Adapting to meet healthcare needs in the wake of COVID-19
COVID-19 has altered our world and dramatically underscored the importance of a strong, stable healthcare system.
Even before the pandemic, there was a growing need for healthcare workers in the United States. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1 projected a need of more than 12.5 million workers to fill new and open healthcare positions in the decade leading up to 20281. In addition to physicians and nurses, that figure includes millions of allied health workers who are the backbone of healthcare institutions – people like nursing aides, pharmacy assistants, patient care technicians and other clinical staff who fulfill important patient-facing tasks, and also back-office specialists in healthcare accounting, medical billing and coding and healthcare IT who help to keep the system running smoothly.
For more than 25 years, Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) has been dedicated to equipping and empowering students to meet our nation’s growing need for healthcare workers. Based in the Tampa Bay area, UMA is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES, www.ABHES.org) and has more than 63,000 alumni, 14,000 students and 2,000 team members nationwide.
In our experience, we have found that three things are critical to meeting the talent needs of the healthcare industry.
1Table 1.2 in downloadable source file (www.bls.gov/emp/tables/emp-by-major-occupational-group.htm)
At UMA, we work closely with the employer partners who hire our graduates to understand their specific talent needs and help inform our programs, so students are learning skills they need to be effective on day one of the job. We also pay close attention to industry trends. In the wake of COVID-19, it became clear that new learning needs were rapidly emerging for healthcare practitioners at all levels. Our education team quickly developed a contact tracing short course, which we made available at no cost to students, partners and the public alike. While not part of our accredited offerings, short courses like this one can help bolster skills in emerging areas.
Accessible Learning Options
More than a decade ago, UMA launched online programs to make the opportunity for a healthcare degree or diploma more accessible to adult learners at all stages of life. Online education is more than simply shifting the location of a course. It is applying andragogy, specific learning principles for adult learners, to create an impactful, student-centric experience that informs and engages online. This academic approach has given thousands of people the flexibility and access needed to make a career shift that enriches their lives and meets a vital need in a growing field.
This fall, UMA celebrated nearly 8,000 new graduates who now have the knowledge and skills needed to fill important healthcare roles. But our work as an institution never ends with graduation. Partnering with healthcare employers big and small, UMA helps to identify their specific talent needs and helps match qualified graduates directly to open positions, serving as a bridge over the talent gap that employers sometimes experience.
We may have some time to go before this pandemic is resolved, and even then, our society will be ever-more attuned to good health. UMA is proud to continue adapting and partnering to help build a robust, stable healthcare system of qualified workers who will help to ensure a brighter, healthier future for us all.
Learn more about UMA’s commitment to student success and their impactful industry partnerships at ULTIMATEMEDICAL.EDU.