Wiregrass Medical Student Shortage

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Semester after semester, local college classrooms are packed with future medical professionals. However this year, it's a very different story.

Wallace Community College is seeing a dramatic decrease in students interested in three of their medical programs.

They believe it's a reflection of a shortage throughout the Wiregrass.

Kimberly Faulkner is a senior respiratory therapy student at Wallace Community College. Although the class work is demanding, she's sure it will all be well worth it.

"I believe there's an increasing demand in this area. We've got our licensure and it's opened new opportunities for us especially in the doctor's offices and spreading to different other aspects in the community," said Faulkner.

However the number of students who feel that way seems to be declining. Only two of Wallace Community College's healthcare classes offered next fall are done with enrollment.

Wallace Community College, Health Sciences Coordinator Kathy Buntin said, “This is an unusual circumstance for us. We have five healthcare programs that are competitive. Three of those portions did not have enough applicants to fill those vacant seats."

Some medical facilities are trying to ease that pain. Many throughout the Wiregrass are offering scholarship programs for those who further their education. Then once the students graduate, they agree to work for the facility for a certain period of time.

Wallace Community College has pushed their enrollment deadline for the three programs back by about a month.

Each of the deadlines are now set throughout July.

The latest student can enroll in Wallace’s LPN program is July 14. Anyone interested in respiratory therapy has to apply by July 25 and the deadline for the LPN to RN program is July 28.

You can apply online for any of these courses at www.wallace.edu.