Project HEART partnership to bring new nursing opportunities to region

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 2:46 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Gov. Andy Beshear paid a visit to Pikeville Wednesday to help battle the perception that there is a lack of jobs in Eastern Kentucky.

The governor joined officials with Pikeville Medical Center and a host of others to announce a new initiative of healthcare employment around regional training, better known as Project HEART.

As part of the news conference, Gov. Beshear presented the Galen School of Nursing a check for more than $975,000 for equipment and supplies to open a new campus in Pikeville that would help supply much-needed nurses to PMC. The first class is expected to start in the next 90 days.

PMC CEO Donovan Blackburn says this venture is all about teamwork and partnerships. He says there is a growing demand not just for nurses, but for healthcare professionals across the board.

The governor talked about an event he attended to support nurses who have worked through the pandemic. He said very few of them were there.

“They were working. We were in the midst of a COVID surge and they were needed there,” Beshear said.

During the announcement, Mark Vogt, the CEO of the Galen College of Nursing, discussed the current shortage of nurses.

“We are in the midst of the worst nursing shortage in the history of the profession,” Vogt said.

He said a lack of resources and training facilities is a barrier. But Vogt added the healthcare focus of Beshear’s administration is helping.

“It called us into action to say what can we do to expand access and bring more people into the nursing profession,” Vogt said. “It’s going to take a new generation of caregivers.”

That new generation, they believe, can start with programs like the one they are now working to kick off.

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