Medical professionals help meet Wyoming’s needs

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 10:16 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On Thursday, we celebrate national doctor day, but as Wyoming faces a medical desert... The irony of this day isn’t lost on medical professionals...

But all hope is not lost; we spoke with medical authorities about what they are doing to ensure everyone is covered.

As we continue looking into Wyoming’s medical desert, we spoke with experts who are the boots on the ground helping students get into the professional positions that Wyoming needs.”

To fill the needed medical positions across Wyoming, the Laramie County Community College is expanding its nursing program enrollment.

During the pandemic, there was a significant drop in medical personnel thanks to retirees, fear, politics or physical abuse from patients, which lawmakers tried legislating in the last session.

”There for a while, health care was kind of scary, and people didn’t want to get into it because all they heard about was burn out or the risk of it or whatever that looked like. But what we are really trying to get out into the world is that there is an incredible amount of opportunity in health care right now,” said Karen Bowen, Director of the Nursing Program at LCCC.

As those numbers jump back up, programs are opening up more spots.

Twenty-four openings this spring to 40 every semester afterward, to be exact.

Medical programs are working on getting more folks through the door and into our communities.

“We’re seeing certain areas where ya, our patient wait times are longer, so we can justify the need. We also do a physician need assessment every year that kind of evaluates our population and then where we are, and we use that to support recruitment,” said Abi Sweet, Provider Recruitment Partner, CRMC Group.

They are also working with partnerships like the Cheyenne regional medical group. The University of Wyoming, the WAMMI medical education program and the Wyoming health resources network.

”They usually do a residency or a fellowship, and then after that, when they come back to the state, they get a large portion of their student loans re-paid by coming back to the state to practice,” said Sweet.

This offers students paid clinical experience internships...Iiistudent loan repayment and commencement bonuses, and students are getting hired before they finish.

”Everything that we can possibly do to fill that gap is going to be an ongoing process, but I dont think that its something that we’re ever going to be able to take our eye off of,” said Bowen.

Medical staff says that making sure that folks get medical attention is one of their biggest hurdles, but the next is ensuring the more remote and rural areas get the coverage they need too.