Valley Medical Industry Struggles to Fill Job Positions

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 02:44 PM Updated: Jun 11, 2018 01:05 PM

HARLINGEN – One of the Rio Grande Valley’s fastest growing industry is having some difficulties filling positions.

The medical field is seeing a wide range of new jobs in the Valley from registered nurses to paramedics. Until the positions needed are filled, many businesses are having to make do with what they have.

It’s an issue Jorge Pena, an RN and paramedic, sees first hand. “The shortage has been going on since I came into the industry over a decade and a half ago,” he said.

Pena said the shortage is impacting EMS businesses like his.

“A paramedic is able to handle all sorts of patient situations, whereas someone who is not a paramedic is limited. So having a paramedic in every truck that would be a dream true. Unfortunately, that’s not the case,” he said.

Pena added the shortage of paramedics has led to a competition amongst other EMS companies to find and pay qualified workers.

“Competing with a lot of local privately-owned businesses, municipalities which pay much, much more,” he said.

It’s not just paramedics in demand in the Valley.

“Home health aides, personal care aides, nursing aides, those jobs are in high demand so are easy to fill there are lots of jobs,” Henry Castillo said. “License vocational nurse or even registered nurse that do require post-secondary education, train those people, are even more in demand more so because of the skills that they have.”

Castillo is the regional director for Workforce Solutions Cameron. He explained the issue isn’t exclusive to the Valley, it’s nationwide.

“We’re living longer and so as they grow older and so people, as they grow older, have health care needs and so they need people that can serve them,” he said.

Each year Castillo said more jobs in the medical field keep opening up in the Valley. Currently, they are working to bring awareness to how important it is to fill the positions. He said it could mean the difference in life or death.

If you are interested in working in the medical field but are not sure where Castillo said Workforce Solutions will work with you to see which job will be the right fit. In some cases, they can help with training.

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