Attracting Talent to the Profession
When I was preparing to graduate from my master’s program in health care administration and enter the health care field, the only career choices that were regularly promoted were hospital administration, long-term care administration, and consulting. Correctional health care was never thought of or mentioned as a career option.
Like many of us, I stumbled on correctional health care halfway through my 34-year career. And as many of us do, I found it to be the most rewarding – and the most challenging – part of my career. My goal is to promote our profession to college students and young health care professionals through NCCHC.
One thing NCCHC is doing to promote this effort is offering scholarships, through the NCCHC Foundation, to college students and young professionals in the health care field to attend our conferences. This has been a great success and has opened the door to correctional health care to many students and young professionals by providing them with education and mentorship. We have had tremendous feedback from all the participants in this effort.
Student Participation at Conference
Another idea we have recently discussed with the Board of Representatives and the Education Committee is promoting correctional health care to the local colleges and universities in the cities in which we hold our spring and fall conferences. This fall in Las Vegas will be our first attempt at this effort. We are collaborating with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to promote our conference to their multiple health care disciplines, and by encouraging UNLV students to attend our conference at a deeply discounted rate.
We have created a multidisciplinary panel for the students to attend on Sunday afternoon, to give them an opportunity to hear about correctional health care and ask questions about the profession. Several of our esteemed board members will sit on this panel to provide insights into the profession.
This will be an interactive session and hopefully very informative and inspiring to the students. Following the panel, we are inviting the students to attend the exhibit hall opening reception so they can learn about other correctional health care career opportunities from the exhibiting vendors.
Playing Our Part
Our field needs young professionals. I believe there is significant talent in our colleges and universities, and young health care professionals are looking for alternate career paths. As I have stated to our board, I believe we can all play a role in promoting correctional health care as a career choice in our communities, colleges, and professional organizations. There is significant talent out there. I believe many exceptional people would find correctional health care as rewarding as we do if they were knowledgeable about this career path.
Please join us in promoting our profession whenever and wherever you can. Attracting talent to our profession requires awareness. I feel we all share in the responsibility to enhance and grow that awareness.
Samuel Soltis, PhD, MHA, CCHP, is the 2022 chair of NCCHC’s Governance Board and board liaison of the American College of Healthcare Executives.