COLUMBIA — The 2009 MU School of Health Professions Job Fair on Thursday symbolized many of the dimensions of an evolving industry. The near 40 representatives from various health corporations across the country demonstrate the competitiveness in the market. The health professions students there showed the hopes and concerns of entering into that workforce.
And the bamboozled stares at the mention of health care reform personifies much of the industry's uncertainty because of efforts in Washington.
"I think no one really knows what's going to happen, I think we're all just waiting to see and obviously we're all hoping for the best," said Sean Ellis, center manager for Select Physical Therapy.
Many of the concerns transcended health care legislation, however. A prevailing theme involved the aging baby-boomer generation and an increasing need for health services.
"I would say the demand for it is so much greater as we are getting older and older," said Maria Altmann, human resources director for Healthsouth in Fayetteville, Ark.
Altmann also said with increasing life-spans of seniors, they are utilizing health care services longer and driving up demand. Seniors are also working later, she said, which makes them more susceptible to injury and eventually therapy.
"They're not retiring at 65 anymore," she said. "Therefore, also the risk and the likelihood that they're going to get hurt is a little greater, too."
Dixon said the hot jobs in health care were physical therapy, operational therapy, pharmacy and nursing.
Altmann added that the demand for therapists was "desperate."
"Even in this economy the health industry is the one industry that has job openings," she said.