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The need for nurses: UHS CEO seeks to attract healthcare professionals

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(WBNG) -- CEO and president of UHS John Carrigg is hoping the health service's $132 million expansion of its' Johnson City facility will turn heads and attract healthcare professionals to the area.

"We have a lot of folks who go to nursing school at SUNY Broome and Binghamton University, and we would like to keep all of those folks working in health care in our community," Carrigg said.

The largest project of its size in UHS history, Carrigg believes the newly-announced six-story building with state-of-the-art technology and equipment will be a key factor in swaying people to stay in or move to Broome County.

"We think a modernized facility, an expanded facility, a facility where patients can have that private time, where the clinical teams can have private times with patients, will allow us to do our job better," Carrigg said.

The new facility will add 70 new jobs, a majority of which will be nursing and direct patient care roles.

The CEO and President of the Southern Tier's largest employer drew attention to UHS's partnership with Binghamton University.

"There will eventually be 1200 students in pharmacy and nursing working right there in our neighborhood, using our facility as part of their clinical education."

But Carrigg believes getting future health care professionals interested starts at an earlier stage in the education process.

"Middle schools and high schools," Carrigg said. "Getting people to start thinking about mathematics and science classes as pre-requisites to get that nursing degree."

The need to keep nurses in the area correlates directly to the aging demographic of Broome County.

"We're really focusing a lot of our development efforts over the next few months and years," Carrigg said. "As we put this projects together on making sure that we are serving the senior population, the elderly population, the aging population, the best we can."

With the correct approach, Carrigg is confident UHS can fulfill what he thinks is a core value of the service: better serving the community.

"The economic impact of having great health care in our community, great education as well, makes a difference in attracting people to come to the jobs that are open," Carrigg said.

Cal Dymowski

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