-12 tours, many individual programs also host information sessions for current students who are deciding which health care field they want to enter. Nursing, pharmacy technician, sonography, radiography, emergency medical technology, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant, and respiratory care are just some of the programs that have multiple information sessions each semester.

The information sessions provide students with information on applying to the programs, required prerequisites, course information, and any applicable licensure or certification exams upon completion of the program. Some programs collaborate and hold health care information sessions facilitated by students, such as health screenings for students and community members during November for National Diabetes Awareness Month.

The mental health services program also partners with the College's veteran centers since many veteran students want to know how they can help other veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder, learn about other resources, and possibly explore career opportunities in counseling.

Recruiting health science faculty is also key to ensuring that students are on par with health care industry standards and professional trends. San Jacinto College Human Resources talent acquisition manager Wayne Wauters adds that health care professionals looking to move into the teaching sector provide a wealth of valuable knowledge and expertise that students will always benefit from.

"Any time we have  national and international organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and other health care professional conferences in Texas, we always try to attend those so we can provide information on faculty positions we have available," said Wauters. "We also attend local job fairs when offered by the Houston Chronicle that have a health care focus. We also host biannual part-time faculty job fairs, where sometimes full-time hires are made. Deans and department chairs usually attend these events with our human resources team so they can give information on the job itself, the transition into teaching, flexible schedules, etc. And our human resources team members provide information on the health care benefits we offer, vacation days available, and information on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. We are always looking for the best health care professionals we can get to teach and train the future practitioners of the medical field."

For more information about San Jacinto College's health care programs or available health sciences faculty positions, visit sanjac.edu.