Health care programs see increase in applicants amid pandemic

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — COVID-19 has created all sorts of trickle-down effects from the economy to how people live their everyday lives. The virus is also having an impact on the number of students wanting to pursue a career in the medical field.

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Chaminade University of Honolulu has seen a 33% increase in interest from students inquiring about health care then in years past, according to Dr. Rhoberta Haley, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Chaminade.

“What we are seeing is a lot of interest in our preview days, which are virtual events,” said Dr. Haley. “I’m having people dropping by my office, calling me on the phone or emailing me, and I’m seeing more referrals.

“COVID just brought to their attention the great need. We need nurses. There’s a shortage of nurses to care for patients, including COVID patients. I think they’re also seeing how much good can be done,” Dr. Haley said.

Hawaii Medical College has programs that start every five weeks. CEO and President Ashton Cudjoe said, the school is also seeing a 10-15% increase in applicants.

“When things are challenging economically, people look to find more stable employment opportunities, and definitely health care is one of the stablest in spite of the economic challenges,” Cudjoe said, about why he believes Hawaii Medical College is getting more applications.

The pandemic is inspiring more people to get into the medical field while also motivating current students.

“I think that it actually inspired me to kind of study harder because a lot of things that we are learning are really relevant to a lot of the symptoms that you would see with COVID,” said Peggy Su, a first year student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

 “I think learning how to protect yourself and how to protect others in our community, and what we can do to prevent the spread, that kind of helps offset the fear,” said Piueti Maka, another first-year student at JABSOM. “Just trying to be more cognizant of what we’re doing and others around us, but definitely way more inspired.”

Hawaii Medical College encourages anyone who is seriously interested in pursuing a career in health care to apply.

“We’re really looking for people that take responsibility, people that are courageous, and people who really, really, sincerely whole heartedly care about people,” Cudjoe said.

To learn more about the programs at Chaminade University, click here.

To learn more about the programs at Hawaii Medical College, click here.

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