SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Some of the most needed positions across America are nurses and many hospitals are moving to recruit nurses even before they leave high school.

UPMC Somerset welcomed 60 students from the Somerset Area School District, Rockwood Area School District and the Somerset County Technology Center to learn about the numerous career opportunities, both clinical and non-clinical, that are available in health care.

 “When many people think of working in a hospital, they immediately think of providing direct patient care,” David Bertoty, chief nursing officer and vice president, Patient Care Services, UPMC Somerset said. “The fact is providing high-quality health care is dependent on many different job roles — from environmental service associates and electricians to informational technology experts, providing patient care would not be possible without our entire team.”

Students had the opportunity to listen to representatives from many departments at the hospital to gain a better understanding of education requirements, expected salary and opportunities for advancement within each job role. They also received a tour of the hospital and were able to see the work of some departments firsthand.

“They get to see a little bit of the culture, what it looks like on a day-to-day basis,” UPMC Somerset President Andrew Rush said. “They got to actually see some people do some work, so it gives them a little bit more real feel versus just reading about it.”

America has been facing a nursing shortage and many students are about to enter college or the workforce. Encouraging them to enroll in nursing programs is more important now than ever. 

“I plan to be a nurse in the future and be in the health care field,” Mckenzie Piccola, a senior at Somerset High School, said. “And being here just helps me better understand what I’ll be doing on a daily basis.”

“The future of health care is dependent on developing the next generation of health care workers,”  Rush said. “There are many opportunities in health care for great jobs with life-sustaining wages that don’t require an advanced education or direct patient care. We are proud that people can find that right here in Somerset.”

Officials at the hospital also expressed to the students that they could have the opportunity to stay local. 

“They don’t have to relocate and move, which sometimes that is the perception,” Rush said. 

Students also visited the Somerset County Technology Center, where they received Hand-Only CPR and Stop the Bleed training and had the opportunity to meet with representatives from different colleges.

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This event was the first of its kind at UPMC Somerset post-COVID-19 pandemic. There are plans to continue to offer the event to other local school districts.